P-Noy , with a sigh, put it succinctly: “Nakaka-awa naman and mga kababayan natin, gustohin pa nilang mamalagi sa Libya na mapanganib kaysa umuwi sa atin, na mapayapa, pero wala naming siguridad ang kabuhayan!”;
Many of the Filipinos who were recently interviewed in Libya sternly expressed their desire to stay in Libya because they get double compensation, most of them are the breadwinners of their respective families. This is an oft repeated scenario, as it was in Iraq, Afghanistan, Middle East, and most recently Japan.
Thus, when made to choose between “MONEY OR LIFE”, the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), most often choose, to be where the money is. Being away from home is no easy life, and one has to deal with foreign cultures.
OFWs are hailed as the modern day heroes, ”BAGONG BAYANI” sacrificing them own life, for the life of the many who are depending on them for their daily sustenance and survival.
The billions of dollars in foreign remittances is the main lifeblood of our financial system, and thus, they are also saving the economy of the whole country.
With the globalization of the human struggles for democratic changes, there is always a Filipino affected, and this phenomenon had impacted on our national economy.
The high unemployment among the skilled workers, professionals and domestic/service workers in our local economy, is getting more and more complex. The temporary solution of Overseas Employment, during the Martial Law years, has become a permanent solution, as there is no concerted, genuine and well thought out plan of generating local employment especially in the rural areas.
On top of the prevailing unemployment problem, is the long standing underemployment or under compensation of workers, thus, the loss of brawn and brains to foreign employers.
Nurses in Libya earn as much as P150,000.00 a month, where can you get such compensation in our country? A truck driver who drives supplies trucks for American contractors in Iraq earn as much as P50,000.00 per trip- this amount of compensation in unheard of, under our local system.
This dilemma of choosing between “Money or Life”, has no easy answers, and yet, most people accept the reality of the lack of employment opportunities. Government has its work cut out , it has to address this dilemma and initiate programs towards employment generation.
Instead, government is focusing its efforts in the “Conditional Cash Transfer Programs”, which seeks to hand out cash to “poor families” , its budget amounting to billions. What’s wrong with this picture? It feeds on the stereotype image of Juan Tamad.
Let us revisit the old Chinese saying: “Teach a man to fish and he will never go hungry, give him fish, and he will be back for more, everyday!”