‘Tell your loved ones how hard OFW life is’
Consul General Antonio Morales urged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong to tell their loved ones back in the Philippines about how hard it is to work abroad.
Morales spoke on October 14 at the launching of Go Earn Achieve Return Uplift Philippines (GEAR-UP!), a part of the Philippine government’s comprehensive OFW reintegration program.
“It’s very important that we have a common understanding of what overseas work entails. Akala ng mga kamag-anak natin madali lang kumita ng pera abroad,” Morales said.
“Kailangan malaman nila na hindi ganun kadali,” he added.
Morales said the families of OFWs should know how hard life abroad was so that they would not make unreasonable demands on their loved ones.
“When I was assigned in Italy, the workers there could invite their children to visit and that’s the time they see the work of their parents,” he said.
“Kahit anong gawing story, iba pa rin yung personal knowledge o personal experience,” he added.
Morales also urged OFWs to be prepared for the eventuality of returning home to the Philippines, noting that he had met many OFWs who had been in Hong Kong for more than 30 years.
“We never get tired of pounding on the importance of preparedness, of financial literacy, and having support when we go back home we have something to look forward to,” he said.
The GEAR-UP! program focuses on bringing home Filipino domestic workers and provide them with sustainable jobs and businesses in the country through social and economic programs such as facilitation of savings, investments and engaging in entrepreneurial activities.
It is a partnership between the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Atikha, a non-government organization that provides economic and social services to overseas Filipinos and their families in the Philippines.
“There is really a lot of people we have to reach out to. Eventually, we have to go home and we have to prepare for life in Philippines,” said Morales, noting that there were more than 230,000 OFWs in HK.
“We have to equip ourselves with the knowledge skills and right mindset to prepare for eventual reintegration,” he added.