This is in reaction to Daet Bishop Gilbert Garcera’s remark about overpopulation benefiting the country in which he gave three reasons to support the statement (“Overpopulation good for Pinoys, says bishop,” Inquirer, 12/29/12).
The first reason he gave was that as Christians, overseas Filipino workers are given the chance to take care of old people in other countries. Secondly, the economy is boosted by the huge remittances from our OFWs. And lastly, they are able to witness to their faith.
The good bishop showed how out of touch our bishops are about the dire conditions our OFWs must suffer in their desire to provide for their often huge families.
Homesickness is unbearable, especially if a spouse and very young children are left behind. Secondly, many of our OFWs, especially those working as domestic help, are maltreated by their employers. Quite a number have been raped or even killed or falsely accused of a crime they have not committed. Besides being overworked and not given adequate food, their salaries are reduced or withheld, so many come home penniless, poorer than before they left to work abroad. And worst of all, the separation takes a toll on both the OFWs and those they leave behind: strained relationships between husbands and wives, animosity between parents and children, broken homes.
Is it really commendable that you take care of total strangers in other countries while neglecting your own family? Doing charity by taking care of elderly people here or abroad is farthest from the minds of OFWs; their common primary objective is simply to earn more money that they cannot earn here at home.
As for spreading the faith, I think, again, their respective families are their first priority. If our bishops think that OFWs have the rare opportunity to be witnesses to their faith, why don’t they provide our OFWs some catechesis before the latter leave for a foreign land?
If our bishops are really for strengthening the family, working abroad as a justification for overpopulation or as an argument against the reproductive health law would be farthest from their minds.
—MARY JOAN ANGELES,