I am an OFW and I am not a commodity

Something to be proudKabayan,

I saw this poster in Baler, Quezon while we were having our travel trip. At first and as an OFW, I feel proud for this poster because of the word “WORLD-CLASS”. I feel like we are on top. But then, as I read further it breaks my heart to read about Domestic Worker and Housekeeper. Do you know why?

I am an OFW. I know how it feels like to be an OFW and there’s nothing wrong for being a Domestic Worker or Housekeeper. It’s really something to be proud of and every OFWs has its own story and sacrifices regardless of occupation so this is something that we OFWs have in common. Let’s face it! We need a job and that’s the reality now!It’s a reality for now that someone has to leave the country for the sake of providing to his/her family.

However, is this the best thing that the government can offer to us, Filipinos?

To be branded as “World-Class”. I just realized that the government is really good in marketing. The government is good to market its labor force to the world. To market us to the world rather by creating the country’s goodwill to attract investments or businesses that will translate to jobs or even government projects.

This poster promotes that we, Filipinos, should work abroad because there is no job opportunity in the Philippines. To some extent, I agree but it looks like the government prefers to supply the labor market rather than creating local opportunities. Why the government would prefer to supply rather than create?

Just look at this simple revenue computation for the USD24 billion remittances by OFWs for the year 2014. A straight forward assumption that remittances will be used as such VAT is inclusive in every purchases.

Total Remittance USD 24 Billion
Multiply by 12% VAT          12%
Expected VAT Revenue USD 2.8 Billion

You see, easy money for the government without any investments other that its own people. Looking at that USD2.8 Billion revenue, I am afraid if the government is willing to let it go and yes, it’s only possible if the government can earn from other resources equivalent to the revenue that can be derived from OFW remittances.

I dream that being an OFW will become an option but not as a necessity in the future. I hope when that time come, I am still alive.


The Cristobal

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