The theme for the 15th National Migrants Day, “Migranteng Pinoy: Tagumpay sa Hamon ng Panahon, Kaagapay sa Pagsulong (Filipino Migrants: Success over the Challenge of Time, Partner in Progress)” highlights the resolve of the OFWs not only to make their and their families’ life more productive, but also to make worthwhile contributions in development, including raising money for medical equipment to funding capacity-building and microfinance for farmers.
The number of OFWs is not just rising in numbers but also in impact on the economy of the country. OFWs leave their homes in search of better-paying jobs abroad and contribute in keeping the economy afloat through their remittances to their families.
But working abroad and away from one’s family is a sacrifice. Behind the rosy picture of Filipino families living in financial stability with one or two members holding good-paying jobs abroad, leaving home exposes the OFW to bouts of loneliness, discrimination, and in the course of their employment, they are subjected to contract violations, abuse, and exploitation.
Despite the negative aspects of being an OFW, thousands of Filipinos leave for employment abroad each day. Truly they are our modern-day heroes who have helped our country achieve economic progress in the face of international fiscal turmoil.
Philippine expertise in labor working abroad is the country’s niche in the globalized world and should be given full support as part of the country’s national development agenda.