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‘Overstaying’ OFWs due to joblessness in PH—priest

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MANILA, Oct. 27, 2014— Poverty and the lack of opportunities at home explain why Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) opt to leave their families behind, staying overseas for as long as they have money to earn and send to their spouses and children, says a priest.

In an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, Fr. Resty Ogsimer, Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (EMI) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) executive secretary, lamented that while most of them struggle with homesickness, the uncertainty of life in the Philippines keep OFWs from taking the next flight out.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) estimates that there are around 2.2 million OFWs all over the world. (Photo: CBCP News)

“OFWs often have to choose between starving to death in the Philippines because they’re jobless here or fighting for something that has more promise elsewhere,” he explained.

“This is the common dilemma our migrant workers often find themselves in, especially those who really have no source of income here,” Ogsimer added.

Meanwhile, in a speech he delivered at the Vatican on Oct. 16, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas asserted many who have sought employment abroad have done so, feeling they do not get what they deserve in the Philippines.

“In the Filipino psyche is a romanticized notion of the West as the land of opportunity accompanied by a deprecatory assessment of the Philippine situation,” the CBCP head said.

According to him, the “unprincipled aggressive recruitment policies of Western corporations and business establishments, eager for cheap labor lure Filipinos with dreams of quick, though unrealistic, prosperity.”

“Talk to any OFW and you will be impressed at the grasp he or she has of terms relating to placement fees, payment schemes, salaries, benefits, wages, privileges…all these, obviously the result of sweetened deals packaged so as to attract cheap Filipino labor to country’s where a successful birth-control program has a very thin younger sector to take care of an increasingly aging population!” Villegas added.

The head of the CBCP said the increase of Filipino nurses is an example of a trend gone wrong. (Raymond A, Sebastián)


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