This concept paper is about Overseas Filipino Workers. The author aims to discuss the advantages, disadvantages and other important information on working abroad. The main focus of this paper is to determine the reason/s Filipinos decide to work abroad and how the Philippine government supports and helps them.
The author chose this topic to learn more about the subject and to be aware of the different problems experienced by Overseas Filipino Workers. She gives importance to this topic because she has several relatives abroad. Researching on this topic will help the author gain knowledge about Filipino workers and understand why her relatives prefer to work abroad. This subject is relevant to the author because she plans to study abroad in the future and she wants to be informed of the benefits she can gain from going abroad.
Due to the lack of jobs in the Philippines, the reader can see and compare the advantages and disadvantages of being an OFW. Filipinos should also be aware of what their fellow Filipinos are experiencing abroad. The contents this paper will give the readers knowledge on the topic that can help them fully understand the issue.
1.Why do they choose to work abroad rather than in the Philippines? 2.What are some advantages and disadvantages in being an OFW? 3.How do they adapt to the different environment they are exposed to? 4.What are the factors they need to adjust to in the new environment? 5.How does the government help the Filipinos abroad?
An OFW, which stands for “Overseas Filipino Worker”, is a person of Philippine origin who lives outside the Philippines. Based on a SWS survey, one out of six or seven families in the Philippines is an OFW family, or has a member of the family working abroad. A significant number of our population, or around 14 percent, work abroad, which makes it a relevant topic. The author believes that OFWs are a significant topic to research on and understand further because it concerns fellow citizens. In this chapter, the author will focus on answering the guide questions she has constructed to assist her in her research. These inquiries include the reasons why Filipinos work abroad, how they can adapt to the different environments they are exposed to, the various benefits and difficulties of being an OFW and how the Philippine government assists the Filipino workers.
Some of the top reasons for Filipinos desire or need to work abroad are the unstable economy in the Philippines, the lack of jobs available for Filipinos and the lower salary paid by Philippine companies. The Filipinos find it difficult to ensure a good future for their family because of difficulty in finding jobs that will ensure financial stability. They believe that working abroad will give them a more comfortable life. One of the persisting problems in the Philippines is its high unemployment rate. It is hard for the Filipinos to find jobs that will give them salaries equal to their skills and capabilities, i.e., engineers, nurses, doctors, etc. causing them to look for work in other countries. Filipino employers and local companies give lower salary, even for professions that are in demand in other countries.
The presence of many Filipino communities in different parts of the world, help OFWs cope with their situation. They are able to earn a higher salary, and at the same time, help ease the feeling of homesickness. Being around fellow Filipinos makes them feel at home. Numerous Filipinos are now working abroad, and being an OFW will not leave one so isolated and outcast, unlike before. Also, because of the advanced technology nowadays, Filipinos are able to easily communicate with their family and friends in the Philippines. With the use of a computer and Internet connection, a person can easily message or contact their relatives and other companions in the Philippines. The simple and convenient way of reaching loved ones at home makes it an easier and better experience for the OFWs.
Even if being an OFW has its benefits and advantages, it also has disadvantages and challenges. One difficulty in being an OFW is the new and unfamiliar culture they are exposed to in the country where they will earn their living. When one grows up in a certain country and gets used to the way of life and traditions in that place, it is hard to familiarize oneself with a new setting and lifestyle. Each country, city or town has its own customs and habits, so the OFW may have a hard time adjusting to the different environment he/she experiences. Another challenge is the country’s food and delicacies. The food may be uncommon or unknown to the Filipino and it might take a long time for the person to be comfortable with its taste. The climate is also another challenging situation. If the country is much colder or hotter than the weather in the Philippines, the person may have a difficult time to become accustomed to the temperature and he/she may feel uncomfortable.
Being far away from one’s family can cause many problems and hard situations between that person and his/her loved ones. For an OFW who is a parent, his/her relationship with his/her child may become distant. They can lose their closeness with each other. Since they only communicate through the Internet which lack the warmth of a physical presence, it may be awkward and uncomfortable when the OFW comes home. For married couples and people in a relationship, they may lose their affection for each other, given the extended time they are away from each other. Physical gestures and actions help the relationship, while long separation may harm the relationship.
One more challenge in being an OFW is having harsh and unkind employers. Not all Filipinos are able to find jobs with friendly and benevolent bosses. There are reports on television about Filipinos who suffer physical and emotional abuse from their employers, sometimes going home with scars and injuries. These people can easily become traumatized by their experiences. They can never be sure if the people they will work for are kind and understanding. Sometimes, the employers maltreat the Filipinos but the Filipinos aren’t strong enough or have the capability to fight back.
However, it is good to note that the Philippine government is also giving help and guiding the Filipino workers. The government officials have created and implemented laws to protect our OFWs. Some examples are Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 and Executive Order No. 797-Law Creating POEA. The former is for better protection and welfare for the OFWs and their families, while the latter is to make the overseas work program more efficient and effective by employing faster working methods. These laws prove that the government is making an effort to aid the OFWs. The author also found out that the remittances of the overseas Filipino workers are important to the Philippines’ economy and that it is a valuable source of ventures and investments in our country.
Based on the author’s findings and research, she concludes that being an OFW is brought about by the need to provide for the family given the limited opportunities available in the country. It has benefits and advantages, making the challenges and difficulties worth experiencing. What one can gain from being an OFW certainly outweighs its risks and complications. When one is an OFW, he/she helps his/her family, and at the same time, his/her country. At present, the Philippine government is providing support for the OFWs that greatly benefits. The author believes that being an OFW can make a great difference in his way of life, a lifestyle that may be hard and challenging, but it can give one a better and more secure future.
1.Arvin. “Life Being an OFW” 17 January 2013
2.Ordinario, Cai U. “Philippine economy can’t do without OFW remittances – Neda” 17 January 2013 3.Mangahas, Mahar. “ Measuring the OFW advantage”. 14 January 2013 4.“Philippine Laws on Working/Living Abroad”. 14 January 2013 5.Pinoy OFW. “8 Reasons Why Many Filipinos Want to Work Abroad”. 14 January 2013 6.20 November 2012