Filipinos make a significant contribution to the world stage as they bring their vital skills to all parts of the globe. They travel from the Philippines in search of a better life for themselves and their families – from the hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers to the countless engineers, mechanics, pilots, architects, seamen, domestic workers and carers – they perform key roles in many different countries.
Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs, as they are more commonly referred to, are considered an essential workforce in pretty much every country on the planet. Wherever you travel to in the world, you will most likely encounter at least a few, if not more of these incredible, selfless, hardworking people who give so much of themselves to others.
As Filipinos back home in the Philippines are growing up, many strive towards a particular career like nursing, not only to better themselves for domestic employment, but also to provide a comfortable life for their families. But they know in their hearts that in order to do so, they must take the plunge and seek a job abroad.
The sad part of it, is that the Philippines is being robbed of workers with valuable skills and training which could help the country. But the other side of the coin is that Filipinos can earn much more abroad than they can back home. In fact, in some areas of employment, what they can earn in one day in the Philippines can be earned in just 20 mins in some Western countries.
That’s the sad reality for some!
I hope that one day, the Philippines will manage to be more competitive on the global stage and be a hub for foreign companies to base themselves in the Philippines. This can be achieved hopefully through constitutional reform and more Foreign Direct Investment, including dropping the 60/40 rule on foreign ownership of businesses in the country. This will in turn lead to greater competition by foreign companies in the Philippines for the best workers and will also result in a much-needed rise in salaries.
I also appreciate the work that the Philippine government is doing through the ‘Build, build, build’ programme and other initiatives including recommended pay rises to help its domestic workforce to stay at home.
I do find it sad though that in the 21st century, we still often read stories of Filipinos being treated as slaves virtually, by ruthless, evil employers and workers being forced to work 18 hours a day or more for only a few hundred dollars a month pay. But even then, the unfortunate fact is that even these low paid workers still end up earning more abroad than at home.
I hope and pray that one day, just one day, it will no longer be necessary for Filipinos to go abroad for work to better their lives, but for them to stay at home. This way, less children will grow up without their parents at their sides, which in some cases leads to broken homes and relationships.
Finally, I would like to send my personal best wishes to ALL Filipino workers globally. Thank you for your service and dedication to others. In your exemplary efforts, you are helping not only your own families, but also the Philippines and her people through your commitment and hard work.
The world will be at a great loss without its Filipino workers so, let us all applaud and salute them and hope that the world will appreciate them even more.