ON Monday, Oct. 17, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported that money sent home by Filipinos living and working abroad reached $2.319 billion—growing at its fastest pace in over two years.
This resulted in a 4.6-percent expansion in the amount of money sent home by Filipinos abroad to $17.64 billion in the first eight months from $16.87 billion in the same period last year.
According to BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo, the jump in the amount of cash sent home by Filipinos abroad in August could be attributed to the increase in overseas deployment.
Remittance from overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) plays a large part in the Philippine economy’s recent positive showing. It is essential to the country’s goal to achieve economic development and stability. The annual outflow of Filipinos abroad also aids the government in maintaining a manageable gross domestic and gross national product (GDP and GNP), a visible major source of gross international reserves and the country’s external debt.
They are glorified as modern heroes, but back home, the reasons why they left remain a harsh reality.
In May, a pro-migrants group dared then presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte to stray from the Aquino administration’s “tuwid na daan” and come up with policies that will counteract the causes of forced migration.
“We want a new government that will depart from all the failures and empty promises of the so-called ‘tuwid na daan,’” said Migrante International in a statement.
“We will hold you to your promise to make OFWs your top-most priority in your labor agenda,” Migrante said. “We want new leaders who will be nurturing to OFWs and their families. We want a new government that will uphold and protect our rights and welfare.”
While his campaign against drugs may be intense, it should be noted that one of Duterte’s priorities is the welfare of OFWs.
“My first priority is our workers who go abroad. They have such a hard time going to so many agencies. There should be just one department,” the president promised in May. “I will give importance to the life, blood, and sweat of OFWs.”
In response to Duterte’s directive to make it more convenient for OFWs to access government services, the Dept. of Labor and Employment (DOLE) launched the One-Stop Service Center for OFWs (OSSCO) in August. The OSSCO aims to reduce expenses of OFWs in availing of all government frontline services and to shorten the processing time of their documents and requirements.
The government has also intensified its campaign against human traffickers and illegal recruiters. POEA reported that in the first eights months of this year, 35 cases, involving a total of 59 victims of human trafficking, have been endorsed to the DOJ for preliminary investigation. Seventeen establishments have been closed down for illegal recruitment activities.
It is about time that the protection and promotion of OFWs’ economic rights are given appropriate actions. These so-called heores should be afforded with the benefits and recognitions they deserve. (AJPress)