Abdul Hannan Magarang Tago
The PhilHealth corruption scandal recently ignited us to divulge and voice out our concern as veteran Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) including our clamor to have a separate OFW Department that would guarantee their protection and safeguard their due rights as key part of the change and vital source of income for the agency and the country at large.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte is so honest and committed to his promises but our country’s long century problem in corruption has infected many in both public and private sectors. Especially those obtained their positions by the influence of money. These ill people always find access to the decision makers at the expense of the real and competent calibers.
OFWs have proven themselves as part of the global development in all fields with competence and honesty attitude.
I led the campaign for then Mayor Duterte in the Middle East in 2016 Presidential election. My first to campaign and vote for a presidential candidate in my whole life while living in such very strict country, Saudi Arabia.
A group of campaign team of then Mayor Duterte, under Charito “Ching” Plaza leadership who is now the head of the Philippines Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the former Regional Land Transportation Director in Caraga, Alex Mamao, I had the chance to meet then the presidential candidate on February 8, 2016 before the election traveling all the way from Saudi Arabia for the historic interview I conducted for the leading English daily based in KSA.
The mission has paid off and indeed delivered almost landslide victory for then Mayor of Davao. My one-on-one interview at Crown Plaza Hotel, Ortigas in Metro Manila was mainly focused on OFWs affairs and concerns. (The two parts talks are vailable on Arab News online version).
The historic meeting convinced me to lead his overseas campaign in the Middle East.
Almost all OFWs voted for then Mayor Duterte for their strong belief that our country will be free of corruption as one of his top agenda among others to finish such as illegal drugs and criminality.
He indeed did his best.
I was one of those supporters from abroad who were invited to Davao on May 16, 2016 victory celebration and to meet the people choice who just won the election.
I was surprised to see politicians and job seekers who did not campaign for him were presents. I saw some even talked against him during the campaign. They were so proud to have selfie with then the new elected head of the nation.
Apparently those opportunists penetrated and had the access by the help of their close influential friends who actually helped the Mayor during his campaign.
From such political high profile occasion I have ever attended I felt that politicians or those who can pay will always have a chance to penetrate whoever in the position may be.
I was a little bit disappointed. I return to KSA after few days only but because of commitment to my fellow OFWs as team leader of Duterte Middle East Movement I kept such personal observation.
I was told, following the interview that he keeps his promises. And that time OFWs needs a fellow from their rank to serve them abroad.
My doubt apparently surfaced when the president himself discovered and noticed some actual acts of corruption among his appointees and indeed fired them immediately.
For me I decided to return home for good following such victory, which I did not only personally take part but also led it for the first time in my life risking my position as mediaman in such politically strict country.
From such experience, OFWs have proven their capability in installing their choice candidates. They were important players of the real change we have seen in place in addition to their huge financial contributions to our economy recovery. AHMT