Philippines Overseas Filipino Workers
OFWs – Overseas Filipino Workers
How do the families who stayed at home use the remittances of the so-called Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), i.e. around 11 million Filipino migrants and contract workers living and working abroad? An interesting website is investigating this question, where tips are given on how to spend the money wisely. New studies show that the lion’s share of funds transferred is used for health. Another report identifies 60 percent of SAWs as poor.
According to statistics from the Central Bank of the Philippines, the sum totaled $ 2.6 billion in April 2018 alone. But in the end the amount should be much larger; Who has a precise overview of what money Filipinos have in all their pockets when they go home on the airplanes? In the first half of 2013, according to the central bank chief Amando Tetangco, the transfers amounted to the equivalent of almost 8.8 billion US dollars, which corresponds to an increase of over five percent compared to the same period in the previous year. In October 2014 alone, OFWs transferred the monthly record sum of € 2.22 billion.U.S. dollar. Most of the funds come from Filipinos from North America and the Near and Middle East including the Gulf States. In contrast, the ongoing crisis in the euro zone had a negative impact on the income of Filipinos working in southern Europe; many of them lost their jobs or suffered significant income losses.
Since the Marcos era (1966-86), the systematic export of Filipino labor has become the country’s trademark. Proponents of this policy therefore refer to the OFWs as “the nation’s new heroes”, while critics disagree and refer to them as “new martyrs”. “Martyrs” because OFWs in the past and today suffer from sometimes miserable living and working conditions and are exposed to various forms of humiliation, sexual harassment and violence. In the meantime, a number of cases – mainly from countries in the Near and Middle East – have become public and documented, from which it emerges that OFWs and OWs of other countries (including Indonesia) were literally kept as slaves by their employees. In some extreme cases, OFWs were publicly executed in their “host countries” after desperate action against their tormentors, seriously injuring or killing them. Saudi Arabia temporarily had one in early summer 2011 recruitment ban for household servants from Indonesia and the Philippines.
In recent times, among Filipinos committed to social policy at home and abroad, the question of whether and – if so – how the foreign currency earned abroad can be used to promote development at home has increasingly moved into the center of development policy discourse.
According to physicscat, the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) offers further information on different facets of the life and work of OFWs.
Development and development policy
According to the assessment of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the telecommunications sector and mining offer development opportunities. The Philippines has significant deposits of gold, copper and nickel. According to the BMZ, there is great development potential in the expansion of the use of renewable energies. Geothermal energy, wind energy and hydropower are the main focus here. The Philippines could become a leading producer of renewable energy and solar cells. The Philippines also took part in the conference on the establishment of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in January 2009 in Bonn.
Development cooperation in the Philippines
The Federal Republic of Germany has been involved in development cooperation (DC) in the Philippines since 1961 and is currently the fourth largest donor country to the Philippines ODA after Japan, the USA and Australia. Since the beginning of German-Philippine development cooperation, EUR 876 million (equivalent to around 54 billion peso) has been implemented in numerous projects. In government negotiations in June 2007, Germany pledged 20 million euros to the Philippines for two years – seven million euros for financial and 13 million euros for technical cooperation. In addition, the work of church organizations, political foundations and non-governmental organizations is funded by federal funds.
German development cooperation traditionally consisted of the following components:
- Sustainable economic development
- Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution in Mindanao
- Decentralization as a cross-cutting issue
The focus of German engagement is currently the development of the Caraga region in the northeastern part of Mindanao and the effects of climate change in the Philippines. Other regional programs that are financed by German development aid are the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asian Growth Area) and the CDIA (Cities Development Initiatives Alliance for Asia).
The German Embassy also provides in Manila, also in the case of the small projects she oversees, support in accordance with the motto “DC from a single source”. The focus is on income-generating measures and securing the basic needs of the poor in the southern Philippines, drawing on the expertise and skills of local experts from the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Center for International Migration (CIM).
In 2018, the Philippine government rejected a EUR 6.1 million (P 382.8 million) EU trade aid project.