Toto waved goodbye to his family, wide-eyed with the promise of a bigger salary and vast opportunities abroad. They watched him slowly disappear in a sea of people queuing up for the next flight. It was a painful sight but it was a sacrifice he needed to make in order to give them a better life. Every day in the Philippines, hundreds of its human resources fly abroad to seek greener pastures due to the lack of employment, dissatisfaction with the government, or because of economic desperation.
This phenomenon is referred to as the “Filipino spiral”. According to the Oxford online definition, the word Diaspora comes from the Greek word “disappearing” meaning to scatter or disperse. It is often used to describe the dispersion of Jews beyond Israel. Throughout the years the word has been used to refer to populations moving out of their homeland and it has been a growing trend among Filipino families to have relatives working abroad. However, what is the implication of this phenomenon?
It is no doubt that the increasing number of migrant workers contribute to the economic growth of the Philippines every year. The recorded cash remittances of the Overseas Filipino Workers (Offs) reached $25. 1 billion for 2013 alone according to the Central Bank of the Philippines. Yet, the increasing trend of working and living abroad causes a so-called “Brain Drain” for the Philippines. The best and the brightest opt to work overseas and the effect is a decrease in the number of technical and intellectual labor for Philippine-based companies and businesses.
Some Job openings are hard to fill in because the skill set of those who are left here sometimes do not match or meet the requirements of locally based employers. The effect of this so called “Brain Drain” can’t be directly measured or unidentified but it can be observed. Many Offs have been able to survive living abroad though; they have successfully assimilated themselves with the culture of the country they are living in, achieved better economic standing, and succeeded in their chosen fields, but do they always go back to their homeland?
No. Unfortunately, Offs do not only go overseas to send back remittances but to also help their loved ones migrate abroad with them and live there for good; although, some are lucky enough to see this kind of dream materialize others end up being maltreated, disrespected and exploited by their employers and hey have no choice but to go home empty handed, back to square one, Jobless and broke, laden with regret of moving out of their homeland.
Of Living the American Dream: Implication of the Filipino Diaspora By ibex can the Philippines still recover from this kind of loss in the next years to come? All we can do is hope, so that the likes of Toto will no longer seek greener pastures elsewhere but rather nurture the country which gave them the reason to dream in the first place. Online source “Diaspora, n. ” ODE Online. June 2004. Oxford University Press. 18 Feb. 2014.