Image by Official U.S. Navy Imagery via Flickr
From the time I arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines already had produced four presidents – from former presidents Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the newly elected President Benigno Aquino III, still I am in this foreign lands strongly fighting for survival for my extended family and to my beloved country. My youth and strength are already deteriorating. I often feel some joint pains. And yet, still, I am here undecided to go home with other million Filipinos.
In our country Philippines, we find ourselves contesting against the erratic working conditions and insufficient jobs to accommodate us. Most of us wanted to raise and promote our living standards but we do not possess the necessary resources to climb up the ladder of success.
Every year our country produces thousands of graduates and the labor market could not accommodate them. So there are no options but to look jobs out of the country and it is through working overseas that they can get a solution to the problem. Thousands are leaving our homeland everyday to find their luck in foreign lands.
There are also other reasons such as:
1. For those who want to escape personal and family problems, living abroad could be a safe haven.
2. For those who want to let go of dark memories or broken love affairs, it could be an asylum.
3. Others were just induced by summons of some friends.
4. And still others were simply deluded for the sake of adventure.
Despite homesickness, which is our greatest enemy, still we Filipinos could well adjust to different races, cultures and standards of living. In addition, our love is intensified. For Filipinos who by nature love doings things for others, domestic chores like cooking, cleaning, gardening and baby-sitting are some of our several expertises.
Philippines is considered as one of the top Asian countries in terms of exporting workers. In Saudi Arabia alone, there are approximately 1.3 millions Filipino registered workers such as doctors, nurses, skilled technicians, janitors and laborers, hotel staffs, accountants, engineers, housemaids, drivers, teachers and trainers, barbers, medical technicians, computer operators, tailors and many more. They are commonly working in hospitals, establishments, construction firms, industrial companies, private and government offices, supermarkets and malls, hotels and restaurants with courage, dedications and commitments.
It has been noted that working abroad is a confederate for some of us who are fortunate enough to have good jobs and goodly employers. Through our earnings we could build a house and able to send our children to good schools. But in some cases, the fulfillment of being an OFW is overshadowed by the curse of lingering temptation and adultery, especially in the case of OFW’s who left their spouses in the Philippines.
Working abroad is not a fortune for those workers who are being fed insufficiently, overworked, abused, maltreated and working as a sword-point or those who work as shock absorbers or punching bag by heartless employers. It must be concluded that not only those who have courage, determination and resistance should go out of the country, for life overseas is so rugged that it becomes a survival of the fittest, that those who can bear shall stay, but those who can’t should leave.
But despite all these, we, Overseas Foreign Workers are patiently working hard because we want a brighter future for our extended families and children and to help improve the ailing economy of our country through the billions of dollar remittances that we send home.
I am begging for our officials and other feuding politicians in our country to see and consider our greatest sacrifices in foreign lands. It is not enough for us Overseas Foreign Workers to be called as the Modern Day Heroes. They should stop bickering and unite to help cure the country’s debilitating social diseases. They should show vision, unity, determination and motivation to give the people good governance and work hard to achieve peace and order in the country for more investors to invest business. That means more jobs for the Filipinos and better chance to eradicate corruption for good.