Nowadays, it has becoming socially acceptable for mothers to work outside due to the increasing economic demands.

Filipino mothers have opted to work abroad and toughly endure the consequences of living away from their families in exchange for a better and brighter future for their loved ones. Despite homesickness, work pressure, family problems, etc., they stand strong with hopes that all these sacrifices would lead to a happy life they are dreaming for their families.

But what if your only source of strength and hope has been murdered by the administration you campaigned for and supported?

Anguished Arrivals

Going back home after years of working abroad is the most exciting and rewarding moment for every OFW but not for Lorenza Delos Santos. An overseas worker in Riyadh for three years now, Lorenza flew home on Thursday night anguished with the report of his 17-year-old son, Kian Lloyd, killed in an alleged drug raid in Caloocan City last Wednesday.

“You cannot bring my son’s life back” (Hindi niyo na kayang ibalik ‘yung buhay ng anak ko), Lorenza cried over.

News reports said that her son was found dead nearby a river by his father Zaldy after police claimed that Kian attempted to shoot authorities, prompting cops to fire back. However, witnesses’ statements and surveillance footage said otherwise. The footage showed two cops accompanying the teen to the spot where the latter was killed. A witness also said that the police beat up Kian and gave him a gun before he was told to run for his life.

“He is very kind … my kid isn’t bad. Many people love my son, he is not” (Napakabuti po kasi niya eh… Hindi po masama ang anak ko. Ang dami naman pong taong nagmamahal sa anak ko eh, hindi po siya yun), she said.

“My son is innocent. I love my son dearly. My God,” (Napakainosente po ng anak ko eh. Mahal na mahal ko yung anak ko. Diyos ko naman), she added.

Lorenza also called on President Rodrigo Duterte to help seek justice for her slain child.

“I am calling to President Duterte, please help … Let there be justice so I can make myself believe in your campaign that you catch and kill real drug addicts” (Nananawagan po ako sa Pangulong Duterte, please naman po help… Sana po magkaroon ng hustisya para maniwala po ako sa kampanya niyo na hinuhuli niyo at pinapatay yung mga totoong drug addict,” she said.

“My son is not a drug addict” (Hindi po drug addict yung anak ko), she added.

The couple will file charges against police officers involved in the operation.

“If we lose, at least, I fought for my son. I am telling him I fought for him” (Kung matalo man kami, at least, inilaban ko anak ko. Sinasabi ko sa kanya pinaglaban ko siya), Zaldy said.

The scenario where an OFW mother rushes home because of the drug war is not new. Four months ago, another domestic helper from Kuwait, Luzviminda Siapo, flew back to the Philippines right after the news that his 19-year-old handicapped son was killed by the authorities. In December last year, only five months after Duterte declared the war against drugs, Emmanuel Lorica was shot dead while sleeping in an evacuation center in Pasig. His mother was also an OFW.



OFW Moms React

Remember that during the Philippine Presidential campaign and elections, the then Davao City Mayor Duterte won the highest Overseas Absentee Voting. The President received an overwhelming support from Filipino communities abroad. They said that he is the only candidate that “could guarantee the safety of our loved ones back in the Philippines, just like what he did in Davao”. With the current news, especially the killing of Kian Lloyd Delos Santos, a number of OFW Moms from all around the globe were alarmed on the issue.

For Alicia Santiago, a Beauty Consultant in Dubai, it means a “world shattered”.

Alicia has a 16-year-old, Grade 10 son in the Philippines. “As a parent, all we want is for the goodness of our children. I will demand to the President to give justice for my son! The policemen must pay for killing my son” she added.

Cristina De Perio, an Office Secretary living in Sharjah, UAE, shares the same sentiments. She always reminds her 17- year old, grade 11 son to take care and to choose his friends wisely, and stay home safe at night.

Although she is staying with her daughter in South Carolina, Bernalyn Philipps, shares her thoughts on the issue. “If I were the mother, I would definitely feel devastated. I will demand the government to be precise when doing drug raids to avoid the involvement of innocent people. The police who would be found abusing their power should be prosecuted too.”

Nel Aballe, a caregiver in Cyprus, expresses more of her critiques to Duterte’s drug war that caused the tragic deaths of Kian and other innocent victims of Oplan Tokhang.

“He died because of Duterte’s war on drugs. Because of this, many Filipinos do not feel safe anymore. It is also obvious to us that all of the victims of shoot-to-kill are from the poor sector”.

How about you? If you were the parent of Kian, what would you do?



Photo Credit: Abante Tonite

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