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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 18, 2012
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Villar’s wife helps kin
of La Castellana OFW

BY LISA GAPAC

Cynthia Villar, former Las Piñas representative and wife of Senator Manuel Villar, went to La Carlota, Negros Occidental, yesterday to  give her  assistance and condolences to the family of an Overseas Filipino Workerwho died in Beirut, Lebanon, last month.

Mary Ann Davatos, a resident of La Castellana, was among the 26 people killed when an old six-story building in Beirut collapsed on January 15 while they were attending the God's Divine Love International Ministry Sunday mass.

Villar, who is also the managing director of Villar Foundation, said Mary Ann’s fate was really unfortunate. She found a good employer abroad, but had a tragic death, Villar noted.

“We condole with her family and extend whatever help we can,” Villar said.

Denmark Davatos, 28, said his sister had been working in as a domestic helper in Lebanon for three years. Her death is  painful for their family but they have to accept reality and move on  with their lives, he said.

“We are very thankful to the Villar Foundation for bringing back the body of my sister, and to Board Member Emilio Yulo III (Neg. Occ., 5th district) who relayed our plea to the Senator,” Davatos said.

Villar said Mary Ann was not a member of the Overseas Workers Welfare Association since her employment was not documented as she was hired through a relative.

Only the next of kin of OWWA members can receive the P200,000 death benefits and the P20,000 burial aid from the agency, but non-members do not get anything, she said.

In cases like that of Davatos, the Department of Foreign Affairs helps the victims, she added.

“We pity the family of Mary Ann since they cannot get any benefit from OWWA, but as part of our advocacy, we continuously offer various forms of assistance to distressed OFWs and their families,” Villar said.

Yulo also said their offices are always open and willing to help the needy. Families can also send their letters to the Villar Foundation in Las Piñas, he said.

Meanwhile, Mary Ann’s interment is set at the La Castellana cemetery 2 p.m. today.*LTG

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