We used to call them Overseas Contract Workers (OCW). Later, we call them Overseas Filipino Workers with “heroes” subtitle.
But from now on, President Gloria Arroyo said (see Inquirer, October 8, 2008), we will call them expats , not OFWs.
The suggestion comes because, accordingly, “the nature of the jobs” of Filipinos who work abroad “is increasingly more on skilled professions”. They should be called expats because “expatriates usually get higher pay than if you will just call them workers”, President Arroyo explained.
President Arroyo seems to be sugar-coating the situation. Calling overseas Filipino workers doesn’t matter to me after all.
Undeniably, many overseas Filipino workers are still suffering from poor working conditions, low salary, not to mention the expensive processes of going out of the country to work.
By calling our overseas Filipino workers as expats, does it make sense to millions of them who are forced to work in other countries to earn enough to educate children, to build decent house?
The OFW phenomenon has changed the Filipino’s social structure. Many are looking into the opportunity of working abroad as hope to cope with hard times. Now, it is common to hear the expression, “magna-nursing para makakapag-abroad”.
Unless every Filipino works to change the way we put leaders to the government, the OFW phenomenon continues. What I mean, I expats phenomenon continues.
I don’t have any idea how the next Philippine president call our “expats”.
I am interested more in figuring out how the next President help expats. That’s more relevant than sugar-coated names.