WHEN THE LIGHT IS OUT. Mothers are the new face of migration in the Philippines. Often they are subjected to dirty, demeaning and dangerous jobs abroad.Filipinos have become so used to their countrymen going abroad they have become insensitive to the plight of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), a Catholic bishop lamented Friday.
Tagbilaran, Bohol Bishop Leonardo Medroso said it is tragic that Filipinos are no longer shocked with the fast growing number of Filipinos exiting the country.
"It bespeaks of an attitude that has become accustomed, if not calloused, to the alarming reality that the phenomenon does not cause us anymore unease," he said in his web blog .
He said these migrants are not mere faceless individuals, but warm bodies with human feelings and Filipino needs that constantly call our attention.
They also have the right to a decent environment that guarantees the protection of their human dignity, he added.
"One of the greatest pains of our migrant workers is the loss of the sense of self-pride. They pine to get it back, but no amount of money that they receive can buy it back," the bishop said.
According to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, more than eight million Filipinos are scattered in all parts of the globe. Of this number, 4.7 million are migrant workers, while some 900,000 have entered different countries without proper documents.
Medroso said that while the Church has not been remiss in its obligation to extend its pastoral care to Filipino migrants, its Commission for the Pastoral Care for Migrants may find the number of Filipinos overseas "staggering."
Maruja Asis, director for Research and Publications of the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC), a non-governmental organization dealing with migrant labor research, said migration has already distorted some Filipino values.
In a 2004 talk, Asis said a culture of migration has been embedded in the Filipino psyche.
According to her, working abroad has become an accepted fate to most Filipinos. In fact, she said it's now unusual for a Filipino not to aspire for a job abroad. This is evidenced by the growing popularity of nursing, caregiver, and computer engineering courses which are geared towards overseas employment.
“While Filipinos are not the only ones who wish to go abroad, the national dream or obsession that going abroad has become has stirred much concern. If this trend persists—and all indications suggest that it will—what kind of nation will become of a country where its people envision their future elsewhere," she said. - with Joseph Holandes Ubalde, GMANews.TV