OFWs Bridge the Gap Between the Rich and the Poor

Note: The below narrative has been culled from an email sent to one of the Yahoo Groups in the late 2008. It is being reproduced to give light to the importance of Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs in propping up the economy of the Philippines. Hailed as “economic saviours” the OFWs continue to infuse billions and billions of dollars every year to the country and will continue to do so until Kingdom come.

THE millions of OFWs scattered in more than 200 countries all over the world are doing a lot of good to our birth country, the Philippines. They are the saviors who have been keeping our economy afloat.

It is, of course, a given that each OFW provides for his/her family left behind. It is, after all, the very reason why one goes out of the country and venture into the unknown. Before, there were only two classes in our Philippine society – the rich and the poor. When OFWs became a “fad” in the early 1970s, in a term Marcos referred to then as human exports, the poor family of these OFWs occupied a third class, which is now, the middle class. They are the real ones who have been helping the poor – their own kind – rise from poverty. I set myself as one example. And having spent 26 years of my fruitful life in Kuwait, now as an ex-OFW (since 2002), I have continued to adopt the habit of saving the poorest of my relatives and neighbors in my local community and thus contribute to keeping our economy afloat.

Now, I am sure you are aware that majority of these OFWs are spoiling their family and for this reason that the malls are proliferating non-stop all over the country. [Our 5th class province of Antique is soon getting a Robinson’s, a few years after the people tasted a real mall for the first time through the Gaisano chains of grand mall, as named] and this is because the Antiquenos are now gradually and steadily becoming OFWs; no longer sacadas, as they have been known in the past.

You would know an OFW child by looking at what he/she wears or carries. Or you can easily see the improvements in the barrio through these big and concrete houses which only an OFW, mostly seamen, can build. While before children go to public schools, an increasing number of them are now going to private schools. So you also see private institutions sprouting. I can go on citing a lot of examples which I know you are also aware of.

What I am advocating for is for these OFWs to go out from the immediate family setting and spread his/her arms to the extensions. A cousin perhaps whose child is unable to finish college because of lack of money? Or a sister or brother who could hardly make both ends meet? And maybe a neighbor who has been jobless because of a disability?

Not all can become successful on their own. And, of course, it is impossible that everybody gets to be rich or life will really be boring.

I ask only for just ONE poor to be saved, someone who is out of the immediate family radar.

Thanks for listening,


About Author

Freda Editha O. Contreras
Writing is a God-given talent which I try to utilize the good way. I used it as a means to earn a living, my very first job after graduating from college, when I got hired as an Information Writer by the Provincial Government of Antique through Governor Enrique A. Zaldivar in January 1982. By profession, I am a Registered Nurse, and was only able to practice it when I got recruited to work in a private hospital in Kuwait. This was in November 1987 and since then I have been living in Kuwait, now retired since June 2002. Because of my knack in writing I got hired in 1994 to write for Kuwait Times and later became an Editor of 'Pinoy News' a weekly supplement of KT. In March 1996 I published the very first independent Filipino newspaper in Kuwait and the Gulf bannered as Pinoy Expat News or PEN. The paper lasted for only 10 weekly issues. This was followed by another publication and came out first as an insert of an ad paper and later as a separate tabloid. I used then 'Pinoy News' as it was my idea the first time it was used for Kuwait Times. This again failed and produced only three weekly issues. I then turned to the Internet and in 1999 I got hired as a Contributing Editor of Suite101.com, a writers' portal on the web. The last of my articles was published December 31, 2002 but my topic 'Overseas Filipino Workers' was still visible until January 2006. All the 38 articles I wrote have been compiled into a book which I published in August 2007. I discovered blogging in 2006 but was not really serious about my writing. I wrote according to my whim. Having this blog under my own domain name is now a welcome development and I plan to concentrate again in writing. As is commonly said: "A writer will always be a writer." http://fredacontreras.com/

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