Over the decades of local economic uncertainties, it has become a trend and an ultimate goal among Filipino skilled workers and professionals – engineers, medical practitioners, caregivers, IT experts, and even educators to work abroad.
Yes, poverty has always been cited as among the foremost reasons for the exodus of highly trained Filipino workers and professionals out of the country that results in a phenomenal ‘brain drain,’ but migration anthropologists assert that there are other significant factors that drive Filipinos overseas.
Accordingly, those who work and plan to work abroad are not all poor, or at least not the poorest of the poor. Many overseas Filipino workers search for ‘greener pastures’ abroad in consideration of the huge wage differential between local and foreign paychecks, i.e., to expedite their personal economic success, not necessarily to alleviate poverty.
Last Wednesday, we had an on-campus essay writing competition screening for senior high school and college students. After a little topic deliberation with my partner, we agreed to have an editorial cartoon about a Filipino graduate holding his diploma, with an arresting line “Woo hoo!!! Abroad, here I come!!!”
Successfully, we were able to select best essays for the defined purpose, but I believe that our students’ insights into the critical issue deserve broader readership, hence sharing these excerpts:
Apathetical Millennials. Going abroad does not necessarily mean having a higher level of occupation. In fact, there have been several stories of overseas Filipino workers that account horrible experiences. May we not let the youth, and the next generation to encounter these among themselves. Let us not continue what is an already established title of the Philippines – a factory that produces workers for the development of other nations. In hopes and above all by the will of the Almighty, our youth will instead say “woo hoo!!!, efforts to develop the “Philippine dream, here I come!,” rather than, “Woo hoo, Abroad, here I come!” – David Lew Dela Merced, AB Communication.
Greener Pastures. To graduating students, graduation ceremony might be the finish line of the seemingly endless journey of studying and learning in school. But whenever somebody is giving a speech during the ceremony, it is always said that, “this isn’t the end, rather the beginning.” Hence, this is the start of something more realistic – like finding jobs, sustaining the family’s financial needs, or working in the corporate or business world. And when we say best, most would think about landing a job somewhere, where the grass is greener – Kristine Mabuti, Senior High.
After-Graduation Blues. At the end of the day, it is all up to us to decide whether or not to pursue a job abroad. Upon coming up with an informed decision, we must have to look into the good and bad sides. Are we really willing to leave our family? I guess, it is not that bad if we plan to return after a few years. We must, however, be sure that we won’t regret our decision or we’re much willing to make sacrifices – John Matthew Aquino, Senior High.
Xenocentric Filipinos. Poverty is the final blow for the xenocentric Filipinos. Students who struggle financially strive harder on their studies. After graduation, they look for job opportunities that are expected to help pay off their hardships. Most likely, these are the job opportunities that can be found abroad…
However, xenocentric or not, Filipinos should not forget, hence always remember, the essence of being true Filipinos. It is not a matter of workplace, but the heart, mind, and soul of a Filipino – John Amadeus Labrusca, Senior High.
Better Life Abroad. Life is much better abroad. USA, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, and Japan – these are just a few of the countries that Filipino fresh graduates badly want to go to. Many Filipinos do not yet find the economy of the Philippines as progressive as these countries, hence saying that it is really much better to work and live abroad…
Having the urge to fly abroad and leave the homeland does not necessarily mean that one is doing it just for himself. As it happens, he still gets to help the economy by bringing in remittances – Marren Gem Arabit, Senior High.
Common Notation. It is wrongful to put the blame just on the person because what pushes him in the situation of working abroad is his ‘home’ itself, a home full of uncertainties. It’s just what they say, ‘the economic status dictates one’s culture,’ and as long as Filipino graduates see Philippines as a place defined by the common notation that – it will continue becoming a culture among us – Ainalyn Nerves, Senior High.
Filipino Dreamers. Filipino students usually sit for hours, absorbing the lessons and knowledge their teachers provide. These students come in and out of their classrooms for several years in the hopes of graduating and achieving their dreams. Most of these ‘dreamers’ aspire to become this country’s future doctors, engineers, writers, artists, and so on. Unfortunately, they also aspire to apply, work, and earn a living abroad. Are these dreamers really the Philippines’ future professionals? – Veronica Billones, Senior High.
Unsurprisingly, young Filipino students have different views and opinions about working abroad. However, it can be surprising how they sound critical and aware of the benefits and drawbacks of pursuing a career overseas. Interestingly, the importance of making informed decisions has been emphasized in most of their essays.
Yes, most believe that our local economy poses uncertainties and that working abroad can really be promising, but remain optimistic, through the Filipino sense of ‘bayanihan,’ about the betterment of our society.