Tale of woes: An OFW mom’s fight for her children’s custody

Each overseas Filipino worker (OFW) has a story to tell. Some are stories of success, while others narrate stories of hardships and sometimes, failures.

Like many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Marian had her own share of struggles as a worker overseas. In 2003, Marian was left with no choice but to fly to Singapore because of her meager income as a midwife in the Philippines. A mix of helplessness and urge to help her mother who was sick pushed Marian to go all-in and pay her placement fee of Php10,000 without receipt just to be able to work as a nursing aid.

“Pinuntahan ko yung bahay. Later, may mga agam-agam ako but binaliwala ko lang kasi aunt to ng classmate ko,” Marian told The Filipino Times Online.

Upon her arrival in Singapore, she discovered, along with many other OFWs, that their supposed working visas handed to them by their recruitment agency, were actually tourist visas.

The group was sent to a home where they slept on folding beds in the laundry room. They worked for multiple employers. Distraught, Marian decided to go home, but it was a difficult task.

“Di ko kinaya. Nagpabalik ako sa agency at nagpatubos sa parents ko instead na makatulong. Super down ako that time, Naawa ako sa nanay ko… Ilang months din ako di lumabas ng bahay,” Marian said.

Just when Marian thought she had surpassed the biggest challenge in her life, she decided to get married and her life fell into pieces for a second time.

Her husband was lured into having various vices. Her mother also died due to her illness. Marian then learned she was pregnant with her second child weeks after her husband returned to work as a seaman.

When her husband returned, his first question was if the child was indeed his. She also discovered her husband had an affair while onboard the ship he was working in.

The two were hounded with marital issues, but these were nothing in gravity compared to what happened next.

Marian discovered that her husband, along with his relatives, picked their children up from school. His husband warned her that he will no longer send financial help if the children will stay under Marian’s custody.

“Naging plain housewife ako na walang pinanghahawakang papel being a wife of a seaman,” Marian said.

Today, Marian is now ready to fight for her right to have custody over her children. She is currently an OFW in Saudi Arabia, and has worked there for two years as a caregiver in hopes that one day, she will be able to save enough money to bring her case to court.

“I want to get my children back. I want to save money for annulment processing plan and to fight for my children’s rights,” Marian said.

“It hurts so much as a mother na di kayang ipaglaban sa [hukuman] ang mga kids because walang sapat na savings,” she added.

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