Sunday, April 29, 2007

Working Abroad

Lately there have been talk about taxing OCWs to make more money for the Philippine Government. The three students from La Salle also reasoned that this tactic will curb the growing number of migrant workers leaving the country, draining it of necessary brain/man/woman-power. Tough.

The first ever 16-year old genius, who graduated summa cum laude from UP, in her speech challenged the youth like her to take the road less travelled, the choice of working and living in the Philippines; against the growing trend of leaving the country for greener pastures. Good luck.

Here in the UAE, government agencies have been set up as mandated by the President to ensure that all graduates find jobs at the end of their college or highschool year. About four agencies now look after the training, job placement and support of all the UAE's youth to ensure that they are on track in their career and live as productive professional and citizens of their country.

As I listed to a recently concluded forum on Emiratisation, I wonder when my very our government would make moves to ensure jobs for million of Filipino graduates; when will my own government set up agencies that would welcome back professionals working abroad into the country and ensure that they share the skills and the expertise learned abroad with their fellowmen in return for job opportunities back home.

See there is something very different from a Filipino trying to make a living and a life from an Emirati. The Emirati has a government that truly supports its youth. I on the one hand, has a country that exports even our native aborigines, the Aetas, as electricians in Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Nevermind that my country's rulers are corrupt. Nevermind that every Filipino household is getting poorer and poorer if not for the OFW families that help make ends meet. Nevermind young blood like Mikaela calling for the youth to give the Philippines a chance. Arroyo and her cronies have done nothing to encourage Filipinos to go work back home, worse, she's made more Filipinos leave the country. It is afterall healthy for the economy that more dollars are coming in.

I sit there in the Emiratisation forum thinking in 5 - 10 years, these local Emiratis, with the full support of their own government, will eventually get the jobs that we Filipinos once had claim on. Since they will be the priority for vacant jobs, where will all these Filipinos, on visit visas in Dubai and the rest of the Emirates find employment? My own country, currently ruled by Gloria Arroyo must put measures to ensure that workers coming home get some form of support, so they are able to integrate back into the labour market. OCW coopratives and projects that would encourage more and more to opt for a life back home, as millions actually long to do.

But like everything else, it must come from the top down. There must be mandate from the highest governing body - the President. And as I see Aetas being trainned and shipped off to foreign lands, I get a bitter taste in my stomach that whatever it is I longed for will never truly be.

Life indeed is tough so we truly need lots of luck in order to make it.

1 comment:

malou said...

Good article Mary Ann! These bright LaSallelites should think of a retirement program at least for returning OFWs who is helping the Philippine economy tremendously and keeping their families afloat.