Filipino Pride: Success story of an OFW in Australia-A A +A
Sunday, September 9, 2012
HOW far can a father's love for his children go? For 28-year-old Dennis dela Cruz, he has found the answer 2,800 miles away from his Philippine homeland -- in Australia, where he now works and lives with his family.
His life's story reveals that being catapulted to a foreign land to work as an OFW is a mishmash of hard toil, profound motivation, and partly, luck in finding the right people who assisted him in his job.
Raised in Taguig, Dennis is the eldest son in a brood of six. His poverty-stricken family could only then afford to enroll him to a Technical-Vocational school where he took up Automotive Technology. Upon finishing the course, he worked as Field Service Mechanic in a motor company and received a minimum pay of P6000 or $142 per month.
At the age of 21, Dennis took a major turn in his life, and decided to start building a family. He reveled in happiness at the sight of his wife and children who excitedly wait for him at home after a day of tedious work.
But most often, amidst all optimism, frustration would creep through him for not being able to bring pasalubong (gift) for his kids or buy some of the family's basic needs. It had been an arduous stride for Dennis as he worked to make both ends meet while his bills soared and his debts piled up.
The fiercest challenge shook him in 2005 when his eldest son was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease and an amount of half a million pesos was needed for a medical operation. Without the means to raise the money, Dennis was devastated to see his son die two years later. This incident has ignited his determination to strive harder in improving his family's living condition.
"When my eldest child died, I suddenly realized that if I don’t work harder, I will always be powerless to save my family should a similar incident (God forbid) happens someday. I never want the same fate to happen to my other children so I persevered," Dennis said in an interview.
UltimateSkills Philippines, a POEA-licensed recruitment agency with global sourcing capabilities, recruited Dennis in December 2007 to work in Australia's largest equipment rental solutions company -- Coates Hire.
Dennis underwent screening in UltimateSkills, including the completion of an IELTS examination. He sometimes felt discouraged especially when other applicants would flaunt their work experiences abroad. But Dennis's vision for his family was enough to flicker his hope and keep him going. His determination gradually paid off when Coates Hire offered him an employment in Belmont, Western Australia as a Diesel Mechanic on Plant Hire equipment.
It was in June 2008 and his starting pay was $49,183 per year or more than P170,000 monthly. UltimateSkills was with Dennis and other candidates all along, especially in securing their passport and visa, health insurance, tax file numbers and bank accounts.
"I am very thankful to Coates Hire. They have been very supportive to us not just in providing skills enhancement trainings, but also in nurturing us emotionally, and in extending their time as our friends during distressing moments," Dennis uttered.
In March 2012, Coates Hire agreed to sponsor Dennis and his family for permanent residency. With the help of UltimateSkills, his application was approved thus making Dennis and his family eligible to government-paid medical care and to the highest quality of public education for his kids.
The biggest break for Dennis came in June 2012 when Coates Hire promoted him as workshop supervisor due to his commitment, hard work and commendable leadership in the team. He now manages two sections with 12 Filipinos and four Australian workers, and is still expected to add manpower in the coming months.
He earns twice his previous salary rate and with this, he was able to buy a four-bedroom home and a land package.
Dennis is confident that with all the blessings flooding his way and with Coates Hire as his employer, he is now more capable of protecting his children.
When asked about his advice to Filipinos aspiring to work in Australia, Dennis said, "You don't need to be very intelligent in fulfilling your dreams. Hard work and determination are essential. And once you've reached the top, make sure to share what you have. Learn how to give back."
He also emphasized the significance of finding the right people and agency, which have the capability and mechanisms that bolster dreams into fruition.
"I really encourage my kababayan to choose the right people who can help them reach their dreams. The services of UltimateSkills and the employment opportunity offered by Coates Hire are beyond compare. I hope that Filipinos aspiring to work in Australia would make a wise choice because if they do, I am certain they will achieve the beautiful life they wish for," Dennis said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 10, 2012.