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Nanay Tarcila returns home

19 June 2016

Nanay Tarcila (third from left) is reunited with relatives in Metro Manila, her stopover before eventually going home to Cadiz, Negros Occidental.

By Vir B. Lumicao

“Nanay Tarcila,” the 68-year-old woman who last December gave herself up to Immigration authorities after overstaying in Hong Kong for over a decade, is now back in the Philippines.
Tarcila Alabastro flew home on May 30 aboard a Philippine Airlines flight to Manila.
According to Hermogenes Cayabyab Jr, officer of the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section, the OFW’s plane ticket was paid for by the Hong Kong government, and she was escorted to the airport by immigration officers.
However, her friends in Hong Kong say Alabastro is now “stranded” at a relative’s home in Metro Manila because her air ticket was only up to Manila.
Alabastro was convicted of breach of condition of stay after overstaying for more than 12 years in Hong Kong. She was sentenced to six months in jail on Jan 8 by a Shatin court, which gave discounts for her surrender and her fragile physical condition.
She could hardly walk because of osteoarthritis when she surrendered on Dec 9 with help from the Consulate. She was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital two weeks later by Esther Bangcawayan of Bethune House after a surge in her blood pressure.
That discomfort turned out to be a mild stroke, and her surrender must have come as a blessing, according to Cayabyab. The domestic worker ended up spending practically all of her four-and-a-half months’ jail term in hospital, where all her medical needs were provided.
“Magaling na siya paglabas niya,” said Cayabyab, who often visited the old woman during the regular prison visit by Consulate officials.
For the domestic helpers who helped Alabastro surrender and find shelter, her early release was welcome news, but her return home left them with mixed feelings.
“Naku, ayaw ko nang maisip yung sa kulungan. Naiyak ako nang magkita kami. Nang makita niya ako, ang iyak niya, grabe! Di makapaniwala na babalikan ko siya,” said Alexise Tiu, administrator of the OFWs in Hong Kong who visited Alabastro at the Lowu women’s correctional a week before her departure.
It was Tiu who helped the limping Alabastro walk to the Consulate and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Admiralty on Dec 6, 2015 to seek a shelter before she surrendered. Tiu said she misses Nanay Tarcila. “I still want to see her but I’ll just pray that she’ll be fine.”

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