OFWs are heroes of PH economy
The success of a country is usually shown by its commitment to provide opportunities that allow its people to become productive members of society. For a relatively poor nation like ours with scarce and often misused resources, opportunities and good-paying jobs are severely limited. Our countrymen—waiters, welders, construction workers, teachers, drivers, accountants, doctors, etc.—are compelled to seek employment in other countries, where salaries/wages are lucrative, to the disadvantage of their loved ones left behind. Ironically, the labor and sacrifice of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have also considerably improved the lives of our countrymen, and have brought some sense of economic security and well-being to our nation.
OFWs are indeed the country’s modern heroes. Their work overseas has greatly helped reduce poverty and played a major part in turning our once-lackluster financial system into the booming one it is today. OFW remittances have steadily increased to over $25 billion a year in the past several years. Because this money is sent to families of OFWs to buy mainly goods and services, it goes directly to businesses, leading to a corresponding increase in income in related sectors of the economy (the multiplier effect).
Regrettably, however, the allure of a “better life” overseas has also caused not only a drain on our country in terms of human skills, talents and potentials, but also the separation of families—in my opinion, a huge sacrifice for which no amount of money can compensate. In many cases, separation robs families of the chance to foster healthy relationships—the foundation of a healthy nation. And while majority of OFWs are fortunate to find joy and fulfillment overseas, a few are not so lucky and become victims of physical or sexual abuse by employers, or may even end up jailed or dead in foreign prisons.
Our government must continue to act with concern and urgency to address the plight of our OFWs and the unemployed. It must continue to improve the services to OFWs needing help, and aggressively pursue measures that spur economic growth on the home front to create more opportunities for our people. Thanks to our modern heroes—their labor and sacrifice have brought pride to our nation and have helped improve our economy.
Julius D. Turgano,firstname.lastname@example.org