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Keep an eye on your children, new social welfare attaché tells OFWs

27 April 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Marcelino is most concerned about the children OFW mums left behind

If there is one thing that the newly posted social welfare attaché from the Philippines would like to tell overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong, it is this: “Please always look after your children.”

Remilene Marcelino, who has worked at the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Philippines since 2014, has just been posted in Hong Kong to replace Lucita Villanueva, who was reposted to Antique province in August last year.

Marcelino went straight to work after finishing her mandatory seven-day hotel quarantine in Hong Kong and has already been busy familiarizing herself with the concerns of OFWs here.

Though she is single herself, Marcelino has taken a keen interest in children’s welfare, especially since her work has exposed her to a lot of problems affecting them.


One thing that has struck her in particular was the realization that 40% of all the teenage mothers she had come into contact with during her previous work with the Bantay Bata program of the ABS-CBN Foundation were children of OFWs.

These young mothers were mostly raped or abused by people their OFW mothers had entrusted them with, including their own fathers.

Siguro na experience nila yung rape dahil ang parents nila nasa abroad,” she said (Most likely they were raped because their parents were abroad).


What she found even more disconcerting was that at least one of the young mothers in that group had developed an “accommodation syndrome,” or that which forced her to accept her situation, thinking there was no way out.

Given this, Marcelino advises OFW mothers to always keep an open line with their children.

Dapat laging may communication. Kapag hindi na nagse share sa nanay o hindi na masaya, malamang may problema na hindi masabi.” (There should be constant communication. If the child stops sharing with the mother or no longer sounds happy, most likely there is already a problem that the child does not want the mother to know).

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Mothers should also listen more to the child than to the spouse in cases like this, she said, because there have been cases where the OFW mother had taken her husband’s word more than her abused child.

She hopes the constant communication between mother and child would lead to abuse cases being detected at the earliest stage so intervention could be made and the victim saved from further harm. 

Marcelino, who graduated with a degree in social work from St Louis University in Baguio City where she hails from, also worked briefly as a hospital social worker before joining the DSWD as an executive assistant of Assistant Secretary Glenda dela Rama Relova.

Though this is her first posting abroad, Marcelino hopes her experience of working indirectly with OFW mothers through their children will serve her in good stead when she starts dealing directly with the mostly women migrants in Hong Kong.


She says the extensive briefing she got from previous social welfare attaches plus the pre-departure training she got from the department will also be a big help.

The new attache pays a courtesy visit to Consul General Raly Tejada after leaving quarantine

As for now, she aims to get to know more members of the Filipino community with help from the various government departments under the Consulate, and learn how to work with them in helping protect fellow OFWs who are distressed.

Apart from providing counseling, she says the DSWD is also able to provide a “small financial assistance” to distressed workers. If necessary, she can refer them to the DWSD office nearest their place in the Philippines so they can be helped.

Told about how some OFWs hesitate to go home after working for a long time abroad, she says she will try to tap relevant government departments to make them part of the senior citizens’ program so they will be more encouraged to go home for good.

But for now, those who need immediate help may call or send a message to the DSWD’s newly installed hotline, 52956952.

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