OFWs are real heroes – respect them


YET another proof that the Overseas Filipino Workers are the foundation of our being a new “Tiger economy”—with Gross Domestic Product numbers that make us one of the star performers in Asean and the world—is top business news today.

Nine out of 10 people who enter a mall have a relative living or working abroad. This is from the SM Shopping Center Management Group’s vice-president for operations, Glenn Ang. He said every day 3 million people enter the SM chain’s 48 malls throughout our archipelago.

We can extrapolate this to mean that–whether in full or only in part—our OFWs (including Filipino seamen without whom the global shipping industry would suffer) spend for the expenses of these 3 million people in SM malls and the millions more who go to other malls daily.

Various estimates made by Philippine government offices as well as OFW associations, including Migrante International, place the number of Filipinos working abroad at 10 million to 11 million. This is 10 percent of the current Philippine population of about 100 million.

According to the 2010 census (the latest we have had) Filipinos below 15 years old made up 34 percent of the population. Seniors made up 6.8 percent. Deduct 40.8 percent of the population from the total and you get 52 million. This is our total adult population (excluding seniors) from which the 10 million OFWs come. These 10 million make up 19 percent of the adult population of Filipinos. And they are abroad working so that their families can be fed, clothed, housed and educated.

This means nearly 1/5th or 20 percent—or 20 out of every 100 adult Filipinos (excluding seniors)—are working abroad to support their families back home, thereby also supporting the Philippine economy.

Great Balance-of-Payments standing
Their regular remittances help make the foreign currency reserves of our Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas one of the largest among the world’s central banks. That the Philippines has an impressive Balance-of-Payments record–aside from our impressive rate of GDP growth (driven mostly by the active shopping in malls, department stores and public markets of our OFW families)–is why we are given high credit ratings by Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch. And why world leaders, like those of the World Economic Forum, respect the Aquino administration–despite its failure to address the massive poverty and corruption problems, the scary water and electricity shortages that are hindering proper development, the incompetence in handling infrastructure and socio-economic development in general.

Last March, the personal remittances of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) amounted to $2.08 billion, which is 6.9 percent more than the remittances of $1.99 billion in March 2013.

SM, both as a retail merchandising leader and a major real estate developer, is sanguine about the OFWs’ continued support of their families and therefore the Philippine economy. OFWs and their families are not only the consumer targets of SM but also similar corporations in our country, including the Ayala, MetroBank and Robinson groups. They are opening malls and shopping outlets all over the country as well as various forms of housing developments.

We are once again dwelling on this subject to remind Filipinos that the OFWs are real heroes.

This fact must be repeated and stressed over and over again. For many government people who deal with OFWs are still disrespectful of them. Or uncaring about their welfare.

Beginning with the President himself, Filipinos in government and in the private sector must learn to look up to OFWs as heroes, persons to be grateful and respectful to.


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  1. With all due respect Mr. Andres R. Samson i think you have your figures mixed up… there arr more skilled professionals in the middle east than DH.. and i know several people who sends over $ 2,500 a month for decades..
    remittance from middle east are coursed thru USA (am nit sure why) that’s why figure shows that the USA sends tee most…
    OFW from middle east sends at least 75% of their earnings as they have free housing and transportation as well as ticket to and from the Philippines……

  2. majid Mohamed on

    Mr Samson , my maths say 2billion into 10mill = $200 NOT $2000 PER MONTH.
    So if you multiply $200 by 12 , each OFW may send home up to $2400 a year.
    So a figure of $20 billion a year remitted home by OFWs may be on the lower side.
    It is likely that OFWs in the US and Europe send home more than those in the Middle East.

    • Not likely why, 95% of OFW in the middle east sent 85 to 90% of their salaries home. I am one of them. In USA and other countries don’t even send 40% of their salaries. And I am here now! You?

  3. Andres R. Samson on

    Another lie propagated by media. From the same media source that recently published a total remittance of $2 billion received recently. Even a 5th grade arithmetic will show that the per capita remittance of OFW, 2, 000,000,000 USD divided by 10,000,000 = 2, 000 is not the monthly income of these OFWS. nearly 85% of OFWs are DH that earn less than 500 USD a month; in KSA, Arab women who do not belong to royalty are only paid $500 a month for domestic chores. There are not even 400,000 mariners where deck officers earn top pay as Mr Herrera himself does not attribute a billion or so remittance from PH mariners. Also the latest US census does not show more that 4,000,000 citizens of Fil-Am extraction which include healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, therapists. In Europe, healthcare givers earn only about 900 euros a month In all cases, the OFWs have to eat and meet cost of living wherever they are posted. How can each one of them even remit $1,000 dollars a month? The number of OFW and the sources of their income do not justify the figures. Where did Manila Times obtain these statistics? The number of OFWs slaving in foreign countries is a blatant lie.

    • Not all OFW makes only$500.00/mo.,here in the USA we make no less than $5,000.00/mo. we send about 1500/mo., so that will cover 3DH. pls. do not hide reality.

    • Dear Mr. Andres R. Samson
      I don’t know you if working overseas or not. Just to let you know most overseas filipinos have two or three jobs. It’s been practice that filipinos are working the what we call under the table. Like my wife and I have permanent jobs but still we are working part time. For our part time jobs its enough to covers our monthly expenses and send some of the monies to our relatives here in the Philippines. And supporting our nephews and nieces for their University. And we are so proud they graduated and are working in their chosen field. For me, instead making negative thought you should think what you can do to our government.



    • The editorial is very clear, “OFWs are real heroes – respect them.” Though you may not agree with the monetary figures, it does not change the fact that for the past many years, the Philippine economy was sustained by the remittance of the OFW, whether big or small amount depending on the workers income.