Before I become another “Malu Fernandez”, let me explain.
Most of the members of my clan are OFWs in Austria and the US. My sister works in Austria. I’m not against OFWs. I’m against the way the government markets “working abroad”, leave their families for dollars, which the government needs to show that the “economy is growing”.
Here’s my point: If the OFWs are the “bagong bayani” (new heroes), what do you call:
- the nurse who decides to work in baranggays and serve the poor instead of the Americans?
- the construction worker who helps (literally) build OUR nation for minimum salary?
- the factory worker who helps increase our export production?
- the 8-hours-a-day professional determined to stay in the Philippines and be the nations backbone, thus preventing “brain drain”
- the small entrepreneur, who in the midst of financial difficulties, decides to stay even if they can go somewhere else abroad, and help create jobs.
How would you call them? Aren’t they heroes, too?
There’s something wicked in the way the government “exalt” the OFWs. The OFWs become the “easy money” type of thing. Because of the OFW phenomenon, what the government does is to encourage more people to go abroad instead of focusing on developing our own industries, creating jobs — real ones, not just in papers, and making programs that will improve the lives of our workforce.
The OFWs are NOT the new heroes. They ARE heroes the way other workers back home are heroes for the sacrifice they — we — give for the sake of our families and the country.
Now, start throwing the stones.