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(The Philippine Star)

June 9, 2018 - 12:00am

Less than two weeks before the Philippines marked Migrant Workers’ D
ay, an overseas Filipino worker in Slovakia died from a severe beating
he suffered at the hands of two men whom he tried to stop from har
assing two women in the capital Bratislava.

Henry John Acorda, a 36-year-old employee of a multinational compan

y, was reportedly kicked in the head as he lay on the ground when he
tried to protect the women on May 26. Acorda succumbed to his hea
d injuries five days later in a hospital. A local man age 28 has reporte
dly been held and charged with manslaughter.

Being hailed as a hero must be cold comfort to Acorda’s bereaved rel

atives. The story of his demise is unique. As the nation unfortunately k
nows only too well, however, dying of unnatural causes abroad is hardl
y unique for overseas Filipino workers. Just this year, a diplomatic row
erupted between the Philippines and Kuwait after the body of OFW Jo
anna Demafelis was found stuffed in a freezer in the apartment that h
er employers abandoned a year earlier.

As far back as two decades ago, the country already had such a high
number of OFWs that the government found it necessary to pass a Mi
grant Workers Act in 1995, Republic Act 8042, to promote their welfare
. Since then the country has commemorated the date of the enactmen
t of RA 8042, June 7, as Migrant Workers’ Day. The country also joins
the global community in the annual observance of International Migran
t Day on Dec. 18.

Acorda’s tragic fate should firm up official resolve to lay the groundwo
rk for the long-term goal of bringing home most if not all of the cou
ntry’s migrant workers. Because of their personal sacrifices and substant
ial contributions to the economy, OFWs have always been hailed as th
e country’s modern-day heroes. Acorda, however, took the heroism to
a literal level, with tragic results. The country will always remember him
with a mixture of pride and deep sorrow.


Who do you consider a hero in this

day and age?

September 3, 2008 - 12:00am

For having a headless and heartless government, our OFWs dare fate j
ust to keep their heads above water. They are my heroes. – Ruel Bauti
sta, Laguna

Our OFWs are keeping our economy afloat, but I appreciate more our
professionals who decided to stay here, striving hard to earn an honest
living. – Edwin Castillo, Batangas

Hurrah for parents

Parents that make sacrifices. They work hard to give their children a b
etter education, nourish them with moral values to help them become
better citizens, and devote precious time to their children. They are tod
ay’s heroes. – Manuel Canlas, Pampanga


Scroll to continue
There are many individuals out there that people consider as heroes. F
or me, none can be more heroic than my father. Nope, he’s no politici
an with elaborate speeches. He’s no actor or pastor. What he is is the
most responsible loving person that I know and love. My father works
hard for us, gives us everything we need and yes, even those things t
hat we just want. He doesn’t mind wearing the same old clothes or us
ing the same old jeans as long as he can give us what we asked for.
He never lets us down and whenever we talk, he never fails to put a s
mile on our faces. He is more than just a father to me. He’s my confi
dant, my best friend, my adviser, my idol. For me, my dad, Alberto Per
ez, is simply the best. He is irreplaceable. – Alvin Perez, Manila

Those parents who teach and lead their families to value spirituality m
ore than money. – Gerry del Cano, Muntinlupa

Those parents who remain faithful to their call of rearing their children
in spite of all the hardships in life. – Jae delos Santos, Muntinlupa City

Who else better fits a hero in this day and age than our parents? Of
my 21 years of being a “pasaway,” mine are still there, patiently taking
care of us and enduring every hardship that comes our way. I thank t
hem for all the blessings they have given me and the lessons they’ve i
nstilled in me. There’s your hero right there. – JC Macavinta, Caloocan

Unsung heroes in our midst

In this day and age of graft and corruption, immorality and criminality,
unabated rebellion and injustices, there are still many heroes in our mi
dst, but they are unknown and unsung because they are giving their b
est in serving God and their fellowmen without any expectation of rew
ards or recognition and with no fanfare at all. – Germi Sison, Manila

Countless of them certainly abound in our dear planet, but to me, a h

ero is one individual who genuinely offers help or assistance to any pe
rson or entity, tirelessly sharing his comforts in life, wisdom or God-giv
en talent. Henceforth, the aforementioned constitute classic examples of
acts of heroism. – Manny Cordeta, MarikinaCity

