Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Undersecretary and officer-in-charge (OIC) Hans Leo J. Cacdac acted like the former Philippine ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Romulo M. Espaldon, in the case of distressed domestic helper (DH) Mojahira Martin Tungkaling in Riyadh.
Tungkaling, 25, a solo parent, needed tickets to fly from Riyadh to Manila and Manila to Davao.
“Okay po, sir. We’ll help,” Cacdac assured retired career foreign service officer (FSO) Rafael E. Seguis, who referred the DH’s case to him.
Cacdac asked for Tungkaling’s contact number.
The agency Momaizat Al Enjaz Recruitment said Tungkaling could not be issued a plane ticket because she did not complete the three-month probationary period, according to Attaché Saifoden “Ding” Manalao of the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.
Tungkaling arrived in the Saudi capital on Dec. 13, 2023.
The late Gen. Espaldon, when he was the Philippine ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1993 to 1999, used to say, “Basta Pinoy ka okey ka!”
(If you’re a Pinoy, you’re okay.)
He meant that he would always help a Filipino.
When Cacdac pledged, Tungkaling had already bought a plane ticket from Riyadh to Manila, but she needed more money for the Manila-Davao flight.
She posted a message online, appealing to Cacdac and Arnell Ignacio of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
She was requesting help to go home to Davao Oriental. She also asked to be refunded the cost of her Riyadh-Manila ticket but was advised to tell the DMW OIC, who asked for her contact number.
Her Philippine Airlines flight left Riyadh at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and arrived in Manila at 9:30 a.m. the following day.
She sought help from the OWWA office at the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino İnternational Airport). She filled out a form and was readily assisted.
The OWWA brought her and other arriving overseas workers to the Selah Lofts Hotel in Pasay City, where they stayed for a night and had breakfast the following day.
She was later given P950 for food and bus fare to her hometown. She boarded her flight to Davao at 7 p.m. She spent the night at the bus terminal and traveled home the following day, Saturday.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng tumulong sa akin,” she said.
(I thank all those who helped me.)