The Philippines is a country rich in natural resources. For many years, it has the staple export to other countries in order to boost our trade and economy. Yet, in the last decade, the Southeast Asian nation has become very famous for another resource they export: manpower. To date, 2.2 million Filipinos are working board as cooks, chefs, teachers, nurses, and even household help in order to provide for their families back home. They are known as Overseas Filipino Workers (or OFWs).
Despite the stories of physical and emotional abuse they experience at the hands of their employers, they maintain their strength of character in order to selflessly provide for their families. The money they earn is sent back to their families back home, known as remittances. These have greatly aided the Philippine economy, which is why OFWs are considered heroes.
Yes, the opportunity to earn more money abroad is there if you think about becoming an OFW. Not only that, you’ll feel the pride of being called a hero for being selfless for your family and helping the nation stay safe from economic disaster. But before you think about working overseas, there many factors to consider. Here are some:
“Do I really need the money?”
Many Filipinos turn to working abroad for better opportunities in providing for themselves and their families. This happens because, sometimes, the wages their jobs pay in their own country isn’t enough to support even their own expenses.
But is that the case with your family right now? You might think you’re not earning enough, but in reality, all you need to learn is how to budget your expenses and live within your means. Does your family really need the money? Maybe some siblings who are able to work need to pull their own weight for a change. Because yes, the money is good if you work abroad, but along with that so-called financial prosperity are other things to consider such as…
Physical and/or Emotional Abuse
There are many horrible stories of Filipinos/Filipinas who are terribly abused by their foreign employers. GMA News reported August of last year about a Filipina whose Kuwaiti employer would smash her head on the wall and pour boiling water on her hands. Bringing the issue to court, the unknown Filipina won the case, and her employer was ordered to pay P2 million in damages. According to the same story, 60 Filipinos were sent back home after suffering from grievous abuse from their Kuwaiti employers.
Two million pesos is a lot of money, but is it worth the pain and suffering this unnamed Filipina suffered? Is it worth you going through all that trouble just to provide for your family? You decide.
The 90s was the decade when both husband and wife would go to work and then return home to take care of their family. In the place of quality time, parents would bring home pasalubong (gifts) as a way of making up for lost bonding.
Working as an OFW is exactly the same thing, only on a much grander scale. Instead, the hours become months or years, and the pasalubongs are no longer food-related but items like clothes, toys, appliances, etc.
In all honesty, would you trade quality family time for more money and things? Generally speaking, it’s better for you to be earning little and spending time with your family than make millions and be physically absent in your spouse’s and children’s lives.
Let’s face it, unless there’s a solid community of fellow Pinoys in the same area, an OFW is basically “alone” in a foreign country. With their work abroad ranging from mere months to years, an OFW has to face their everyday struggles by themselves. Most of them get homesick, missing their families and homes. In another GMA News article, it is noted that OFWs suffer from physical, mental, and emotional stress that come with working in another country, leading to a chronic sadness.