Millions of OFW’s Left Unemployed by the Pandemic

In Philippines, OFW’s (Overseas Filipino Workers) are hailed as modern day heroes. They contributed a lot in the economy, sending back money to their loved ones for local consumption. Thus, fuelling our economy. It is estimated that their total contribution alone contributed to around 11% of the countries GDP (gross domestic product) according to 2018 data. They are mainly responsible in fuelling local consumption in the community.

Children of OFW’s enroll in a good private school. Their tend to build a new house for themselves or in renovation stage for their existing one. They have the money to visit mall and do shopping. They eat in the restaurants and consume more than the non OFW family. Their role in the economy is huge, most of us are dependent on them.

Philippines number 1 export is perhaps manpower, the OFW’s. There are around more than 10M Filipinos working abroad, all over the world. Out of 110 million Filipinos, roughly around 10% are working abroad. OFW’s are in such high regard that a lot of young kids dream is to be an OFW like them one day.

Pandemic happens this 2020. It wreaks havoc globally, leaving billions of people unemployed. Planes are grounded, international ships are docked, tourism stopped, people get sicked and businesses closed their doors.

This happens worldwide, most especially to those countries where OFW’s are working. Massive unemployment make their jobs vulnerable and eventually they are first one to get laid off from their job. Why would a country hire a foreigner if their local citizens can’t find job either? It’s easier for the host country to let them go and sacrifice to help their own citizen. We can’t blame them, we will do the same if we were on their shoes.


With this current situation, OFW’s feel the heat of the pandemic. Base on October data from DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment), there are around 1.6M affected OFW’s by the current pandemic. A lot of them are repatriated back to the country, added to the growing number of unemployed individuals. They will have a hard time getting a new job for sure. DOLE already spent more than PHP 3 billion to help them, but it’s really not enough to help them all. Our government, like most of the world, are in tight budget battling the pandemic.

With the news of the vaccine being roll out, there’s a glimmer of hope that everything will be back to normal soon. The only question is how soon the economy will rebound from its current state. How fast destination countries economy can recover so that they may need more workers.

We Filipino’s are known to be resilient. We rises from every tragedy and misfortunes that we may encounter. We may lost our livelihood, but we still have our family to support us. Every OFW’s dream is to help their family and uplift their lives. Let’s all pray and hope for the best in the coming months.

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