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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Most of OFW Families are Poor

There's an article I read which is somehow old, but I want to share it here for my fellow OFWs to read (hopefully learn from it). The actual article is posted below:

‘60% of OFW families are poor’
Written by Estrella Torres / Reporter
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 23:37

DESPITE the steadily rising remittance levels of Filipino migrant workers—reaching $18 billion in 2009—at least 60 percent of their families remain poor, according to a Church-backed group doing support work for the sector.

This, as the head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in the Philippines raised concern that the situation for the families of Filipino migrant workers will remain unchanged or may worsen due to their consumerist attitude.

Linda Wirth, ILO director in Manila, said migrant workers and their families are constantly exposed to various risks that require huge levels of spending. These include illnesses, accidents, loss of property, natural and man-made disasters, climate-change impact and the lingering global financial crisis.

She said families of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) also belong to the 80 percent of the global population who do not have access to basic social services.

“While not all of the OFWs are poor, there is a bigger percentage of them who came from poor families and these are the ones who are sending money more regularly to their families compared with those migrant families who are already doing well. The tendency is really to seek help from friends and relatives,” Wirth said at a press briefing of the ILO in Makati City on Wednesday.

Fr. Edwin Corros, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, a panel of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the Philippines has more than 8 million OWFs, and at least 60 percent of their families remain poor.

This is so because these migrant workers are predominantly classified as unskilled or semiskilled, such as household-service workers who end up empty-handed when they return to the country, as wages promised them are lower than promised and they have to pay off debts incurred in preparing for overseas work. Worse, many of them also suffer from abusive employers and/or fall prey to human traffickers—tragedies that entail extra costs for them and their families in terms of hospitalization, loss of wages and legal fees.

“It is very difficult to convince them to save because they will need it in the future,” Corros said during the ILO press briefing for the Pamilyang OFW Savers and Wellness Club.

Ferdinand Berba, senior vice president for Business Development of Pioneer Life Insurance, said the savings rate for the Filipino migrant workers is way below their counterparts from China and Indonesia. They are faring a little better than migrant workers from Myanmar and Cambodia.

He said 42 percent of the savings of Filipino migrant workers are usually spent on emergency expenses ahead of the allotment for children’s education (34 percent), food (6.6 percent), marriage or other future plans (5.9 percent), business investment (3.4 percent), housing (2.9 percent), among others.

“We can see that they are not saving for the future. The tragic thing is that they go home unsuccessful, and they don’t have any savings. Their life as well as their families is very far from what it used to be when the OFW is abroad,” Berba said.

Talagang nakakalungkot at nakakapagbagabag kapag nakakabasa ka ng ganito. Sana magsilbing "eye opener" sa lahat ng OFWs ang ganitong impormasyon. Dapat talagang sikapin ang "mag-ipon" at hindi yung puro gastos lang. Hanggat maari huwag bumili ng mga bagay na hindi naman kailangan. Kadalasan kasi kapag lumaki na ang sweldong natatanggap, lumalaki rin ang gastos sa "luho". Hindi na naiisip na hindi habang-buhay ay ganun ang sitwasyon. Isipin natin ang magiging kalagayan natin sa mga susunod na araw at darating na panahon. "KAPAG MAY ISINUKSOK MAY MADUDUKOT"

Sa mga pamilya namang naiiwan sa Pinas, sana ay ugaliin din ang "magtipid". Huwag nang magyabang sa mga kapitbahay at kamag-anak. Kadalasan, kapag merong nasa abroad eh nag-iiba narin ang "lifestyle". Dati sanay naman sa ganitong klase ng buhay aba eh nung medyo nakakaluwag biglang taas narin ng cost of living. Dapat isipin lagi na hindi madali ang kumita ng pera.Hindi yan basta-basta pinupulot sa kalsada. "MAS MADALING GASTUSIN ANG PERA KAPAG HINDI IKAW ANG KUMIKITA."

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