Monday, March 23, 2009


Let me quote these lines I read from a local newspaper in Dubai, “We call ourselves OFWs. We are Filipinos who permanently or temporarily reside outside the Philippines for work and greener pasture. We are the heroes of our country in the recent times. We are the Filipinos who give blood to our nation. Without us, our beloved Philippines is nothing but the poorest country in the whole world.”Melba Mendez

I agree with Melba. A couple of weeks ago, the book “World Fact” which I bought from City Center describes Philippines as one of the poorest countries in the world. Its geographical situation and wars between its people make the country poor. It depends its earnings from the remittance of Filipinos working abroad.

It’s with my great pride to be one of the OFWs – earning not just for our families but for the country as well. But I am worried. Many Filipinos lost their jobs because of recession and they have to return home – hopeless. How will the government of the Philippines help in return to these people often acclaimed by President Arroyo as heroes of the nation? I doubt. Forget about the OWWA. Forget about the programs, the loans to OFWs. They are not substantial.

OFWs are everywhere. According to the statistics, there are around 11 million Filipinos abroad. The table below shows the significant population of OFWs around the world.

• United States 4,000,000
• Saudi Arabia 2,000,000
• Malaysia 636,544
• Canada 437,940
• UAE 450,000
• Japan 258,977
• United Kingdom 200,000
• Italy 200,000
• Mexico 200,000
• Qatar 200,000
• Taiwan 158,116
• Singapore 150,000
• Kuwait 144,955
• Hong Kong 130,810
• Australia 129,400
• South Korea 70,000
• Germany 65,000
• France 65,000
• Guam 45,600
• Greece 40,000
• Israel 37,155
• Bahrain 36,718
• Lebanon 30,000
• Spain 26,505
• Norway 19,291
• Netherlands 18,456
• Macau 18,447
• Sweden 17,343
• New Zealand 16,938
• Ireland 11,000
• Thailand 5,000