TACLOBAN CITY – The Office of Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in the region has awarded the regional winners for the Model OFW Family of the Year Awards (MOFYA) in a simple awarding ceremony held at Hotel de Fides in this city.

Helen Balerite from Leyte province was chosen as the regional winner for the land-based category while Rufo Demiao, Jr. of Southern Leyte was selected as winner for the sea-based category.

The two will be representing the region at the national awarding to be held next year.
Balerite worked as a nurse in Dubai then later on became a food safety quality manager of Marriot Hotel and Intercontinental Hotel, two of the popular hotels of said country after she finished studying food safety management.

This allowed her to save more which she then invested in various businesses that her family put up not only in the country but even in Dubai.

“We need to learn how to save and spend on what is essential and needed by our family,” Balerite said when asked of what advice she has to her fellow OFWs.
“No matter how high your salary is if you don’t know how to manage your finances you will end up with nothing,” Balerite said.

Demiao shares the same advice to OFWs adding that although saving is also important, having constant communication with the family is a must to ensure that their relationship will remain strong despite being separated by distance.

“Giving time to communicate and talk with your family is one of the most important aspects of keeping your family relation strong. This builds trust despite the distance that separates you from each other,” he said.

Demiao has worked as a captain on a cruise ship for over 30 years, allowing him to support the education and needs of his family.

OWWA OIC Regional Director Mary Catherine Pastor hopes that the two MOFYA regional winners will become an inspiration to fellow OFWs who are struggling to work abroad to provide support to the needs on their families.

The official has high hopes that the regional winners will eventually emerge as national winners.

Eastern Visayas has already one MOFYA national winner – ship captain Manuel Gabornes of Lawaan, Eastern Samar – who won the competition in 2012.

MOFYA is an annual search that showcases the best practices on how to nurture an OFW family despite the distance and challenges, and on how their success resonates not only in their community but in the rest of society. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)