ILOILO City – A family from the island province of Guimaras was among those recognized in the 2018 Model OFW Family of the Year Awards of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
The family of Reynaldo Gaitan and Tessie Baje-Gaitan of Barangay Lawi, Jordan is a Model OFW Family under the sea-based category.
The Gaitans received the award from President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 5 at Malacañang.
Reynaldo, a former seafarer, said the award became a way toward the fulfillment of his dream to enter Malacañang.
He and Tessie have three children – (from eldest to youngest) Dubhe Lynn Gaitan-Guarnes, Deneb Gaitan and Rigel Keziah Gaitan-Sulmaca, now all degree holders.
The eldest is employed at the Department of Health Region 6 and the two others are managing their businesses.
The family has put up several businesses and enterprises that include Reynsie Refilling Station, Reynsie Aqua Farm, vegetable farm, hollow blocks factory and quarry and had investments in GOFWS MP Cooperative, Favor Enterprise, and Starbox 23 Internet Cafe.
The Gaitan family was awarded for their commitment to share their time and resources to the community.
Tessie is an active member of the International Care Ministry that has been existing for 25 years, providing help, inspiring hope and creating change for families living in extreme poverty in the Philippines.
She is also a counselor for parole and probation and was part of the planning and implementing arm for programs and services offered to persons granted with parole.
The family is likewise involved in different civil and community organizations such as Guimaras OFWs Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Barangay Developmental Council, Lawi Marine Reserve and Management Board, Barangay Drug Abuse Council, Brangay Chil Protection Council, Barangay Nutrition Council, and Parole and Probation Council, among others.
Aside from giving livelihood to their fellow Guimarasnons through their family businesses, the Gaitan couple also sponsored scholars.
Moreover, they initiated the construction of two churches in their property and extended assistance in the ongoing construction of the church in Maabay, Sibunag, Guimaras.
“Ginahimo lang namon ang masarangan namon kag wala namon gina-present sa public kundi para lang sa amon. Pero nakita sang probinsiya ang amon ginahimo,” said Reynaldo. (With a report from PIA/PN)