I count as heroes the doctor who opted to work in a remote barangay

and the corporal in the frontline fighting the enemies of this country.
– Digoy Coro, Batangas

It’s Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga because his heroic act simply does
not ask for anything in return. He’s not a politician. Among politicians,
it’s Gordon. He is one you can rely on in times of emergency. I also
would like to mention the Chinese firefighter-volunteers of Binondo. I c
an’t recall his name, but it is headed by the owner of Eng Bee Tin. I s
aw them in action, and they were quick to help. Doing something wort
hwhile and also good things for others makes one a in his or her own
simple way. – Rose Leobrera, Manila

Modern-day heroes
It’s the OFWs who work very hard and need to be away from their fa
milies because of the lack of opportunities in their own country. This is
because the government can’t provide wages that are right for their p
rofessions and prioritize political survival above anything else. – James
Gaw, Quezon City

OFWs are our modern-day heroes. Besides their US$15-billion annual re

mittances that sustain our ailing economy, OFWs also exemplify the go
od qualities of Filipino workers. Foreign employers prefer Filipinos beca
use they are hardworking, complain less, and have a mastery of the En
glish language. A few even sacrifice their lives to save the children of t
heir employers. Too bad hundreds of our OFWs languish in foreign jail
s; many need help from their abusive employers. The government shou
ld exert more effort to help them. – C.K. Yeo, IloiloCity

OFWs are modern-day heroes. They leave their loved ones to earn and
contribute immensely to our economic growth through their dollar re
mittances. They sacrifice and take all the risks. – Leonard Villar, BatacCi

My heroes are the OFWs who go through terrible trials to provide for
their families and, by so doing, help tremendously to keep our econom
y afloat. – L.C. Fiel, Quezon City

The modern-day heroes are the OFWs whose blood and sweat have h
elped keep our economy afloat. Without them, our condition would tur
n for the worse. – Ricardo Tolentino, LaoagCity
Tinatanong pa ba ‘yan? Who else, but us OFWs. If not for us, our eco
nomy would have gone down the drain a long time ago. Special menti
on goes to parents who try their best to provide a good education to
their children. - Danny de Leon, Al-Khafji, Saudi Arabia

Heroism is dead

In this day and age, anybody or anything can be considered a hero as

long as he or she has been prominently featured on TV by some idio
t box journalists. – Leandro Tolentino, Batangas

A hero in this day and age? Parang wala yata! Almost everyone is corr
upt and if one is corrupt, we cannot consider him a hero. – Tony Go
mez, Quezon City

The man in the mirror

After an hour of thinking and weighing thoughts, the hero I’ve come t
o know, one who does small, insignificant things yet, somehow, by the
end of the day, satisfies me, is no one else but the man in the mirror.
– Rico Fabello, ParañaqueCity

Myself, because if it weren’t for my strength, I wouldn’t be alive today.

– Johann Lucas, Quezon City

In this day and age, we taxpayers are the real heroes. We are the one
s funding the government’s corrupted projects and doleouts for the po
or. It is through taxes deducted from our hard-earned salaries that gov
ernment officials get to travel abroad. We are the ones who languish i
n high inflation rates and endless oil price increases and it is because
of our dedication to our respective jobs that our economy is (suppose
dly) improving. You don’t become a hero until after you’re dead, so I
guess after all the hard work and slave driving, we’ll all end up in our
graves sooner than we think—and we’ll still be paying taxes! – Marielle
Quiboquibo, Rizal

The working class

It’s still the person who works hard to earn a decent living for the fam
ily amidst the grinding difficulties that beset our country today. – Rey I
balan, AntipoloCity

Those who fight the daily grind painstakingly and honestly for survival
are undoubtedly the heroes of today. – Rodolfo Capili, CaloocanCity

Oh my, what a question! The OFWs may be pointed to easily again. B

ut in these difficult times, it’s the unnamed ordinary peaceful and hone
st Filipino, such as those engaged in the underground economy who
make do with anything that can keep their families alive, with his unca
nny grit and characteristic will to strive in order to survive under all try
ing circumstances, who I consider the real hero. – I.Q. Calata, Parañaqu

People who fight for their principles

A hero is one who fearlessly risks his life to defend his principles or to
uplift our country’s situation from the pitfall of degradation and abomi
nation. – C. Gaspar, LaoagCity

