BY: Pilar Mateo

BECAUSE of some posts he shared on his social media accounts, lots of his friends sent him, not ayuda, but food in his office to get by with his daily grind.

What does he do?

Now that he is back from the post he left as Deputy Administrator of the OWWA, DA Arnell Ignacio works in the office. Just so, he can sign the many checks that has been piling up for the hotels, services, bus transports, hostels, which were used for this time of pandemic for our overseas workers needing to be quarantined and given care.

“Hindi ko nga alam kung paano kong ginagawa ito’ng lahat. Gusto ko, eh. Nagugulat lang ako sa dami. Pero masaya ako na natatapos ko at tinatapos ko talaga ang trabaho sa mga pipirmahan kahit pa ako na ang pinaka-huli’ng lumabas dito sa opisina sa dis oras ng gabi.”

A close friend of Arnell, he dearly calls Mama Mia decided to bring him food one night. And I went with her to see how the DA is doing in his office on F.B. Harrison in Pasay.

The paperworks are lined up. Waiting for his signature. And the good DA, with his Montblanc pens and ink are so busy. Wearing plastic gloves, his right hand works just like a machine.

“But I have to check pa rin bawat folder and see kung kumpleto naman the requirements they had to submit so we can pay and give them the check sa mga naging gastos nila.”

Millions worth of checks. For all the hotels, hostels, catering, bus transports and others that have been used until the whole of August 2021 were all issued their respective checks.

By this time, they would have encashed them to once again replenish the coffers of their businesses.

“Hindi ko naman hahayaan na tumengga pa dyan sa napakahabang mesa na ‘yan ang mga singilin. Kung pwede naman na pirmahan na at matapos na eh, bakit pa paghihintayin. Kaya, sino ba ang mahihirapan kung pa-bandying ka lang at pinaghihintay mo ang pwede mong gawin.”

The OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) propagates and protects the welfare and interest of our migrant workers.

It looks like the DA Arnell is happy with the tasks assigned to him.

After the last check has been signed, he even had the strength to play with Sassy, his friend’s Pomeranian before he sat with us to finally have dinner.

We went into his office at the time darkness set in, at 6 p.m. The dinner, before we all went home happened an hour before the clock struck midnight.

Yes, at the other side of the fence, Arnell still is an actor. Who, when the opportunity knocks takes it.

“Si Boss Vic (del Rosario) ang nagsabi na I have to be part of “Mahjong Nights” of Direk Law Fajardo. Ang saya! Kaya nag-enjoy ako I did it with sina Jay Manalo, Liz Aljndogan, Sean de Guzman. Nakaka-miss din naman ang umarte.”

At least, he does not sleep in his office’s couch after a hard day’s night. He still has his one and only daughter, Sofia or Pie who waits for the Dad in their abode, no matter what the time.


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