Susie Rebatis responded like it was a no-brainer when asked the advantage of working in Vietnam.
“It’s safe here,” she said.
She pointed out that guards don’t carry guns and even clubs at work, proof according to her that there are hardly any trouble-makers.
The quality control supervisor of the Oishi manufacturing plant in Bac Ninh says she has little reasons to complain.
Rebatis said her pay is good and the company provides for the needs like food and accommodation of expats like her.
“You don’t hear workers complain about conditions in the work place,” she added in Tagalog.
The second in a family of nine daughters, she considers working in Vietnam a marked improvement from her life in the province.
Another Filipino working in the company said the only thing missing for him is his family.
“I want them to come over,” said Jomar Padon who has a wife and a son in the Philippines.
Padon said he wants them to see for themselves the kind of work he has so they will better appreciate the sacrifices he has for them.
Like Rebatis, he only has kind words for the Vietnamese.
“They are pleasant and respectful,” the plant maintenance supervisor explained.
Padon said the Vietnamese are respectful to foreigners and those who work under him do not cause him trouble.
Jeremie Molina shook her head when asked if she has any complaints about the people she deals with in the company and those in the community.
“They are easy to get along with, no complaints,” she smiled with hardly a trace of hesitation.
Oishi Bac Nanh’s chief accountant and the youngest in a family of three, Molina said the transition to life in Vietnam was practically seamless.
Marc Vincent Tandoc constantly nodded in agreement with the three people who perform key positions under him.
Tandoc, 26, worked for just over a year with Oishi in the Philippines before he was offered to work as plant manager in Bac Nanh.
Also the youngest like Molina and still a bachelor, he took the opportunity to be top honcho in a plant that now employs roughly 1,297 people.
With no traffic, very little noise and hardly any breakdown in the fabled discipline of the Vietnamese, it is easy to conclude that Tandoc made the right decision.
While the future looks bright for him in a company that exports its products to at least seven countries, life in laid back Vietnam also has its own rewards.
More than a year since taking over in Bac Ninh, Tandoc appreciates the law and order that is prevalent in the Philippines.
Both Tandoc and Padon noted that construction works in Vietnam do not take long unlike those in the Philippines.
Unlike their fellow expats in other countries, these four Filipinos in Vietnam had no horror stories to tell.
Like many OFWs, they are hopeful that President Rodrigo Duterte will be able to deliver on his promise to rid the country of illegal drugs.
They also express appreciation for Duterte’s concern for OFWs and share the President’s commitment to instil law and order in their homeland.
It is obvious that Liwayway Company Holdings Limited is taking very good care of them enough to make bearable away from their loved ones.
Still, all four concede that they look forward to the day when they can go home permanently to the Philippines and no longer be away from their loved ones.
To them, the Philippines is always in the heart.
“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home,” goes the line of a song written by John Howard Payne in 1822.
Payne did not have them in mind when he wrote it then but he best describes what is in the heart for virtually every OFW in the Diaspora of our times.