Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday paid tribute to one of the Department of Labor and Employment’s veteran labor attaches who had served with distinction and honor in protecting and promoting the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“On behalf of the DOLE family, I offer our sincerest prayers–and our deepest individual and collective condolences to the family and relatives–for our late colleague in government service, Labor Attache Alicia Dawa Santos, who had dedicated 33 years of her accomplished career as a dedicated DOLE official and an accomplished labor attache,” said Baldoz.
Labor Attache Santos died of heart attack in a hospital on 30 January 2014. She was 64. She is survived by her spouse, retired Bureau of Customs Collector Benjamin Santos and their three children, Anthony, Arnold Bryant, and Andrea, and their grandchildren.
The late labor attache began her career at the DOLE as an Administrative Officer of the then National Manpower and Youth Council (NMYC), now the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), in 1977, rising to become agency’s Manpower Development Chief in 1988.
From thereon, she was promoted as Director IV of its National Capital Region (NCR) Office 1989. She served in the same capacity in Regions II and III during which she contributed significantly to the attainment of the agency’s mandate to develop the country’s human resources.
In March 1996, she joined the DOLE’s labor attaché corps and served her first assignment in Seoul, South Korea. She was subsequently posted to Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in Lebanon, concurrently as labor attache for Syria, and in Rome, Italy. She was in Lebanon when the second Gulf War between the US and Iraq erupted, and she played a major role in protecting OFWs apprehensive of the military conflict in that region.
In 1998, she was recognized as an Outstanding Career Executive Service Officer (CESO), one of many honors and distinctions she received.
In the last three years, Labor Attache Santos served as Philippine Labor Attache to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where, even while ailing, she devoted efforts to strengthen bilateral relations in the interest of the welfare of Filipino household service workers. Before taking up her duty in Malaysia, she helped in the establishment of the DOLE’s National Reintegration Center for OFWs in her capacity as program manager.
For her exceptional service, Santos was conferred the Gawad Mabini Award, rank of Dakilang Kasugo, during the commemoration of the 149th birthday of Apolinario Mabini marking the 115th Foundation Day of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The Senate of the Philippines has also commended Labor Attache Santos for the achievement, citing her, in Senate Resolution No. 176 introduced by Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, for her efforts of unifying the Filipino community in Malaysia “under one umbrella organization called the Federation of Filipino Associations in Malaysia which is accredited by the Malaysian Registry of Societies.