EDITORIAL| Tales of overseas workers

THE NEED to find jobs outside the country to earn a better income for the family by whatever means possible becomes so pressing that some people resort to unconventional ways just to leave. Stranger still are the things they do when they come home.

One such incident which the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration regional director Ed Bellido told the press at yesterday’s Kapehan, was the infant left by his mother to a person the mother just met at the NAIA Terminal 1. The mother, whose name was Vilma Lastima, was said to have deplaned from Jordan on her way to her hometown in Compostela Valley. She just asked the stranger to hold the baby for a while as she was going to talk to somebody at the airport. She also left a bag that contained a bottle of milk, some diapers and the infant’s passport. When she failed to return, the baby was turned over to social workers of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Bellido said that it is hard to cast judgment on the mother at this point. They tried looking for her in Compostela Valley where she was supposed to come from but OWWA failed to locate her or even find her name in any government registry.

He said that Lastima could be an undocumented worker, among many others, who leave the country on a tourist visa and then land a job in another country. Bellido raised concerns on the vulnerability of women like Lastima who find perhaps low-skilled jobs in other countries and who are susceptible to abuse.

Even some professionals choose to circumvent the process required by government agencies and find  jobs outside the country through irregular means such as going out on a tourist visa and not seek government’s assistance to become documented OFWs when they get a job out of the country. Because they are not documented, they cannot be reached by government services abroad when they need it.

The push and pull factors of labor migration are complicated and somehow personal. Unless jobs are available in the country and people can find work with the skills they have, going abroad to find work will always be a tempting option.

Posted in Opinion