Although often labeled as modern heroes, most Overseas Filipino Workers do not receive any recognition for their efforts and sacrifices. Fortunately, there are award-giving bodies such as the Region 7 2015 Model OFW Family of the Year Award (MOFYA) by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
Recently, Homer Balais was awarded for the land-base category. Homer was employed for 20 years as a civil supervisor in Qatar but eventually decided to quit his job to help Bohol, his hometown, when it was struck by a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake 2 years ago. He spent his days helping the community recover from the tragedy.
“I fought extreme loneliness while working abroad for the good future of my family and the community,” Homer recalled. Mercedita, his wife, expressed happiness for the recognition that Homer received.
Other OFWs awarded in the land-base category include Rufino Capacio (Daanbantayan, Cebu), Crispin Cayang (Bayawan City, Negros Oriental), and Victoria Gom-Os (Larena, Siquijor).
In addition, sea-based category award was also given to Charlie Garcia of Zone Sikwa, Paknaan, Mandaue City. He, however, was still in China working as a chief mate and so Junamil, his wife, and Anito, his father, had the honor of representing him.
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Anito shared that out of concern for his safety on the sea, he tried to stop Charlie from studying a nautical course. Despite that, his son was determined and had a huge desire to fulfill his goals.“He made it and I am happy that he is recognized by OWWA because his family became stable despite the challenges of his job,” Anito remarked.
Se-based category finalists included Paulino Narisma (Dauis, Bohol) and Roberto Vallente (Daanbantayan, Cebu).
The judges for the awards were Rev. Fr. John Mision of the Apostles of the Sea-Cebu, Gerardo Gonzales of Episcopal Mission of the Catholic Church, Atty. Rhett Casino of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, OWWA 7 Director Wilfreda Misterio, and Department of Labor and Employment 7 Director Exequiel Sarcauga.
Codilla mentioned that both Homer and Charlie are set to compete at the national level soon.