Who among us do not have a family member or even a relative currently working abroad? or as we commonly call them OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker). As per recent data there are about 12.5 million Filipinos working in different countries around the world.
Sending workers overseas I think even began before the World War II when many Filipinos were hired in the United States to work as fruit pickers. I can also remember, back in the late 70's many of our neighbors went to the Kingdon of Saudi Arabia to work as construction workers. In my own province, Laguna and neighboring Batangas whenever we see a very glamorous newly-built house often comment will be: "maybe the house owner is working in Italy".
Primarily many Filipinos opted to work overseas for economic reasons, because of the lack of employment opportunities in our own country, choices need to be made that is to go overseas and find work. I myself was an OFW once and now an OFW wife. My husband has been working overseas for more than eight years already.
More often working overseas equates to a bigger salary compared to working locally but it has its own many disadvantages. Oftentimes we heard of affected family relationships, OFWs abused, accidents and even death.
Such is the case that happened to OFW Alfredo Salmos who arrived last May 22. He already finished his contract but yet unable to return home due to lack of exit clearance because he got involved in a car accident 10 years ago. But while in wait, he worked as a part-timer where he met a tragic electrocution accident. His story went viral on the social networking sites seeking help primarily for medical assistance and to help him back home. But prior to all of these, the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Villar Foundation through its Sagip OFW have began coordinating with government entities to help him out.
Its a very good thing that there are private institutions that are willing to help an unlucky OFW like Alfredo Salmos. He is now back in the country but still needs financial assistance for his medical operations and medicine expenses. He needs to undergo 3 operations to correct the body parts that were badly damaged due to the electrocution accident so that he can again lead a normal life. As he wish, he would like to be a productive person once again and not a mere handicap.
The Blas F. Ople Policy Center is a non-stock, non-profit organization. Donations entrusted to them enable them to rescue, repatriate and help more distressed OFWs around the world. Aim with a vision of every OFW family to be happy, to have a better quality of life, and have more opportunities at home.
Likewise, the Villar Foundation, established in 1992 also as a non-stock, non-profit organization. One of their many advocacies is to reach out to underprivileged OFWs and their families through repatriation and other forms of assistance.
OFW: Participating in Elections
Another predicament that faces OFWs is the exercise of their rightful privileged as Filipino citizens and one of them is participating in elections. Just take note of those million of Filipinos working abroad wishing for their voices to be heard and to make a choice so as for the sake of their families back home.
Personally I can say why many of our countrymen still lived and worked overseas was because of these previously elected and still remained seated elected government officials. Until now there are no drastic changes or turn-about in our economic situation such the lack of opportunities to improved our living conditions.
If all OFWs can possibly participate in the coming 2013 elections probably there might be some variations in election results. But accordingly overseas absentee voting still entails many problems primarily geography and document requirement issues.
In view of this, especially those with OFW family members or relatives working abroad, let us encouraged them to register and vote for the coming 2013 elections. It might be difficult considering the hassle of going to the nearest Philippine embassy but "if we have the desire, everything can be made possible".
Also as set by COMELEC, the deadline for new voters registration, transfer of registration, validation, change of name, correction of entries can be done on or before October 31, 2012.