I consider a person of exceptional quality who wins admiration by nobl

e deeds, especially deeds of courage, as a hero of all time. – Pedro Al
agano, Vigan

Loving couples

My devoted and loving wife. She’s my heroine; she fully cared for me
when I met an accident. I wish her success and happiness. – Dave Vel
asco, Marinduque

Personally, I would call them heroes: Married couples living faithfully an

d blissfully with each other, solving the problem of infidelity which is s
o rampant nowadays, and also those married couples maintaining at le
ast a kid or two, solving population explosion. Two main problems of
ours today are solved by these heroes. – June Deoferio, Cavite

Our soldier-heroes

Those soldiers who died in Mindanao serving their country are all hero
es for me. I salute them. – Lydia Reyes, Bataan

Air Force Maj. Mammuel Zambrano is a modern-day hero. He helped

countless Filipinos flee from the war zone, and brought medicine and f
ood to people in calamity with his mercy mission. – Vic Alim, Caloocan

Our soldiers fighting the MILF rebels are heroes. There’s no telling wha
t would happen to Mindanao and its people if not for these brave sol
diers. – E. Linsangan, Isabela

Our soldiers become heroes by fighting our wars. They’re a notch abo
ve heroism by fighting a war temporized by our leader’s tentative politi
cal will. – C.B. Fundales, Bulacan

The Filipino farmer

I consider the Filipino farmer a hero. He is the sacrificial victim of conti

nually rising prices brought about by the poor economic policies of an
inept and corrupt government. He is a sufferer for the cause of the Fili
pino people who are captive victims of political and economic opportu
nism and exploitation. When can the Filipino farmer invoke his “unreco
vered losses” and fix a higher price for his product to, at least, have a
very minimal profit? When can he rise from the level of being just on
the receiving end of ill-conceived government programs and policies, a
nd have his voice heard in the much hyped “participatory approach to
development”? Ah, the questions are endless for our hero of today, th
e Filipino farmer. – Mario Tejada, Ilocos Norte
Rice farmers who, in spite of the rising cost of fertilizer, manage to fee
d their countrymen even as our government opts to import rice rather
than to alleviate their plight. – Diony Yap, BacolodCity

Men for others

In this day and age, I consider people risking their lives to help victims
of crime and accidents on the streets as unsung heroes. – Nap Cinco,

We have our share of modern-day heroes and some of them have not
even reached their teens. Four-year-old Chrisanta Seboc from Guimara
s, Iloilo saved her three-year-old sister and two- year-old brother when
their house caught fire; Rona Mahilum, a young girl from Negros Occi
dental, sustained third degree burns while saving five brothers and siste
rs from their burning house; and 13-year-old Aris Espinosa from Lanao,
who hurled himself to cover a grenade about to explode which took
his life but saved many of his friends. Too bad, unlike soldiers or leade
rs, modern- day heroes are easily forgotten. Somebody should put up
life-size bronze statues to honor them and to set examples for other y
outh to emulate. – Robert Young Jr., San Juan

My hero

Ninoy, with his radical ways, is still my hero. His decisiveness would ha
ve served us in good stead now if he were alive. – Jim Veneracion, Na
The likes of Jun Lozada. He was already earning enough and living co
mfortably but he sacrificed all these so the people may know the truth
. God bless him. – Manuel Abejero, Pangasinan

First is Tony Meloto, for his humility and charity, his two spiritual edific
es that led him to make Gawad Kalinga possible. Second, our soldiers
who risk their lives to protect our country from the threat of war; they
are the unsung heroes of our times. – Ella Arenas, Pangasinan

The incorruptible

A person who lives a simple, honest and just life and refuses to bow t
o the influence of a corporeal existence is a hero. A person who refus
es to steal public funds in order to support an opulent lifestyle is a he
ro. A hero is one whose values are not impaired by materialism. – Rey
Onate, PalayanCity

In search of a hero

I consider all honest, incorruptible, and idealist government officials and

employees as today’s heroes. Meron kayang ganyan sa Pilipinas? – Re
ne Manglinong, Ilocos Sur

The one I consider a hero, in these days when most government offici
als are corrupt, is a leader who will think of himself as a statesman rat
her than a politician. As the saying goes, the politician thinks of the ne
xt elections, but a statesman thinks of the next generation. We need t
his hero very badly in our times to extricate us from our plight and to
lead us to the land of peace and prosperity. – Vic Sanchez, PasigCity

