Latest Stories

Help offered for men left at home by OFW wives

FILIPINO women with their faces covered arrive from tours of duty as overseas Filipino workers. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MABALACAT CITY—Alvin Valenton has been single-handedly rearing his five children, aged 5 to 14, for over a year now, as his wife Erna works in Macau.

“It’s difficult being a mother and father at the same time,” Valenton, 36, told his village mates in Sitio Macabacle in Barangay (village) Sapang Biabas here on Thursday.

The likes of Valenton are many, but they rarely get help, said Dr. Lourdes Carandang, a clinical psychologist.

Carandang said more men are taking on child-rearing and household duties as more women leave for work abroad.

In Barangay Sapang Biabas, there are 18 other men who share the same plight as Valenton. At least 25 more are in two nearby villages.

For them, Carandang’s MLAC Psychosocial Services for Well-Being launched here on Thursday the Ama na Magaling Mag-aruga sa Anak (Amma). It is the corporate social responsibility program of Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), a government entity overseeing the development of Clark International Airport (CRK) near this Pampanga city.

Pioneering program

Among the 90 airports in the country, CRK is the first to have a program focused on families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), said Victor Jose Luciano, CIAC president and chief executive officer.

“This is our way of helping families of OFWs stay together,” Luciano said.

Sen. Grace Poe joined the launch and supported Amma, which she said was needed to help keep the families of OFWs intact.

They number over 10 million, propping the economy through their remittances that reach $16 billion a year, Poe said.

Carandang said Amma would be carried out in three Mabalacat communities for six months through workshops for men, their children and village leaders.

She said the Mabalacat villages would serve as models for other Pampanga barangays with OFW mothers.

Emmeline Verzosa, executive director of the Philippine Commission on Women, found Amma to be unique because it helped men who are involved in shared parenting.


Emotional stress

Valenton said more than the chores—cleaning the house, cooking, bathing the children, bringing them to school, doing laundry, helping them with their homework, putting them to sleep—it is the emotional demands of parenting that he finds to be more challenging.

On his free time, he drives a tricycle to earn money.

“I worked in Saudi [Arabia], so I know how it is to be eking out a living abroad. If not for my poor vision, I would still be working,” said the former aluminum technician.

“We need to be strong for our wives and children. We need to love our families, give attention to our children and instill in them discipline,” he told his fellow fathers.

Carandang said Amma is among the results of case studies published in the book, “Nawala ang Ilaw ng Tahanan,” that she, Beatrix Aileen Sison and Christopher Carandang authored in 2007.

“We developed programs assisting fathers, but these were of shorter periods. We chose to do it on a longer duration in Mabalacat because local leaders are very receptive,” she said.

Carandang said aside from starting Amma centers, men whose wives work overseas need to develop support groups, be encouraged to play and be with their children, and have family rituals that strengthen togetherness.

They should also do regular physical activities to cope with loneliness, strengthen the marital relationship despite the distance and foster and build the man’s belief in himself and in his ability.


More women leaving

In a fact sheet on OFWs released in May last year, the Senate Economic Planning Office said government data showed a changing pattern of the profile of OFWs over time based on their skills, occupation and country of deployment, as indicated by the change in demand for overseas workers.

“Employment of women in household service, nursing and waiting [tables] or bartending is now largely more prominent than manual or skilled industrial work. This is a major shift away from the 1970s, when mostly agricultural workers were sent to Hawaii and construction-related professionals were deployed to oil-rich Middle Eastern countries,” said the report.

The National Statistics Office (NSO), citing results of the Survey on Overseas Filipinos in 2009, said the number of OFWs that year reached about 1.9 million.

“Of this total, 47.2 percent, or approximately 900,000, were women… Compared to male OFWs, female OFWs in 2009 were younger, in general. More than half (50.7 percent) of the female OFWs were in the age group 25 to 34. The age group 25 to 29 made up 27.2 percent of all female OFWs while the age group 30 to 34, 23.5 percent,” the NSO report said.

It said more than half of female OFWs (56.1 percent) were “unskilled workers, mostly domestic helpers and cleaners.”

“Those who worked as service workers and shop and market sales workers made up 18.1 percent and professionals, 10.5 percent,” it added.

The NSO said the total remittance sent by OFWs from April to September 2009 reached P138.5 billion.

“Of this amount, the total remittance sent by female OFWs comprised 30.8 percent, or approximately P42.7 billion, which placed the average remittance per female OFW at P56,000,” it said. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Global Nation , News , OFWs

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  4. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  5. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  9. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  10. Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • 2 killed in apparent Bahrain car bombing
  • SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  • At barricades, Ukraine insurgents await Easter
  • Solons seek ample protection for bank depositors
  • Tragedies at sea: The Sewol and the Costa Concordia
  • Sports

  • Tottenham beats Fulham 3-1 in Premier League
  • Martino defends Messi, takes blame for Barca fail
  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • Marketplace