Macabangkit, other retired OFWs seek positions at DMW

    Allan P.  Macabangkit may be 8,001 kilometers away in Saudi Arabia, a nine-hours flight from the Philippines, but he is quite familiar to current and retired overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Riyadh.

     It is because he is the current president of the OFW Congress in Riyadh and is talked about in his home country, the Philippines.

     “He has a way of making himself known or talked about,” said a former OFW in the Saudi capital.

     He said Macabangkit was active in helping distressed OFWs, as well as in community projects in Riyadh.

    Macabangkit’s group, OFW Congress,  awarded plaques and certificates of appreciation to frontliners during the pandemic.

     “OFW Congress pens were also given away. For this project, we spent SR10,000 (about P147,000),” Macabangkit said.

     “Regarding distressed OFWs, like domestic helpers (DH), the OFW Congress in Riyadh has been coordinating with the Philippine Embassy on police cases and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) on labor problems,” he said.

     Common problems are maltreatment, non-payments of salaries, non-issuance of Iqamas or resident certificates by employers, physical abuse, lack of food, among others.

    Macabangkit said, “We’ve formed  a team as our representative to coordinate with the Philippine Embassy or the POLO.”

    OFW Congress is also active in projects like Qur’an reading, done through the Council of Maranao Elders of which Macabangkit is also the president.

    Through the Maranao Sports Commission, basketball tournaments are being held with various teams participating.

    There is also the Ranao Toastmasters Club formed in 2020, which aims to develop leadership skills among members.

    With the activities Macabangkit has been involved in, there is no doubt that he longs for more involvement not only in a limited capacity but also on a national level.

     For this reason, he and other long-time but retired OFWs—Dr. Carlito Astillero and Matt Bubong— seek involvement in the newly-organized Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) headed by Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople.

    “We’ve forwarded a letter regarding this to the Office of the DMW Secretary,” Macabangkit said.

    He added, “We hope to get a position wherein we can use our experience and acquired skills in advancing the welfare of OFWs.”

    Macabangkit’s OFW involvement started right after arriving in the Saudi capital in 1984. He assumed the presidency of the Shakba International, an organization for the Maranao community.

    Then he became chair of the Federation of Maranao Associations in Riyadh, a member of the Board of Directors of the Philippine International School in Riyadh (PISR) and  President of the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA). He was also involved in various groups while working to support his family.

    His wife, Mariam Macabangkit, is PISR Principal.

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