Overseas Filipino Workers: The Unsung Heroes of the Philippine Economy

During times of war and revolt, heroes are those who wield guns and shed their blood in the name of their country and fellow countrymen. But at times of peace, heroes are those who risked going for abroad in exchange for their known ways and comfort, all in order to provide better living for their family—yet, ironically, not many people know them by it apart from those whom they provide for directly at home.

This is perhaps the reality that which many Overseas Filipino Workers are faced with since the country begun to be among the top source of manpower across the globe. Though their contributions to the country are known, often regarded as a critical component of the country’s local economy, these brave individuals are often only seen by their people as a milking cow who remit needed money from abroad.

Although there is truth that these OFWs’ families are the primary benefactor of the fruit of their hard work from a foreign land, the money accrued by each family does not just end within the household. Often, such revenues are put to use based on wants and needs, consequently boosting the financial flow in the economy. Otherwise, they are put in banks as investments whose returns varies significantly to the level of risk or as savings where they are expected to grow albeit minimally.

ofws unsung heroes of philippine economy
Overseas Filipino Workers ( OFWs ) gather at the HSBC building in Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of The Japan Times

As no Overseas Filipino Worker would risk the life he had known all his life for minimal returns when choosing to work in a foreign country, the assumption that Filipinos who chose to work abroad having more money than their fellow countrymen who hold the exact same job may be true and is the primary push why Pinoys grab the opportunity to go abroad.

In fact, we have known this truth for so long that many of the country’s workforce, most often than not, had their goals of reaching another country—ideally a developed nation—for better profit and overall better opportunity.

With money remittances from our kababayans abroad consisting at least a tenth of the country’s overall Gross Domestic Product, it is not just made incomplete without it in the picture, money transfers also affect the economy in ways apart from just GDP.

By substantially accruing to the country’s earnings in foreign exchange, the country’s balance of payment position is getting strengthened which consequently pads surpluses on existing accounts.

Yet, probably the most important benefits of Overseas Filipino Workers still boil down to the enhancement of living of their families resulting from relative increase of disposable income and the increased quality of choices each household could make pertaining to their children’s future.

With better income, each family is no longer severely restricted to few choices that often lead to minimal returns like poor lifestyle or education, etc. to which they could get accustomed with and pass on to the next generation.

The average Filipino overseas worker is an unsung hero to his country because he carries a prestigious title only he and the people of his circle could see but his government cannot openly honor.

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