DMW Chief Ople vows program for OFW kids left in non-parent care; condoles with Saudi OFW who lost 4 kids in Cavite massacre

Manila, Philippines – Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan Ople on Saturday (March 11) promised to develop a program in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for children of overseas Filipino workers who are entrusted to non-parent care.

This is following the case of Virginia de la Pena, a Saudi-based OFW who lost her four children in a massacre by live-in partner in Trece Martires, Cavite recently.

“(DSWD) Secretary Rex (Gatchalian) and I share the grief of course for OFW Virginia, the entire family. You lose your children. You lose a family member due to natural cause, it already hurts,” Ople said in her speech, at the sidelines of the  memorandum of agreement signing with the DSWD for the release of P10,000 each to the unpaid Saudi Arabia claimants waiting for back pay.

But to lose four children ages 14, 10, 8, 6 in such a gruesome, tragic, unexpected manner. Maybe words cannot describe.”

The DMW chief said she had been speaking with Gatchalian and the DMW and DSWD will develop programs for children of OFWs who were left towards the care of non-parents as they work abroad.

Ople said they will help Virginia’s 15-year-old son who still lives as he was in another household when his siblings were killed by suspect Felimon Escalona in a gruesome massacre in Cavite.

For his part, Gatchalian said the DSWD fully supports DMW’s programs.

“We at the DSWD support their programs for the families of OFWs who are here in Philippines or those who are about to go home,” he said in an earlier speech. The agreement covers DSWD’s implementation of its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations in partnership with the OWWA.

No further details were disclosed, however, on the program being planned by DMW and DSWD for children of OFWs that Ople mentioned as to when it will start and how it will be implemented.

Ople likewise asked for prayers for Virginia, her kids who died, her son that is still living and all the similarly situated OFW women at present.

The four siblings named Mari, Bianca, Joy and Conrad were found dead inside their home in Summer Homes, Barangay Cabuco, Trece Martires City, Cavite after the live-in partner of their mother Virginia, stabbed them all before committing suicide using the same kitchen knife.

Police authorities sees jealousy as possible motive of the suspect, who was entrusted to care for the kids since their mother left to work in Saudi in October 2022.

On Saturday Virginia has arrived at the Philippines to visit the wake of her kids in Taysan, Batangas.

A report from GMA News 24 Oras Weekend quoted the mother in the interview as saying “she regrets entrusting to her live-in partner the care for her kids while she worked in Saudi.”

“My four children were gone. I hope they guideus especially me. I love them very much. It pains me to accept that they’re gone,” said a weeping Virginia.

De la Pena earlier said she was talking to her live-in partner on the phone when the killing happened. The OFW woman also heard her kids’ plea for help.

Virginia said she was given a three months vacation leave by her employer but she wants to return to sustain the needs of her remaining son.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration assured that de la Pena won’t have difficulty returning to Saudi, even as it vowed financial assistance to the family.

Aside from health assessment and psychosocial intervention, Virginia will receive P20,000 cash aid under the “Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay” program and P10,000 special financial assistance.