On Wednesday, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Armando M. Tetangco confirmed that personal remittances of Filipinos abroad has reached US$2 billion in June 2012, which is up by 4.2 percent from the level posted in June last year. In terms of the share to total remittances in the first six months of the year, the leading country sources were the U.S. A., Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Kingdom, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates .
Indeed OFWs existence (or exile?) greatly contributes to the country’s economic survival.
With our ever-increasing OFW population, the Philippines is now regarded as the 4th biggest remittance-receiving country next to India, Mexico and China. Looking at this, one may conclude that more OFWs means more chances of winning, wrestling against the twin enemies of humanity: poverty and backwardness.
Let’s not romanticize on this. Since ‘globalization’ has already fashioned modern men, OFW phenomenon becomes inevitable, an inconvenient reality. For others, being an OFW today is more of an opportunity than an option.
This ‘inconvenient truth’ however elicits a culture of hope (and wisdom) to most of the Filipinos who are caught in between despair and dissatisfaction in the country.
We go abroad because the opportunity of finding a work and a good pay there is high, albeit stories of abuse and discrimination. OFWs however remain hopeful and eager that one day they could make it big in the distant land–for family’s sake in the homeland.
Meanwhile media reports say there has been an upward movement of OFW families from the lower-income groups to date.
Compared to the regular Filipino household, there are now more OFW families who are spending time together by going to the malls, supermarkets, and eating out in fast food chains at least once a month.
Also OFW families now have higher capacity to acquire or invest into real properties, savings/educational/insurance plans, entertainment media, cars, and appliances, among others. And every holiday or family-related occasion, OFWs play a big role in their respective communities and households. The once lowly citizen or family member suddenly becomes the ‘pride,’ the modern hero of the land, so to say.
Indeed much of the changes seen in our country nowadays emanate from the impact generated not by politics but by OFW phenomenon. “The streets outside the country are not painted of gold but stained by the sweat and tears of OFWs,” says one OFW blogger.
This holds true for my OFW relatives and friends like Rosca, Joniel, Bradmon, Dino, Ian, Riva, Rhodela, Duane, Randy,Ek-ek, Donna, Eduard, Sondee, Anj, Richard, Keith, Patrick, Vinny, Pongk, and many more, whose absence brings a degree of ‘comfort’ to their loved ones back home.