Here’s a toast to all of you brave Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), one of the country’s unrecognized heroes. For many years you have worked hard in order to see your children finally walk the stage to receive their diplomas. You’ve done your time, you’ve handled difficult situations; now, you’re going to see the fruit of every hard work and sacrifice done in the name of giving your children the life they deserve.
I know your worth.
I, myself, am a product of one man’s earnest determination to provide good education for his children. For decades, my dad aimed hard to achieve familiarity in a place that’s entirely different from what he was accustomed to before. The weather was different, the language was different, the people and culture were different. But he knew the call of domestic duties and obligations rested mainly on his shoulders, and courage was what he had best to overcome every challenge that faced him working in a distant place, away from the comfort of life back home. He worked hard. This is what the family needed, it is what we will get.
This is why I admire your courage and love for your family.
I recognize that this is also a bittersweet moment for some of you. Many of you have already accepted that due to circumstances beyond your control, you will not be able to return home to attend this year’s graduation rites. Photos and videos shared through social media are your comfort for now, but despite this, you still celebrate in the success and pride that this event is bringing to your family. This is your own event. You have completed it. My dad may not have made it on my graduation day due to differences in schedule, but my photo hangs proudly in his house abroad. He shows it to everyone willing to listen to its back story. That is the kind of pride I know you have for your children now. That is the kind of pride that is pushing me now as a contributing member of the Philippine workforce.
This is why I have a deep admiration of OFWs. It is not easy being away from your comfort zone; it never gets easier even after so many years.
The whole nation is proud and happy not only in sharing in the excitement of your children’s graduation day, but also in recognizing your earnest efforts in making this happen. You made this happen. This, despite a number of things that continue to test your adaptability as an OFW and your resolution as devoted parents to provide the best for your family:
High placement fees that take years to fully pay off
Apart from guts, becoming an OFW also takes on other material resources in your life. More often than not, there are high levels of placement fees to be paid before you get to start working, and it can take years to completely pay it off. It puts a dent in your take-home pay, which you have to split to send to your family and to shoulder your day-to-day expenses.
The possibility that the employer you’re assigned to may be an abusive one
This is especially true for domestic workers, who tend to live within the their employer’s residence. We hear horror stories of OFWs being rescued from abusive employers–a seemingly fateful situation for some given that workers are randomly paired with employers by agencies.
Problems back at home that you have no control of
How do you deal with a spouse who’s currently sick, thousands of miles away from you? Or a child who’s continuous begging for you to come home has given you sleepless nights? How do you deal with relatives who still seem to believe in the myth that all OFWs are a walking goldmine and should therefore be expected to pay for their lifestyle as well, or at the very least be given a regular delivery of balikbayan boxes?
Being affected by national issues
Getting caught in the middle of a country’s national issue is a tricky situation to be in. Workers are sometimes pulled from their work as government try to sort out things, and at times even brought back to their homeland. Things like this come up unexpectedly, and even the most prepared OFWs still get shocked.
The loneliness and the feeling that you never truly belong in a place you’ve called home for years
This might be the hardest one to get rid off because it hits you right in your emotions. All the enumerated points here all boils down to this, because the challenges stated above become bigger and harder to resolve when you are reminded that you’re doing the battle all by yourself.
But sacrifices have to be made when you’re an OFW; it comes with the job.
Your sacrifices have been my dad’s sacrifices as well, and let me tell you this–every sacrifice made in good faith has a fruitful reward. Your children graduating is that reward now. Allow me (and my dad) to congratulate each and everyone of you — for your persistence, your commendable perseverance, your unwavering determination that have helped push the state of your family and our country to new and better heights. Despite the hardships, you and your children have rightfully earned this honor.
Metrobank also recognizes the value of your hard work and the sacrifices you’ve had to make. This is the reason why Metrobank has put a premium on making sure that your remittances reach your loved ones in the safest and fastest way possible through its MetroRemit Remittance Services. And from today until June 2018, OFW beneficiaries who credits his/her Cash Pick-up remittance to his/her existing or newly opened Metrobank OFW ATM Savings Account, will earn them P100 cash reward via the Premyo sa Padala promo. Additional P55 cash credit may also be received for 6 consecutive months for International remittances credited to your beneficiaries account. Click here to find out more about the promo and earn your cash rewards. Because with MetroRemit, sigurado ka rito. — INQUIRER.net/VG