The “heroes” of today
November 24, 2009
-video about OFWs.
Did you know that there are about 88.57 billion Filipinos in the world recorded in 2007 and 11% of that is equivalent to Overseas Filipino Workers? According to the National Statistics Office in the Philippines, there are about 8 million Filipino workers around the world and about 2 million are here in the United States.
When I started rummaging in my head what topic I would like use for this paper, there was no doubt I wanted to do something I can easily relate to. I consider myself an OFW. If you’re asking why, the answer is plain and simple: I am 19 years of age, full time student, full time employee working hard to help out not only immediate family back home in the Philippines but also kinship ties as well. The statistics didn’t shock me. Everywhere I go, I see a Filipino working hard and the only image that I can see is a family in the Philippines missing one or more members who was probably the Filipino I just seen working. I have very mixed emotions about the idea of a family member feeling the need to leave home in order to provide for the remainder. In addition, is OFW just a better term for slaves nowadays?
I grew up with both OFW parents. My mom was in Singapore and my Dad was in Saudi Arabia. Although I was too young to fully understand the reasons as to why they had to leave me behind then, now, I not just understand but I appreciate them even more for their decisions. My parents were very young when they had me and having a baby didn’t stop them from following their dreams it just added one more reason to fulfill that dream. I admire the courage both my parents had when they decided to pursue something bigger, something they cannot achieve at home and most importantly, creating a better future for their daughter even if it sacrificed the relationship between parent and child.
The reason as to why I have mixed feelings about the whole OFW thing is that is our country really that poor that we need to break families, separate loved ones and feel all alone in a completely unfamiliar territory? Were OFWs made just to boost an economy that didn’t have enough capability to provide a stable and reliable job for every one? OFWs, or like what some people call the “heroes” of today. About 15.9 billion US dollars were remitted to the Philippines according to Philippine Overseas Employment Agency. I guess were called heroes because of that one reason alone. While everyone back home thinks that we live life so easy, life abroad as Filipino workers is not all fun and games. Some go through hell and back dealing with immigration issues, then finding a job that suits their abilities and that hopefully it doesn’t degrade anybody especially self. Others also go through unfortunate and terrible experiences like rape, murder, theft, kidnapping, physical abuse and many more just to feed the rest of the family at home and as what? Some jobs OFWs take are caregivers, maids, busboys, waiters, servers, dancers to name a few non professional jobs most Filipinos are willing to work for regardless of how far they have achieves in terms of education. While some get lucky to get good paying jobs in the hospitals, hotels, companies, government agencies we can still be thankful and even hopeful that at least a lot of us would like to aim higher and break the glass ceiling that Filipino workers would never be the boss of anything.
Like I said, I have mixed emotions. If everyone were as lucky as my parents who found jobs that were in the line of their careers then maybe all I would be feeling is positive. If some people wouldn’t only see Filipinos as the laborers or any other degrading stature but also as smart, hard working, determined, brave, loyal, honest and kind people then I would really be feeling thankful, grateful and even more proud not only for myself but also for every other Filipino out there working hard for families back in the homeland. But until then, ill just keep hoping we Filipinos and Filipino-Americans can all achieve so much higher than the rest of the world expects us to be.