MANILA, May 1, 2014— At 43, Tito Aklan was among those who had to queue to speak to potential employers abroad.
Aklan left his wife and 7-year old child in Tagbilaran City for Manila early last year just to find work outside the Philippines.
“It’s all I want I am willing to do everything to achieve this,” Aklan said at the sidelines of a jobs fair in Manila on Labor Day.
Like most of those applying for job overseas, the single biggest reason why he wants to go abroad for work is the low salary offered by employers in the country.
According to him, his son is growing up and his income back home as sales agent for a motorcycle company is no longer enough to sustain the needs of his family.
Whether it’s their first choice or just forced to do so, Aklan is among the thousands of Filipinos who wants to work abroad which means detachment from family.
But Aklan, with the consent of his wife, has already decided even if it also means depriving himself of guiding his son and watching him grow.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said it’s sad that these Filipinos have to sacrifice many things in exchanges of life abroad.
“Nang dahil sa kakulangan ng trabaho, kawalan ng seguridad at mababang pasahod, milyun milyong Pilipino and napipilitang makipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa sa kabila ng pangmatagalang panganib na dulot nito sa ating pamilya at lipunan,” Tagle said.
There are an estimated 10 million OFWs working all over the world, mainly in the Middle East region and other Asian countries.
Labor groups have repeatedly condemned the labor policy of the government saying it is tantamount to treating workers as mere export commodities.
Tagle, then, called Filipino laborers to get organized and have a solid voice before airing their grievances to the Aquino administration.
“Higit kalianman, kinakailangang magkaisa ang sector ng Manggagawa upang magkaroon ng iisang tinig sa pagharap nila sa mga hamon sa larangan ng paggawa,” he added.
“Katulad ng paniniwala nating mga Pilipino, kung tayo ay magbabayanihan, magkakapit-bisig o magkakaisa, walang suliraning hindi malulutas,” stressed Tagle.
Several labor groups have repeatedly urged the government to focus on the establishment of an agro-industrial policy, which will strengthen local agriculture and industry that will provide regular work and living wages to Filipinos. (CBCPNews)