Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Dear insansapinas,

Nah Virginia, I am not talking about that book in the bible or the song of Andy Williams.(This Land is pa pa )  I am talking about the exodus of Filipino workers.

Many subscribe to the theory that poverty is the root cause of the Filipino migration. Dr. Clement Camposano believes otherwise. Me too. Kawawa naman si "poverty", palaging nasisisi.  
Here is an excerpt of his article published in inquirer. 
Are overseas Filipino workers (OFW) being driven out of the country by poverty? Or is it just the latest opportunity and trend?
Over the years, poverty has been the common reason cited for the exodus of Filipinos out of the country: to “find work and sustain their needs as well as that of their families.”
Is this true? In recent years quite a number of studies have thrown more light on the matter.
Dr. Clement Camposano, a senior instructor and migration anthropologist from the University of Asia and the Pacific, said studies have shown that “although many countries are experiencing destitution, poverty is merely one of the factors and not the root cause of Filipino migration.”
He said that based on studies, those who work abroad are not all poor, or at least not the poorest of the poor. It takes a lot of money to prepare for overseas work.
Many OFWs are duped into forking over huge sums of money by recruiters. Many reach foreign lands heavily in debt.
In a way, OFWs are gamblers and risk-takers. They are drawn by the huge wage differential between local and foreign paychecks. They invest heavily to leave the country. They secure monies for placement and other processing fees to realize their dreams. They don’t give up easily, even though, at times, they fall prey to some illegal recruiters. With all the monies that are tossed and spun in the process of migration, can we really say that our kababayan who search for so-called “greener pastures” are really the underprivileged?

Those I met in the US of A were college graduates from various universities in the Philippines, UP, Ateneo included.

They came to the Land of Milk and Honey as tourists, took some jobs which paid a little more than the minimum wage and enrolled in short term courses which could  land them to more high paying jobs. Kesehoda kung engineers, architects, Communications major sila. Accountants were more in demand. Not Necessarily CPA. That time, it was not yet strict. Employers did not bother to check the legal status as long as they present a DMV license or state ID. These IDs can be secured (before) without having to present the  documents that the applicant is a legal resident of the US. After the 2001, employers were required to check the Social Security and the immigrant status of the employees and applicants. Bogus DMV license and SSS IDs can easily be procured for a mere $ 150 to 2000 depending on how gullible you look. 

To settle down in the United States for someone with a tourist visa he/she needed a lot of dough to survive until he/she gets a more secured job. How can a poor individual afford this? 

My friend who worked as domestic help in Saudi for less than three months had her family sold a piece of land inherited from the grandfolks. The handyman (carpenter/plumber/electrician ) of our village borrowed from the loan shark to be able to go to the Middle East. He was never unemployed when he was in the Philippines. He had a lot of projects from the residents. He just wanted to earn more.

The ladies whom I met wanted to marry Caucasians; to have blue-eyed/blond babies and  to improve their stock. I am not kidding. hahaha.

Isa o dalawa nakapag-asawa ng mga  US citizens pero mga Filipino rin. Yong iba, mga dalaga pa rin.

Several of those I met were petitioned by relatives. One of whom is the sister of my friend . She was a nursing graduate in the Philippines but never passed the licensure examination. Now she is unemployed and was waiting for the manna from heaven to drop. Buti na lang di pa nagreretire ang 70 year old niyang mother kaya may nagpapakain pa. 

The wife of my acquiantance worked in Saudi before migrating to the US. In the Philippines, she was working in a government hospital. 
They had two houses and farms in Bicol before she applied for Saudi hospital. 

After 18 years, when their application for US immigration was approved, the whole family left the Philippines.

Can those families that can barely make their ends meet afford to work abroad?

Will the teachers who work as nannies in Hongkong, Saudi and other countries receive the same paycheck if they are employed in the Philippines?

Besides, there is another factor that drives Filipinos to work abroad. Gaya-gaya and inggit. Once a neighbor is able to work abroad, comes home with goodies and wads of cash, the relatives, friends and neighbors will move mountain to do the same thing.  


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