02 April 2014

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The Sad Part of Being an OFW

The Philippine economy’s robust growth in 2013 makes it the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia. The GDP of 7.2% has garnered a confidence voting by the world’s three major credit rating agencies thereby upgrading the Philippines’ credit rating to investment grade with a positive outlook. And one of the reasons cited of the country’s strong economic performance is the OFW’s contribution through its cash remittance that account for almost 12% of the GDP.

Despite the big contribution of the OFW’s remittance to the Philippine economy, there’s a sad part of being an OFW though. One of the most notable issues is requiring the OFW’s to secure a small piece of document called “Overseas Employment Certificate” as proof of being an overseas worker. The OFW’s are also granted by the law an exemption to pay the terminal fee and international travel tax every time they depart and return to their country of employment. Yet this piece of document has served no valid reason as you are obliged to pay for a fee in order to be exempted in paying another.

The worst part is that the financial requirements in getting the OEC take a substantial amount from the OFW’s salaries especially to the non-skilled workers. Add to that burden the time, money spent and an off day in travelling just to process the said document. Most of them don’t have the luxury of having a day-off on weekdays were government agencies are open. So they result in asking permission to be absent for a day without pay which will be deducted in their monthly take home pay. The strain is not on the amount for the OEC but on what they spent in travelling to get the required document. In most cases, they spent more, than the amount they paid for the OEC.

What’s truly troubling is the fact that there are other means in verifying that they are returning OFW’s.

Image from wikimedia commons.
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