Filipino Remittance: An Economic Boon

Eleven percent of Filipinos are not in the Philippines. They are in a foreign land where they have chosen to work or live or both. Current estimate put their number to as high as 11 million. I have a few relatives and quite a number of friends and former colleagues who have chosen this path. 

The sheer number of Filipinos working overseas is an indication that there is not enough work at home to provide opportunities for people who want to make a living. Moreover, it is also a showcase of the Filipinos’ resilience in the face of seemingly difficult problems. The lack of available jobs at home would not keep a Pinoy from finding one even if he had to go overseas to get it.

At What Cost?
But working overseas can have negative effects on their families. Lucky are those who are able to immigrate with their families intact. The physical separation can destroy the emotional bonds or deprive those working abroad from forming these bonds with their spouses and children. Spending time away is a sacrifice that too many have been willing to take in the quest for a better life.

Filipinos working abroad have proven to be vital to the economy of the Philippines. More than 10% of the Philippine economy comes from remittances sent home from abroad by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s). These remittances drive consumption in the country proving how much they are worth for the good of the economy. 

This is why the government always hails the OFW’s as heroes. Not only are they heroes of their own families, but more so they are heroes for a nation which is always striving for a better economic performance. 

Taking Care of Heroes
There are several government agencies aside from our embassies in foreign countries that are supposed to look after the well-being of Filipinos working overseas. But we still hear of grave abuses committed against many OFW’s without much help from these institutions.

If there’s one sector in our society not represented well in Congress, those are the OFW’s. There have been several party-list groups which tried to get a seat in Congress through the previous elections but have failed so far. 

OFW’s consists of a very big block of population with too important economic impact that they deserve a seat in Congress as much as any other party-list group or any District in the Philippines. The executive branch has been doing its share but it seems like not enough is being done to look after the well-being of OFW’s. It’s time they get a better representation.