Christmas came early for a retired overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who won a house and lot from Lessandra during the 10th OFW and Family Summit of the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG) last Nov. 19.
“Thank you Ma’am Villar. Thank you sa family ng Villar. God Bless po,” said Rodrigo Pido, a retired OFW from Kuwait. He used to work as a ground equipment coordinator in airports.
A visibly tearful Pido said he and his wife prayed to win the grand prize as they went on to watch and participate in the online program.
The summit’s theme this year–“MasiglangKabuhayan Sa Bagong Panahon”–is timely according to Sen. Cynthia Villar, since everyone is struggling to live a normal and happy life amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Pido, who worked in Kuwait for 28 years, said he was deeply overwhelmed after winning the much-coveted house and lot. He told the senator that he had retired in March 2020 during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic after finishing his contract.
Also present during the event to witness the final raffle were House Deputy Speaker and Las Piñas City Rep. Camille Villar, senatorial aspirant and former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, Vista Land President Paolo Villar, and Vista Land Chairman and former Senate President Manny Villar.
For the first time, the summit was held virtually to ensure the protection of the participants from COVID-19.
Various experts on financial literacy, business start-ups, franchising, and career development programs were invited to speak during the event.
In between the discussions and presentations, raffle prizes including groceries, pangkabuhayan packages, appliances, and even motorcycles were given away to participating OFWs. Successful entrepreneurs were also invited to share inspiring experiences that could help motivate OFWs to wisely spend their hard-earned money.
Sen. Villar stressed that the summit provided a great opportunity for OFWs to learn how to protect their earnings from scammers and how to invest them wisely.
“Aside from teaching our OFWs how to wisely invest their savings and grow their income, it is equally important to educate them on their rights and how not to fall victims of human trafficking, illegal recruitment and investment scams,” she added.
The summit–organzied by the Villar family through Villar SIPAG–is their annual offering to OFWs, who are known for sacrificing a lot for the sake of giving their families a decent and comfortable life back home.
“Through the dollar remittances they sent back home, our OFWs also help keep the country’s economy afloat amid the pandemic,” Sen. Villar said.