Every year, from 2003, OFW remittances grow yearly an average of 14% (with the highest growth in 2005 with 25%) according to Banko Sentral's remittance report with 80% of last years remittances from land based OFW while the rest from seafarers. As per the census' report for 2010 released this July, the number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2010 was estimated at 2.0 million with almost one-third being laborers and unskilled workers (32.0%). Those who worked as service workers and shop and market sales workers made up 15.1 percent. The trade and related workers (14.9%) and plant and machine operators and assemblers (14.3%) registered similar proportions.
Why do most Filipinos believe that the grass is greener on another country? There are many factors why Filipinos opt to work abroad, but I believe that the main reason is the lack of appropriate work and low salary.
Almost a third of my cousins in my mother's side are working abroad. A few in America and most in Middle East and Asia. Our reunion attendees decrease while most of relatives go to work abroad. If given a choice, would you chose to work abroad?
Never in my travel in Asia did I miss to meet a Filipino. As you get to hear their story, you will see that some are happy with the achievements they have made, being able to help with their families left in the Philippines, being able to give their children good education. But for every choice, there is an opportunity cost, a sacrifice that is made by choosing one thing over the other.
Approximately 78% of OFWs work in Asia. If it because the size of the continent or because the proximity of the countries to the Philippines? If I was to choose which country I would go to to work abroad, my best choice is Singapore. The reason is due to the distance of the place to the Philippines and the cheap cost of going home.
When you convert most of the salaries our present day heroes, it is really not that big especially for unskilled workers who comprises the 35% of our OFWs. But they still decide to work abroad mainly because they have no choice. Just to earn and save money, you will see Filipinos do part time jobs aside from their main jobs, you will see 10 people compressing themselves in a house that is only good for 5.
Not everyone gets to be lucky and not every gets what they want. Just remember that when making these decisions, make sure not to only think twice, 3,4,5 or more times, is it really worth it? Is it worth losing the chance to see your child grow? Is it worth it to not be there when a loved one is sick or passes away? Is it worth it to possibly lose your partner to another person due to the long distance relationship? Is it worth it to sacrifice what you have to sacrifice?
If you have a loved one that is working abroad, remember the sacrifices they made in order for you to live a good life, so don't waste that.
Those in government, remember the sacrifices the OFWs made in order for them to be able to support their family, remember the help that their incomes brings in to our economy. And remember that if it is not for the lack of work and support of the government, these people could have a choice to stay with their family.