A UAE-based Filipino who is currently on a no-work-no-pay status has started his commitment to provide help for fellow Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) affected by the impacts of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), stating that he knows by heart what it means to be in their shoes.
Andy Gregory Gomez, an OFW who has been living in the UAE for the past seven years, said that he has not been receiving his salary for a few months now as his company grapple to survive the effects of the pandemic. He said that this exact experience has inspired him to help other Filipinos, noting that he understands how difficult it is to be in this situation.
“Dahil naranasan ko din ang mawalan ng trabaho at mawalan ng sahod, kaya ramdam ko ang mga kapwa ko OFW dito sa Dubai. Lagi ko ding naaalala ang payo ng lola ko na kapag may sobra ka kailangan mo tumulong sa iba. Ngayon, kahit wala akong sinasahod, sinusubukan ko pa ding tumulong sa mga kababayan ko, kasi alam ko ang pakiramdam nila,” he said.
He said that he started his relief drive in late April straight from his own pocket, together with his friends Ghie Salgado and Rowena Nicolas. They have done three relief operations as of this writing, and are planning their fourth drive within the month.
“Madalas po kami nagpapadala at namimigay sa mga naka-visit visa at mga nawalan ng trabaho. kawawa po kasi sila dahil wala silang pangsuporta para sa mga pamilya nila sa Pilipinas. Sila mismo ay hirap dito,” added Gomez.
The OFW has also expressed gratitude for others who have also shown their commitment to help by providing goods to their campaign—adding that it is in this period that the spirit of bayanihan is truly evident in the community.
“Ngayon na natin kasi makikita ang tunay na dugo ng Pilipino na nagbabayanihan. Makikita mo sa kapwa natin na tumutulong sila para sa mga kapwa nilang OFW lalo na dito sa UAE. Alam nila na marami ang nangangailangan sa panahong ito,” he said.
Gomez also asked affected Filipinos to be strong and stay united, because he believes that this will be over soon.
“Huwag kayo mawalan ng pag-asa dahil pagsubok lang ito. Lahat po tayo may kakayahan lumaban kahit anong dumating na pag subok. ‘Wag niyo hayaan na lamunin kayo ng pagsubok. Basta laban lang at kakayanin natin to lalo na PINOY TAYO at nasa dugo natin ang sipag ay tiyaga,” said Gomez.