Ad infinitum

Among the real heroes of today, Manny Pacquiao tops my list. Pero a
ng tunay na bayani ay si Fernando, huwag lang tatakbo sa 2010. FM w
ith his fake medals destroyed heroism; Ninoy brought it back. Villar, Pi
ng, Loren, Chiz, Alan Peter and Jinggoy cannot be heroes, kapag wala
ng media, wala nang ganang pumapel. Our soldiers who die fighting t
he MILF, Abu Sayyaf and NPA, or die when vintage aircrafts crash; and
OFWs who prop up our economy, sila ang real heroes. – Gerii Calupit
an, MuntinlupaCity

Bill Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates. They worked hard for the money. Now that th
ey have enough, they are working hard to give the money away. – Jos
e Fabello Jr., Misamis Oriental

Bill Gates. He made multi-mode all-weather communications swift for al

l purposes. It’s a great boon to mankind. – Nestor Buñag, Mandaluyon
g City

Views expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the editorial p

osition of The STAR. The STAR does not knowingly publish false inform
ation and may not be held liable for the views of readers exercising th
eir right to free expression. The publication also reserves the right to e
dit contributions to this section as it sees fit.

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Home for heroes

Home for heroes


Share it!

Published September 5, 2017, 10:00 PM

By Manny Villar

What do you call a mother who, through no choice of her own, leaves her family in the P
hilippines in order to earn a living abroad taking care of other people?

What term will you use to describe a husband and a father who endures the loneliness an
d pain of working in a different country just to provide for his family, only to lose that fa
mily while he is away? People call them Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs.

I call them heroes.

We have heard countless stories—some painful, some happy—of our new Filipino heroes as
they struggle to provide a bright future for their families, and by extension, for the countr
y. Two stories are particularly heartwarming as told by our very own Camella Homes in thei
r social media account.

One story is that of a Filipino father, Carding, who endured the hardships of working in a
strange land, suffering humiliation, isolation, and sometimes even inhuman treatment. He we
athered all of these so that as he sleeps at night he can look at the picture of his wife an
d young child and imagine a beautiful future ahead of them.

But as he returned home to that future, he discovered that he had lost his family. Someon
e else took his place as he labored abroad. Despite the gut-wrenching situation, he manag
ed to pick up the pieces and just like many of our brave Filipino heroes, moved on to a n
ew tomorrow; a new future.

The other story that became viral on social media is the story of a mother who worked ab
road taking care of other people. You would think that for all of Norma’s sacrifices, her chi
ldren and loved ones would look to her as more than a provider of money. Have the sacri
fices of our OFWs become so commonplace that even their loved ones take it for granted?

For an OFW, returning home is probably as difficult as leaving. What if they have changed?
What if they just want the “pasalubong” and not the person who brought it home? But a
mother is always a mother. Even in the most difficult condition, a mother will provide for h
er children. And despite all misgivings, a hug from her children makes all the pain go away

I hope you were able to watch those Camella videos (if you have not, check them out on
Camella’s Facebook page). I did. And when I watched them, it strengthened my belief in th
e human spirit, no, in the Filipino spirit.

I have been a witness to the bravery and heroism of our overseas Filipino workers since I s
old my first house and lot to a wife of an OFW—Mrs. Magtibay—who entrusted to me the
hard-earned money of her seaman-husband so that they can have their first home as a fa

Since that day, I have dedicated my entrepreneurial endeavors to making sure that we can
provide our OFWs a place they can all home and a future to look forward to as they com
e back home. As best as we could, we have helped welcome home Filipino heroes since 19
Our OFWs are our modern-day heroes. By sharing the stories of OFWs, we want to show t
hem that we truly understand what they go through in life, their real day-to-day struggles
and family issues.

This way, we will all learn to appreciate them and be more grateful for their sacrifices. We
want to tell them that despite of all their problems, there is always hope for a better futur

Last August 28, the nation observed National Heroes Day. We have a special day dedicated
to Filipino heroes like Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio. We have Fathers’ Day, Mothers’ Da
y, Teachers’ Day, we even celebrate National Pet Day. These are all very important.

When is Overseas Filipino Heroes Day?

(For comments/feedback email to: mbv,secretariat@gmail or visit www.mannyvillar.com.ph.)

Tags: Home for heroes, anila Bulletin, anny Villar, W, Philippines

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