Overseas Filipino Workers – Recognised Heroes of the Philippines
For many of you who have travelled through customs in Manilla, Clark or Cebu you may have spotted a separate line for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), which allows a quick and easy passage through immigration.
Introducing the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)
No matter where we travel in the world you seem to always come across Filipinos working in hospitality, entertainment, on cruise chips, in hotels, tending children, in aged care and hospitals etc.
You probably do not know that these tremendously hard working, reliable and open people provide an important backbone to the Philippine economy and are treated as heroes at home.
Why are they considered heroes?
OFWs go through many hardships – physical, emotional, mental and social in order to provide income so that their extended families can lead better lives, be able to afford healthcare and to help better educate the next generation of family members.
Typically, 20% to 50% of monies earned are sent home to take care of the wider family group, often helping two to three generations at once.
It is this devotion to family, as well as the huge benefit to the national economy that see the OFWs revered in the Philippines as national heroes.
Public appreciation, large billboards and separate immigration lines at airports recognise their efforts and they are treated as true heroes of the Philippines.
How much do OFWs contribute to the economy?
Upwards of 10% of the Philippine’s GDP of US$305 billion is remitted back to the Philippines by over 2.3 million OFWs annually. Such is the importance, a monthly economic statistic of OFW remittances is reported in the press.
Sent overseas to work by their often impoverished families, they earn vital income for the nation. These funds help provide the basics of food, electricity, education, health and retirement income to several generations of family members. This is especially important in the poorer cities and rural regions of the country where job opportunities and incomes are quite low.
How long do they stay away?
Typically, and OFW may sign an employment contract with an overseas employer for a two-year stint, earning a one-month holiday and return airfare every two years to visit their families and loved ones. Any children tend to be left in the care of parents and other relatives.
These OFW arrangements can go on for many years as they work abroad and set up family members for a better life. Many relatives often band together to educate and pay for the migration work visas for the OFW and are repaid over time for their sacrifices with financial assistance when required.
So next time you are served by a Filipino at a bar, restaurant, hotel, hospital etc, they are most likely one of the OFW heroes of the Philippines providing valuable income for the developing nation of over 104 million proud and hard-working people.
Feel free to thank them as such.
If you’d like to keep regularly updated on all matters South East Asia, please visit our facebook page ‘Retire to Asia Community Group’ and join us.
Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.