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Ramdam ang hirap: Pacquiao offers to pay for land sold by Joanna Demafelis’ family

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Senator Manny Pacquiao cannot help but become “emotional” during the Senate probe on the death of Filipino domestic worker Joanna Demafelis in Kuwait.

Authorities found Demafelis’ frozen body in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Al Shaab area. Her body bore tell-tale signs of torture.

The Senate Committee on Labor on Wednesday conducted a public hearing on the abuses committed against overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait which led to the deaths of 196 Filipino migrant workers since 2016.

The Filipino boxing hero-turned senator tried to hold back tears when he narrated the circumstances behind Demafelis’ reason in going to Kuwait to work as a household worker or domestic helper.

Demafelis, 29, had to work to Kuwait to repair their house in Iloilo as well as to pay some debts that her family incurred to fund her travel to Kuwait.

It was learned that her family had to mortgage, for P275,000, their three-hectare land in Iloilo to a military official, a “Colonel,” to augment their financial need.

“Masama ang loob ko. Bakit? Galing kasi ako sa hirap at iyong paghihirap ng mahihirap na tao, nararamdaman ko yon dahil pati ari-arian nila isinanla nila para makapag-abroad, tapos ang nanyari sa kanila,” Pacquiao said.

“Siyempre, proud iyong mga magulang, nakapag-abroad ang kanilang anak nila, mababayaran ang mga inutang, pero ang sinapit ng anak nila, nawala na ang pag-asa sa buhay,” he said.

The Pambansang Kamao added, “Hindi ko mapigilan ang sarili kasi doon ako galing eh. Si Manny Pacquiao naranasan na matulog sa kalsada kaya kaya alam ko iyong naramdaman nila.”

Pacquiao eventually volunteered to pay for the land mortgaged by Demafelis’ family.

Turning to Labor Secretary Bebot Bello, Pacquiao said, “Anyway, Mr. Secretary iyong problema ng mga magulang na naisanla ang lupa, pakisabi po, ako na ang mag-aano (magbabayad) sa isinanla nilang lupa.”