Philippines | Labour Pains

While overseas Filipino workers help the economy stay afloat, their families back home pay a high price

01 November 2011
Lyni, 28, lives in Malate and is the daughter of an OFW who works in Singapore. Although her mother’s remittances put Lyni through college, she feels frustration towards OFWs.
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Lyni, 28, lives in Malate and is the daughter of an OFW who works in Singapore. Although her mother’s remittances put Lyni through college, she feels frustration towards OFWs.
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SITTING OUTSIDE the small pharmacy she and her husband own in Palawan—the Philippines’ western-most province, a far-flung island known as the last frontier—Diana recounts how she let her application for American citizenship lapse.

“We never responded to the [US] embassy,” she says. “So then they sent us a letter: ‘It seems you are not interested in pursuing your application, so we are canceling [it].’”

Diana, 31, shrugs and takes another bite of fried banana, a popular Filipino street food. A motorised tricycle coughs by, its driver looking for a customer. A few stray dogs, whip-skinny, drift past. I watch them make their way down the road, which is dotted with palm trees, nipa huts and the occasional cement building. It’s typhoon season and heavy grey clouds arrange themselves on the horizon.

Mya Guarnieri is a Jerusalem-based journalist and writer whose work has appeared in dozens of international outlets.

Keywords: manila economy labour family children Philippines Letters From NGO employment US embassy Jose Rizal migration jobs OFW overseas Filipino workers
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