After assisting a destitute and sick Philippine-Taiwanese man who was homeless for a decade, a benevolent Taiwanese family recently helped the man return home to the Philippines for a family reunion.
The family, surnamed Huang (黃), from Greater Taichung, looked after the 56-year-old man, surnamed Shih (施), for more than a decade.
Shih, a Republic of China (ROC) passport holder, arrived in Taiwan from the Philippines in 1998 to work.
Despite holding an ROC passport, Shih did not have a national identification card or a registered permanent residence. After his passport went missing, Shih overstayed his original visa.
He was later hospitalized following a heart attack, adding further misfortune to his predicament.
After his discharge from hospital, Shih met Huang’s mother through an acquaintance and she rented him a place to stay.
However, Shih’s precarious physical health meant he could not work full-time. Instead he could only do odd jobs to make ends meet. Given his reduced circumstances, Huang’s mother waived the rent on his room.
Then misfortune struck again: Shih was diagnosed with occlusion of the cerebral arteries, or a stroke, triggered by overwork. For the next few years he was bedridden.
Although Huang’s mother passed away while Shih was recovering, Huang continued to help Shih, who only recently regained his ability to walk after undergoing a rigorous rehabilitation program.
About a month ago, Huang contacted the National Immigration Agency’s First Specialized Operations Brigade in Greater Taichung, and asked the agency to help Shih reunite with his family in the Philippines.
Huang made the request after learning of Shih’s yearning for his family back home, having lived apart for so many years and losing contact with them.
Shih had long wanted to return home to visit, but his lack of money and his visa status prevented him from doing so.
Taichung City First Specialized Operations Brigade head Hsu Ching-ju (徐靜儒) said that although Shih’s poor health had greatly decreased his employment opportunities, Huang and his mother had helped him going through the darkest moments of his life.
After a month-long effort, Hsu said the agency had managed to make contact with Shih’s family in the Philippines, adding that Shih left Taiwan on March 14, with Huang contributing to the cost of his ticket
“Prior to his departure, Shih burst into tears while giving Huang a hug, expressing his sincere gratitude to those who had helped him so much in Taiwan,” Hsu said.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, staff writer