Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on Wednesday afternoon facilitated the release of P630,000 worth of assistance package to the Filipino caregiver who was taken hostage and subsequently released by Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas.
Jimmy Pacheco, 33 years old, was taken by Hamas in Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel during the group’s attack on October 7 against Israel, and was released on November 24 through efforts of the Philippine government and other organizations.
“We know that this aid package cannot undo the physical and psychological scars that Jimmy Pacheco suffered while being held hostage in Gaza. We cannot begin to imagine what he has witnessed and what pain he has experienced,” Romualdez said after personally meeting Pacheco.
“But we do hope that this government assistance will send a message to Jimmy, his family, and to all Filipinos that the government is there for you and that it will do everything to show that it cares for you, especially during times of great need,” he added.
Pacheco was accompanied by his wife, Clarice Joy, and his three children: Geyanah Clein, 5 years old; Gillian Carlo, 11 years old; and Ghieann Cayll, 11 years old, as well as his mother, Felicitas.
His family received P500,000 in cash from the Office of the Speaker, which he received in person together with his family.
Additionally, Pacheco and his wife received P10,000 each from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under the program Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS).
His three children also received P5,000 each in educational assistance, also given under DSWD’s AICS program.
Also, Pacheco and his wife were also granted P95,000 in livelihood assistance: P15,000 under the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the DSWD and P40,000 each under the Department of Labor and Employment’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD).
The aid package totaled P630,000.
“We welcome you home, Jimmy. And you have our gratitude for being a modern-day hero for your family and for your country. Itinuturing nating bayani ang ating mga OFWs na nakikipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa at tinitiis na malayo sa pamilya. We recognize your contribution to nation-building,” Romualdez said.*