Former president Fidel V. Ramos urged Filipinos overseas to choose and vote for candidates who can best resolve their many problems.
“They must be aware of the issues in the Philippines. Unang tutukan nila iyong mga issues, what are the problems that are important to them that must be resolved as quickly as possible,” Ramos told Atty. Mike Templo during a special episode of Crossing Borders on ANC.
Ramos said OFWs must carefully examine each candidate at the national level “who are best qualified to resolve their problems”.
“Those candidates themselves must also be more caring, sharing and daring than our common Filipinos including the overseas workers,” he said. “Third, beyond just focusing on issues, in selecting the candidates who can best resolve the issues that are of highest priority to them, they must themselves be as self reliant, as self supporting as can be.”
Ramos is not new to the many challenges and issues faced by millions of Filipinos who seek greener pasture abroad.
“Those that go abroad are daring enough to look for new opportunities and build new lives for themselves and their families,” Ramos said.
The 12th president of the Philippines considers himself as a Filipino migrant who, right after the World War 2, won a slot for a government scholarship to enter the US Military Academy in November 1945.
“I consider that a wonderful opportunity just like any other overseas Filipino worker to finally lands the job and is there at the workplace. I was so happy and more than that optimistic about the future kasi free education iyan,” Ramos said.
Coming from an impoverished and war torn Philippines, the first challenge that he had to face abroad was “cultural shock”.
“The need to adjust quickly to this new physical and cultural environment was my first problem but I was always very optimistic about it,” Ramos said.
For Ramos, Filipino overseas workers exude a strong sense of leadership and self discipline.
“When a needy Filipino or Filipina decides to look for work abroad that’s already indicating or manifesting a strong sense of leadership and self discipline and this is further enhanced when you see the conditions abroad and you maybe all alone or you may be accompanied by some kababayans or equally stressed as you are and therefore the best possible arrangement is for you is to help each other for the initial difficulties that you may encounter,” he explained.
While abroad, Filipinos learn to adjust quickly to the new environment and to the new faces around them.
“Adjusting, knowing more about your new workplace also getting the goodwill of people that are complete strangers to you and then adjusting to and surviving within different cultures whether it is religion, customs and maybe even language,” he said.
Countless media reports about OFWs and their activities in different parts of the globe prove that they are well organized.
“I have in fact recommended to the authorities here--in Malacanang and the Department of Foreign Affairs—that, they must aim for a global network of global kababayans,” he said.
He said he expects “huge outcomes” from “Global Kababayans”. He said the first letters of the two words, G and K, belongs to Gawad Kalinga.
“The letters GK really belong to Gawad Kalinga which is our most popular housing or community development and nation building,” he explained.
Promoting volunteerism by tapping more than eight million of Filipinos in more than 100 countries can make a huge difference to the Philippines.
“Using that same battle cry of Filipinos getting together and caring, sharing and daring maybe we can organize the national organization in its country first into a regional network and eventually global network at dapat ang maging pangalan nyan in my view is Global Kababayan,” he said.
“Of course, that is still a dream at this stage but since there are many scattered groups maybe in 175 countries this can be done due to the advent of information and communications technology in which our workers are very proficient now,” he said.
He urged Filipinos to be optimistic despite the many problems that beset the country.
“Even if you are abroad, you must look at the Philippines still as our mother land. Of course there is hardship here but we must look at the more optimistic side of it. We are not the worst country in the world and therefore we must make the best out of what is given to us,” Ramos said.