CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Reacting swiftly to his pleas for assistance, the Provincial Government of Pampanga headed by Governor Lilia Pineda on Friday vowed to help Kapampangan overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Gabino Taruc, who is confined in a hospital in Az Zhulfi, Riyadh.

Taruc, 30, hails from Barangay Sta. Monica in San Luis and in a video uploaded June 1 on social media sites, has been seeking help from the government so he could go home as he was allegedly "deceived" on the kind of work stipulated in his employment contract. In the same video, he expressed his desire to come home but cannot, as he is being asked to pay some P100,000 as employer's fee first.

Taruc is currently confined in the hospital due to swollen arms and back, according to his statement in the video. His family on Thursday told Sun.Star Pampanga that he was diagnosed with a heart problem and was advised to undergo an operation there. He was supposed to land a job in Saudi as a flower arranger, but was made to feed animals and dig deep holes and do other masonry works instead.

Getting information on Taruc's condition, Governor Pineda yesterday instructed the Pampanga Action Center for Overseas Filipino Workers Concerns (PACOC) to assess the needs of the OFW and facilitate his return to his hometown in Pampanga.

"Kailangang maiuwi siya at mabigyan ng assistance particularly on the reported heart operation. We are willing to help. We will definitely help him," the governor said.

PACOC head Maria Eliza Rey Muñoz added that they will coordinate with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Saudi embassy in assessing the needs of Taruc and requirements for his return to Pampanga.

“We will coordinate with OWWA and the embassy for the assessment of his needs. Per Governor Pineda’s instruction, we will help him especially in his health care and medical needs,” Muñoz said.

Meanwhile, the OFW's family thanked the provincial government for the urgent response for their depressed loved one.

"Unang una, nagpapasalamat kami kay Governor Nanay sa tulong na ibinibigay niya. Pangalawa niyan, sana mapauwi na nga agad ang kapatid ko dahil yun talaga ang hangad namin dito," said Taruc's sister Angelita.

Earlier, a representative from M.M.I., the agency responsible for Taruc’s employment, reportedly told the family that they are not requiring him to pay the employer's fee anymore and promised to buy him his plane ticket.

According to Taruc’s mother Filomena, the agency is now processing Taruc's release papers. The family is now hoping for the prompt and safe homecoming of the Taruc. (with JTD)