Sunday, January 4, 2009
The Place Where My Heart Is
I was browsing the internet and by chance came across a social networking group of mostly Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). The thread which attracted my attention is the forum discussing about worst places to work for it somehow connects the real life Diaspora in me. As I go along with the discussion, I found myself immersed to the thread’s main point; what pushes people like me to leave our country to work despite the imminent danger awaits for us in a far away land?
Despite everyday news headline that tells all kind of abuses and discrimination hounding Filipino workers abroad, seeing hopeful job applicants queuing for a possible job abroad is an ordinary fare in most job placement agencies. There are those who had gone abroad and once fell victims of abuses await their fate that someday, to return again and try their luck anew. Perhaps no amount of danger and setback can prevent Filipino’s resiliency or maybe, it’s their empty stomach that forced them to be braved amidst adversities waiting abroad. While there are those happy and success stories shared by a handful of OFWs who had gone abroad, however unfortunate and sad experiences still painted the overall situation of Filipinos working in foreign soil. Domestic helper getting raped by their employer, unpaid salary, racial discrimination, breached of employment contract and occupational hazards seems like a recurring nightmare that haunts every Filipino desiring for work abroad.
I had the taste of my own medicine being an OFW myself for I used to condemn the pathetic situation in the Philippines on how a growing numbers of Filipinos are migrating abroad creating a vacuum of unfilled skills needed to run our country. Filipino professionals are almost gone owe it to lack of opportunity back home while those still studying are slowly focusing to their choice of job destination—abroad. Can you blame them for desiring a better future? I don’t think so.
I don’t want to sound unpatriotic. My desire of working in my own country remains the same only that the same opportunity remains elusive. Leaving ones family for abroad is a bitter pill to swallow. But as long as there are lives depending on you, hopes and dreams to fulfill, toiling away from home must continue, though remain hopeful that someday, better opportunity is within reach in a place where my heart is – home.