‘Communities, schools should provide family atmosphere to OFWs’ children’

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PASIG City, August 26, 2012—With an estimated six million children of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) living far from their parents, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle believes that organizations, schools and parishes should be a support and a ‘family’ to them.

“I think it is the responsibility of organizations, schools, even the ‘barkadas’, the BECs to provide some family atmosphere, a home where these persons can be built up, so they will not feel that they are homeless,” Tagle explained to some 300 participants at the Family Congress 2012 yesterday.

The Archbishop of Manila pointed out how poverty has caused a lot of displacement and separation among families of Filipino overseas workers, something that has a profound impact on child-rearing, values and parenting.

According to a One Philippines article, which cited an Asia Policy Center (APPC) study on the effects of migration on children, children who receive less care are more prone to engage in pre-marital sex, take drugs and be victims of physical or sexual abuse.

Giving the keynote address on “Building the Filipino Family”, Tagle expressed concern over particular challenges OFWs’ kids will face as future parents, considering they grew up with one or both parents physically absent.

He said that while it is also good to focus on the nuclear family, there is a need to “stretch our imagination” to reach out to OFWs’ families left in the country, which are often extended families of uncles, aunts or grandparents as guardians.

Interspersed with short anecdotes, Tagle showed that the Filipino family is evolving and communities and the Church should respond to it.

He explained, “[Today, the] family is lolo, tia, mga anak. Minsan pa nga, bata, tv.”

Tagle also praised the continuing work organizations and groups have with children of OFWs, saying, “The organizations are keeping the family fabric alive.”

Miriam College, College of the Holy Spirit, STC Family Council, individual bloggers, the Balay Pag Inupdinay Foundation, as well as the Diocese of Cubao attended the Family Congress 2012 organized by the Love Institute. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]


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