Why OFWs find it hard to return

05:01 AM October 30, 2018

I left the Philippines in 2001 with my wife and then 3-year-old son. We came to Dubai not out of economic necessity, but for a sense of adventure and as an escape from the Manila traffic, floods and pollution.

Through the years, the adventure we thought of eventually became a mission, as we got involved with an international Catholic lay ecclesial movement and with the Filipino community.


Last year, I tried to reach out to two companies I worked with before coming here, as well as other companies in industries that are familiar territories, such as healthcare and logistics.

My current job in Dubai is managing the corporate reputation of an oil and gas logistics service provider.


Last September, I found an opening for corporate communications manager for the “fastest-growing oil company” in the Philippines. I was interviewed via video chat and face-to-face.

Unfortunately, I have not received a reply.

These were my realizations with this publicly listed independent oil company:

1. Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), specifically those in the Middle East, are stuck where they are because of the wide gap in salary, considering that the US dollar is above P50. The highest salary you can get is half of what you are earning overseas, but doing the same deliverables. It is also tax-free in the Middle East.

2. OFWs in the professional sector who would like to return to the Philippines are at a disadvantage, because they have been away for a long time and might be perceived as “outdated” with the Philippine setting.

It’s about time to give back to the motherland. I need to break the sad reality of OFWs being stuck where they are because of the salary gap. I am willing and ready to accept a big cut in my package, as long as all my obligations as a father and husband are met.

ART POPOY LOS BANOS, [email protected]


Subscribe to Inquirer Opinion Newsletter
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Art Popoy Los Baños, Inquirer letters, ofws
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.