By Jann Ryan P. Padua
Leaving the country to work in a foreign land, driven by the need to provide for the needs of the family. It is always a difficult decision. Dubbed as “modern-day heroes”, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have their own adventures and struggles to deal with head on.
Trying to apply for a job in another country is difficult. From processing documents and submitting them to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), getting accepted for an overseas job through a recruitment agency undergoing medical examinations, attending a Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS); it is always physically and mentally exhausting. But these are only preparations for the real battle.
The thought of leaving one’s family for a long time can be daunting but they know they nee to do these to be able to support the needs of their families, children’s tuition, hospital bills, daily expenses – they are determined to take the risk.
Finally, crossing borders, OFWs are confronted by language barriers, difficulty of trying to fit in a new culture and community, by vast social differences, and by homesickness—just missing loved ones back home.
In a 2016 survey, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) estimated the total number of OFWs at 2.2 million between April to September 2016; Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO), estimate approximately 10.2 million of the total population live or work abroad. This of course, boost the Philippine economy through huge amounts of remittances.
While there are drawbacks, on a larger scale, OFWs contribute to building good foreign relations; industrious work ethic, incredible amount of patience, love and empathy for employers and colleagues. OFWs brought our trait of warm hospitality to other countries and truly showcase our strengths, especially the ability to go the extra miles for their loved ones.