TWO Cebuano overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) won back-to-back special awards in Manila for the 2017 Model OFW Family of the Year Award (MOFYA) of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).
For Captain Emerico Gepilano, every OFW family has a story tell.
He said that there are also other stories worth telling aside from theirs. He believed that there are even other experiences more profound and inspiring than what they have had.
He said that the untold stories of his fellows equally demonstrated the same dreams and aspirations, the very things that bind a family despite the odds.
Something, which might not be able to eliminate the hurt of losing a loved one to overseas employment but one, which helps sustain relationships despite the distance, the absence, the loneliness, and the challenges, which are often simply too much to take not only for the OFWs, themselves, but also for their families.
OFW Gepilano of Banawa, Cebu City, who won the 2017 regional MOFYA in the sea-based category, narrated his story before the estimated 2,000 OFWs and their families during the OFW Family Day held at the SM Seaside City Cebu.
He encouraged all other OFWs to stay steadfast.
To give back to the community after working as a seafarer for 25 years, he put up the Cebu Reliable Excellent Seafarers Training Center (CREST) to help educate aspiring seafarers.
On Dec. 5, everything he had worked for did not go unnoticed during the National MOFYA Awards 2017 held in Malacañang Palace.
He and another OFW, Gerry Paglinawan of Mabolo, Cebu City, this year’s regional winner in the land-based category, emerged as the back-to-back special awardees.
Gepilano was given the special award for community projects, while Paglinawan got the special award for entrepreneurship.
Acting Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) 7 Director Mae D. Codilla said that both winners made the region happy and proud.
It is the second time for Central Visayas to have a landslide victory. The last time was in 2011 when the regional winners came out as the national winners both in the sea-based and land-based categories.
Dole 7 Acting Assistant Director Lilia A. Estillore lauded both winners as well as all other OFWs, whom she called the “Modern Day Heroes.”
“Despite of some not-so-pleasant facts of an OFW life, it is important to note that indeed, there exist OFWs and families who have remained strong, solid, and stable,” she added.
Dole OIC-Regional Director Cyril L. Ticao recognized Gepilano and Paglinawan and their families for proving to the world that OFW families can maintain good standing in their communities; exhibit financial stability and success in business ventures; and can successfully keep their family together despite the absence of a loved one. JOB WITH PR
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on December 18, 2017.
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