Female OFWs take spotlight in Hontiveros’ resolution honoring Dolly de Leon

February 2, 2023 - 5:57 PM
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Composite photo shows Sen. Risa Hontiveros at the Senate in the GSIS Building in this photo uploaded on her Facebook page on Jan. 26, 2023 and a screengrab of Dolly de Leon as Abigail in "Triangle of Sadness" from the trailer released by NEON on YouTube on Aug. 10, 2022. (hontiverosrisa/Facebook; NEON/YouTube)

The Senate resolution seeking to honor veteran actress Dolly de Leon‘s achievements in the international scene included a tribute to countless overseas Filipino workers who the thespian represented in a Cannes-winning film.

Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday announced filing Proposed Senate Resolution 453 which congratulates Dolly for being the first Filipino to be nominated for the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) and the Golden Globe Awards.

The resolution said that Dolly’s nominations and her victories at Sweden’s Guldbagge Awards and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards “show that Filipino stories, experiences, and talent have a place in the halls of prestigious award-giving bodies.”

It also mentioned Dolly having a breakthrough in the international movie scene after 33 years of being in the local film and television industry and how she dedicated her LA Film Critics Association Award to every actor who has struggled, is still struggling and had stood up again.

The resolution additionally recognized the Filipina’s character which it said was “representative of the diaspora of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who work thankless jobs away from their home, their family, and everything safe and familiar to them.”

It also took note of how Abigail, Dolly’s character, was also surrounded by other Filipino workers below deck on the luxury cruise ship.

The Pinay actress played the trope-defying role of Abigail, an overseas Filipino worker, in the satirical film “Triangle of Sadness,” which won the Palme d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

Abigail is an initially mild-mannered toilet manager who becomes a ruthless survivalist after leading privileged cruise ship passengers stranded on a desert island.

Dolly’s performance earned her raves from international publications, with Variety calling it “scene-stealing” and that “her every line has so far prompted cheers in press and public screenings alike.”

“Her story is just one part of Östlund’s searing commentary on privilege, greed and power — but Abigail’s power play, exquisitely brought to life by de Leon’s deadpan delivery, is what audiences will remember,” the magazine said before.

Dolly has won four awards for her role and ten nominations from different award-giving bodies. These included the BAFTA and Golden Globes nominations.

RELATED: Foreign film critics disappointed over Dolly de Leon Oscar snub

Meanwhile, Risa in her resolution recognized that the “majority of our female OFWs are engaged in elementary occupations and work as cleaners, helpers, and domestic workers like Abigail.”

“OFWs like Abigail and her Filipino colleagues on the luxury yacht are essential to the Philippine economy, to the country, and the communities they serve, and as such, deserve safe and secure employment, adequate and pro-active government support, and our collective respect,” she said.

“Dolly de Leon’s Abigail reminds us of their sacrifices as they strive to improve their families’ lives in the homeland and hopefully inspire much-needed updates and changes to the government’s regulations and protections for OFWs,” Risa added.

The senator’s resolution was lauded by Filipinos who recognized the tribute to the OFWs who have been called the country’s “modern-day heroes.”

“Half of this is actually for OFWs, acknowledging the plight of women migrant workers in particular,” a Twitter user wrote with emojis of clapping hands and a sparkling heart.

‘Abigail’ as OFW 

Reports said that Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund intended for Abigail’s role to be Filipino since “there are a lot of overseas Filipino workers all over the world.”

In 2018, he sent a casting director to the Philippines to search for an actor who could effectively embody her smart and ruthless character.

Dolly then auditioned for the role and the rest was history.

“I simply put myself in her shoes, because there are so many OFWs in my country,” she said in an interview before.

“I have relatives and friends who are OFWs and I know how they live, and I know them. So I know the struggle and hardship they go through, having to live in a foreign country and speak a different language they’re not used to, and having to be away from their families and do things to earn money,” the actress said.

“I just based it on that. I asked myself, ‘What if I, Dolly, was an OFW?’ That’s how I played her. A huge part of me is in Abigail,” she added.

As of 2021, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that there are an estimated 1.83 million OFWs, with the majority of them being women who comprise 60.2% or 1.10 million of the workforce.

Among the female OFWs, the majority (64.8%) were engaged in elementary occupations.

These involve the performance of simple and routine tasks which may require the use of hand-held tools and considerable physical effort.

Such occupations include cleaning, restocking supplies and performing basic maintenance in apartments, houses, kitchens, hotels, offices and other buildings; washing of cars and windows; helping in kitchens and performing simple tasks in food preparations; delivering messages or goods and carrying luggage and handling baggage, among others.