What would happen to the Philippine economy if the thousands of overseas Filipino workers stop sending money to the Philippines? Some economists are saying that the Philippine economy will collapse and will result in widespread poverty among its population.
The overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), numbering about 11 million, send aproximately US$10 billion dollars to the country every year. This represents about 13% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Philippines. The Central Bank of the Philippines estimates that total remittance will reach US$15 billion in 2008, making the country the fourth largest recipient of foreign excjhange remittance behind India, China and Mexico.
Every year, more than a million Filipinos leave their country to work in foreign countries where their services are needed. The OFWs are some of the most preferred workers in the world because of their possitive attitude to their work, specialized skills, their being friendly and acommodating, their willingness to work on extended hours and their ability to speak the English language.
The United States is the top destination of overseas Filipino workers, with about 4 million followed by Saudi Arabia with 2 million.The rest are spread out into about 30 other countries.
With the influx of the substantial number of Filipino workers in different parts of the world, some social issues have emerged including racial discrimination, illegal recruitment, slavery, rape of women, among others. Although these issues are being addressed by the Philippine government, the OFWs feel that these efforts by the government are not enough to prevent and protect them from the dangers they face at the workplace.
Despite the hazzard and the problems that the OFWs face in their respective work places, they continue to work and serve their employers well, just to be able to send money to their families and loved ones in the Philippines. And for these efforts, they deserve to be called unsung heroes of the Philippines.