PH community in Malaysia mourns loss of OFW defender
MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos in Malaysia mourn the loss of Embassy Labor Attaché and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) defender, Dr. Alicia Santos.
Santos was well-loved by the Filipino community in Malaysia. She organized events for OFWs and led the development of the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRD) in Kuala Lumpur.
The FWRC serves as a refuge for distressed Filipinos in Malaysia, as well as a center for education, skills training, and financial literacy.
Prior to her retirement on January 14, 2014, Santos served in the government for over 35 years.
Before she became a Labor Attaché, she also served as a Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional director.
But her humble beginning in public service was as an Administrative Officer in the National Manpower and Youth Council, which is now the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
As a Labor Attaché, she also served in Philippine Embassies in South Korea, Lebanon, Syria, and Italy.
In 2013, she was honored with the Gawad Mabini Presidential Award – the highest award given to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and service attachés – for her compassion and outstanding work in unifying the Filipino community in Malaysia.
Santos successfully unified 35 Filipino community organizations in Malaysia into one umbrella organization, the Federation of Filipino Associations in Malaysia (FFAM). FFAM was also accredited by the Malaysian Registry of Societies.
Till the end
Stationed in Malaysia since 2011, she fought for the rights of OFWs.
Santos passed away due to a heart attack on January 30, just 16 days after her retirement.
“On behalf of the officers and staff of the Embassy, we join the DOLE, her family and friends and the Filipino community here in Malaysia in mourning the passing of an exemplary public servant. She has worked tirelessly for the promotion of the rights and welfare of the Filipinos in Malaysia, which she considered to be her mission when she came here. I am proud to say that she has fulfilled that mission,” Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya said in a statement issued on Sunday, Feb 2.
Public servants like Santos are hard to come by.
She will be remembered not only for her hard work, but also for her dedication to helping OFWs. – Rappler.com