Wednesday, February 25, 2009

social costs of the OFW phenomenon

There are three significant open secrets in this Country: One, the national economy has been long since basically kept afloat by OFW remittances – without which the Philippines should been much more bankrupt long since. Two, the Head of Government wherefore as a matter of course, takes many expensive flights to practically all the continents of the world decidedly to sell OFWs thereto – in her possibly new title as Czarina of Filipino human chattel. Three, the OFW fact has immense and lasting social costs specially in conjunction with the workers’ families – not to mention the physical violence and emotional trauma they get, the women in particular, specially without saying the macabre reality brought about when not really few of them return home in boxes.

With the usual loud platitudes from the Malacanang occupant plus the correct applauses of her truly close allies specially in the Cabinet, time and again, the OFWs here and abroad have been repeatedly accorded grand attributions and heroic traits. But more than all these basically lip-service exercises, the ruling administration by and large leaves the OFWs left to themselves - specially so when they are no longer economically profitable for the government coffers. This is most especially true with regard to the profound and expensive social costs personally shouldered by the OFWs themselves and their respective domestic communities.

Their families are painfully divided by long distance separation, serious apprehensions and constant preoccupations. Their children grow without their physical presence much less their personal care and parental love. Their spouses specially those relatively young in age, be they husbands or wives, are strongly tempted to entertain amorous if not carnal relationships with other parties. There are more and more OFW families wrecked by conjugal separations-in-fact. And how does the present government respond to these immense and intense social costs of its concerted and aggressive promotion of OFWs? Easy: See no evil. Keep quiet. Do nothing.

This is not even saying that not in few instances, the moneys sent home by the OFWs are liberally spent not only for unnecessary items but also for luxurious purposes. Result: The loans made are not paid. The house is not built. The children stop schooling. These sad and pitiful realities are definitely not but products of imaginations, much less the conclusions of born pessimists. The good number of technical surveys, studies and analyses not only of the OFWs themselves but also their own families are evidences not simply saddening but also markedly numerous, truly shocking personal and domestic tragedies caused by the OFW phenomenon.

Meantime, the vicious circle goes on, viz., the present dispensation decidedly continues to market OFWs and the OFWs on the other hand, painfully continues to pay for the social costs of their lot. The OFW social liability initiated by the Marcos regime has been brought to perfection by the Czarina administration.

+OVCruz, DD
February 25, 2009