MANILA – Former overseas Filipino worker Angelo dela Cruz is now content living in the Philippines with his family.
"Talagang masarap kapag kasama mo pamilya mo," he told ABS-CBN's Balitang Global.
Almost 10 years have passed since Dela Cruz endured a harrowing experience of being kidnapped by the Iraqi Islamic army while working in Baghdad, Iraq.
His subsequent release was a result of more than two weeks of grueling negotiations.
His kidnappers demanded the pullout of Philippine troops in Baghdad in exchange for the OFW's release. The government, then under former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, yielded to the demand.
Dela Cruz is now living in Mexico, Pampanga with his family. Like before, the 57-year-old is still trying to make ends meet. He drives a van for business.
"Kaya mo lang maisip mag-abroad kapag di ka makahawak ng pera. Gusto mo mag-abroad ka na naman. Ganyan ang style ng mga Pilipino. Kung saan ka kumikita, doon ka. Ngayon kapag kumikita ka, umuwi ka. Kapag may pera ka parang ayaw mo nang bumalik. Pero kapag wala kang pera magkakaroon ka ng problema, mas maganda pa yata sa abroad," he said.
Prior to his stint in Iraq, Dela Cruz worked in Saudi Arabia for 15 years. He also was able to work in California, when his uncle brought him there after he came home from Baghdad.
But he did not stay for long in the US.
"Hindi ko nakaya yung nag abroad ako. Lalabas ako ng kumpanya, babalik ako kung kailan natapos yung trabaho ko. Hindi kaparehas doon na lagi na lang akong nasa loob na para akong naiinip kaya kako aalis na ako. Ayoko na dito, di ko na kaya," he said.
He added, "Saka sa America, pag wala kang trabaho kawawa ka lang".
Dela Cruz said he has no ill feelings toward the government. He said it was the government, through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, who provided him assistance when he needed it.
He said the P200,000 assistance that he received from OWWA was used to buy a passenger jeepney.
"Una, natulungan nila akong makauwi ng Pilipinas ng buhay. Pangalawa, nag loan ako sa OWWA, tinulungan nila ako para makapag-loan ng pwede kong ipambili ng sasakyan," he said.
He said there is nothing wrong with becoming an OFW for as long as those left behind knows how to value the money one sends back home.