CHANGE-ing how we see OFWs
Since the Marcos regime, we have always considered overseas filipino workers our “ heroes," talking about their contributions to the economy as if it were a permanent source of wealth. After all, nearly a fifth of GDP on average is nothing to sneer at.
Likewise, these foreign job dollars propped us up especially during the oil crisis of the 70s.
Since then, three generations of workers have left our shores for the Almighty Dollar. Sons and grandchilsren have picked up where their forbears left off, all raising families from afar, diminishing parental attention to create a cultural reality we have all come to accept.
Unfortunately, as our own labor costs went up over the years, the variance in pay between many local and foreign jobs have narrowed, with only the prospect of free board and lodging making it worth for many.
Moreover, as the global economy becomes more volatile, the job security feeding already narrow incomes has not deadened interest in working abroad.
When Duterte declared in front of Filipinos in Japan his intent to end the OFW phenomenon, he spoke from the heart to reveal the bitter truths we have known all along—the difficulties in parenting, the exposure to illegal drugs of many of those left behind, and other evils.
This was an important statement. Bar none, we've never heard this from past presidents—they who’ve only managed to patronize them as "new heroes,” purportedly assuring them of support while actually neglecting them in the process. For once, the truth about this generational inequity is bared—and challenged at the highest level.
We look forward to the fulfilment of this bold, new promise.