There are already songs dedicated to the Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs by the legendary folk singer Ferdinand “Ka Freddie” Pascual Aguilar namely “Kumusta Ka Aking Mahal?,” “Larawan” and “Pasko Ang Damdamin.” While these tunes border on the personal, they might be sentimental, saccharine, syrupy and mostly sensual and romantic that made them on top of the charts.
Meanwhile, dyed-in-the-wool music enthusiasts of the socially conscious lot are waiting for more empathic musical creations from Ka Freddie which would be as pressing as today’s headlines of the sad plight of OFWs. They see sordid and hapless stories waiting to be immortalized in music and that could even move a fellow Filipino to change for the better. Aguilar fans are still hoping their idol could compose and wax another classic in honor of and to dignify the sacrifices of OFWs.
Until a man named Tirso Nieva Paglicawan, Jr., an erstwhile chief of the Media and Public Affairs of the Philippine Postal Corporation and former president of Phlpost Workers Union; an OFW advocate who is the founder-chairman of the board of Serbisyong OFW Worldwide (a volunteer search and rescue group), a paralegal officer/ journalist, incumbent deputy secretary general of the Department of the Interior and Local Government–National Police Commission (DILG – NAPOLCOM) Press Club and now, the editor-in-chief of the business newspaper The Market Monitor petitioned Ka Freddie via change.org to compose and sing an international anthem for OFWs.
The link of the change. org petition is https://www. change.org/p/science-and-technology-advocate-bertito-bert-delmundo-hashimoto-to-request-for-and-in-behalf-of-the-ofw-for-freddie-aguilar-to-compose-and-sing-a-song-solely-dedicated-to-ofw-s-flight-and-plight/w?source_location=notifications_page
Instantly, many have joined the bandwagon of plea including one Shirley Decipulo Donghil, a solo OFW parent who escaped from her employer’s inhuman treatment when she was then trapped in Kuwait.
“No music or song yet which is entirely dedicated to the Filipinos living and or working in other countries had already been composed and sung by Ka Freddie himself,” she emphasized until she was reminded that the singer had already recorded three OFW songs.
Just the same, Paglicawan and other petitioners never tired of convincing Aguilar through the intercession of journalist Art Tapalla, to compose and to sing again a piece about the more painful experiences of OFWs but reek with moral lessons among migrant workers. Other OFWs, namely Anita Buna Cruz Agosto, who was locked up by her Arabian employer like an animal; Jona Mae Malinao Guabong who was imprisoned because she was wrongly accused of theft by her Kuwaiti landlord and Jay Ann Sesracon Guatno who jumped off the window to escape death and was even further hunted down to be killed by her own Kuwaiti employer until she was eventually also rescued and repatriated to the Philippines, have as well joined the collective voice.
These petitioners believe that Ka Freddie has the voice and courage to rally behind them as he is, aside from being the Presidential Adviser on Culture and Arts, according to the petition is “duly acknowledged to have catapulted many to the Presidency (and have helped three or more Philippine presidents stayed in power) through the magic, influence and power and wonder of his voice and patriotic music…”
The petition again reads in part: “The song to be composed and sung by Ka Freddie himself is also somehow a deepest appreciation and an endless recognition to the help extended or to be provided yet by people with genuine concern specifically to Ms. Donghil and other OFWs.”
When Aguilar read the petition, he didn’t mince words and started to collect his thoughts and faced up with his muse—the result was a song titled “MAE.” Aptly it connotes Maltreatment, Abuse and Exploitation which are oftentimes being experienced by almost OFWs.
The song tells of Mae who works abroad to liberate herself from poverty but only to be tortured to death. The song seeks justice for her.
The song, in a way is an expression of how greatly grateful the OFW “who would soon to be beneficiaries” of the sustained education or possible scholarship grants and study exchange programs of the children of the OFWs and even the OFWs themselves which help and continouos assistance are anticipated from “Science and Technology” advocate Engineer Bertito “Bert” Hashimoto as Engr. Hashimoto completely knows the hardships and travails of being away from one’s family because he himself was also an OFW in Japan for several years.
The song is a reminder for OFWs especially the women who were victims of sexual abuse, miserable life after rescue and even death. The song also beseechs the kind understanding and material assistance of individuals to help the OFWs and their families specifically from Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. (CSFI) President Emelita “Emily” Apostol– Alvarez through Fair Mont Realty and Property Management Business Development Manager Mark Anthony Pacheco.
“Mae” also inspires and calls the attention of still deaf and yet untouched Senator Grace Poe–Llamanzares because she may eventually would empathize and sympathize with the OFWs and their children. If Sen. Grace remains unperturbed, Philippine congresswoman Nancy A. Catamco may as well please extend a helping hand and conduct a thorough probe on merciless cases of maltreatment of OFWS.
“Mae” resonates as well with the plight of the Indigenous Peoples (IP)’s fight as being oftenly, openly undertaken by Eurotel/ Icon Hotel Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Bae Jennifer Pia “Limpayen” Sibug-Las, an ethnic minority herself.
It is a testament to the crusade of pro–environment Regina L. Lopez and the socially conscious Liberty Insurance Corporation special group accounts managing director Rolando E. Estrella and Square and Compass Security Agency Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vincent Bautista Bayaua.
The First Filipino Woman General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Ramona P. Go (Ret.) will surely be happy to listen to the song and that JBDC Occupational Health, Safety and Environemant (OHSE) CEO Juvie B. de la Cruz and JBDC OHSE Cconsultancy Group of Companies Country Manager Jogee G. de la Cruz are likewise excited and thrilled with the said composition of Ka Freddie.
Others to celebrate the song are Klinpix Janitorial and Pest Control Services, Inc. President Alvin S. Estrella; His Majesty Sultan Mudarasulail A. Kiram, the charismatic leader of our countrymen who are now in Sabah, Malaysia; the Labor and Trade Unionism advocate and adviser Isabelo Samonte; Dok Chie Umandap of AKO OFW Inc.; Joy Pacante, International President of Serbiyso OFW Worldwide (SOW); OFWs’ welfare advocate Susan “Toots” Valdez Ople; media men like Camilo Belleza Millendez; Sixto “Kit Kilatis” Baflor Lagare; Quezon City Press Club President Rio Araja; Liga ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LBPI) President Rolando “Lakay” Gonzalo and LBPI Chairman Mike Abe, Manila Bulletin columnist Fred Lobo; and Dangerous Drugs Board–Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (DDB–PDEA) Press Corps president Jimmy Mendoza of Sonshine Radio with his program on seamen and OFWs and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Deputy Administrator Doods Dulay and his team.
Ka Freddie has just recorded “Mae” and will be part of “40 Years Anak Freddie Aguilar Album.” BOY VILLASANTA