There are more than 10 million OFW’s around the world pre pandemic scenario. They are the unsung hero helping our economy reach its milestone these days. However, during this pandemic, a lot of them are either displaced, unemployed or repatriated back to Philippines.
The effect of the pandemic is not limited to Filipinos. It’s happening worldwide, devastating even the 1st world countries. Billions are left unemployed, including our OFW’s on their respective countries.
These are some of the OFW common problems they are encountering today.
1. JOB SECURITY
The pandemic crippled world economy and left a lot of businesses closing. Thus, billions of people worldwide are left unemployed. OFW’s working at vulnerable sectors are the first casualties of these global catastrophe. Those with high position and working in a great company find themselves vulnerable having no job security at all. Only those in medical sectors are somewhat safe on their jobs. The rest, especially those in tourism sectors which consists most of the OFW’s suffered the consequences.
Before the pandemic, I used to travel monthly to Philippines to visit my family. With planes grounded and quarantine in place everywhere, going back to Philippines seems impossible. The fear of catching a virus plus job security outweighs our desire to go back. Work at home become the new normal with limited interaction among peers. For those who are not accustomed to these settings, loneliness kicks in. For some, it can lead to anxiety or depression. These days, these mental health problem are very common. With pandemic, cases will surely arise.
3. FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES
No one has prepared for the pandemic. Not even big countries like the US. For individual OFW’s relying on monthly salary, the pandemic prove catastrophic to their finances. Some lost their job, while for some they are working in under pay cut agreement. It’s still better that no income at all. With less or no emergency fund, financial burden arises. It’s usually our family in the Philippines that gives us more pressure especially if we are the only bread winner for them. The thought of where to get money to pay the monthly expenses can be very stressful.
With billions unemployed globally, part of those are OFW’s in various sectors working abroad. On October data from OWWA, there are hundreds of thousands Filipinos that are already in the Philippines due to unemployment. They are now added to millions of Filipinos that are unemployed. The fact is, finding employment during these time seems impossible. Who would hire during these times of uncertainty? And even if they do hire, who would hire an OFW like us compare to local job applicants?
5. NOT PREPARED
What if you are new OFW just started working and found yourself unemployed? What if you just bought a property in your hometown and still paying for the mortgage? What if you are the only breadwinner and the only hope for your family? Most OFW’s find themselves un prepared to cope with the situation like this. We are not prepared mentally, physically and financially. For some, they even have loans or debt for the funds they used applying abroad. No one is ready for this kind of situation.
These are the problems most OFW’s are currently facing. There may be more, but these are some on top of the list. Comment below if you are one of the OFW’s affected by the pandemic.