Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are often regarded as modern-day heroes due to their significant contributions to the Philippines and their families back home. These hardworking individuals leave their homes and loved ones to seek employment opportunities abroad, often in challenging and unfamiliar environments. Their sacrifices and dedication help uplift not only their own families but also the nation’s economy as a whole.
OFWs demonstrate remarkable resilience and determination as they navigate the hurdles of living and working in foreign countries. They take on various jobs, from domestic work to skilled professions, and their remittances play a crucial role in supporting their families’ financial needs, including education, healthcare, and housing. These remittances have a profound impact on the Philippine economy, contributing to increased consumer spending, investments, and overall economic stability. Moreover, OFWs serve as cultural ambassadors, promoting Filipino values, traditions, and skills to people from different nations, fostering understanding and cultural exchange.
This June 7th marks the celebration of Migrant Workers Day in the Philippines. This is an annual event that honors the hard work and sacrifices of our OFWs.
In this article, let’s show our appreciation and gratitude to our migrant workers through various means!
Fast Facts about OFWs
- Do you know that we are deemed as one of the leading producers of migrant workers in the world? Meaning, majority of the global workforce comes from the Philippines. In fact, from April to December 2021 alone, we’ve deployed about 1.8 million Filipinos abroad; and the number keeps on growing as the world transitions back into the pre-pandemic stage. In addition, the Department of Migrant Workers reported that there’s an additional 800,000 foreign workers deployed last 2022.
- We are also the largest producer of seafarers and maritime workers in the world since 1987, according to Data Spring.
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia holds the record for being the leading destination of migrant workers, eating up a total of 24.4% of the 1.8 million population. Next in line is United Arab Emirates with 14.4%. In terms of continents, Asia is the top destination (78.3%) followed by Europe (9.3%), and North and South America (8.9%).
- Do you know that majority of our OFWs are women? There are about 1.10 million women OFWs in 2021– that is 60.2% of the whole OFW population.
- The most common jobs of OFWs are construction workers, factory workers, foreign domestic workers, and administrative works.
- The leading source of remittances comes from OFWs based in United States amounting to $13.4 billion of $32.14 billion in 2022, according to Statista.
How this Day came to Be
The celebration of Migrant Workers Day is all thanks to the Republic Act No. 10022, which served as an amendment to the Republic Act No. 8042 or the Migrant Workers Act of 1995. The Philippine government recognizes the efforts and contributions of OFWs— the sole reasion why they enacted this law.
Section 19 stated that every government agency should join hands in commemorating the Migrant Workers Day every June 7th. In addition, a bill was filed declaring December 18th as the OFW Day. This bill also makes OFW Day as a special working holiday in the country.
Fun Ways to Celebrate Migrant Workers Day
There are a lot of ways to show our support and appreciation to our dear OFWs. Listed below are some of the genuine ways to pay tribute to migrant workers:
Say ‘thank you’
The two words may be short and simple, but they definitely hold a lot of value, especially to our migrant workers who endured a lot abroad just so they can provide to their families and children back here in the Philippines.
There are many ways to say thank you: from sending them a personalized message or video greeting, to making a quick phone call to show how thankful you are.
Spread awareness about Migrant Workers Day through social media, local communities, and educational institutions. Share stories, facts, and statistics about the challenges faced by migrant workers and their significant contributions to various sectors.
Organize cultural events
Celebrate the diverse cultures and backgrounds of migrant workers by organizing cultural events, such as festivals, food fairs, music and dance performances, or art exhibitions. Encourage the participation of both migrant workers and the local community to foster understanding and appreciation.
Host a film screening or discussion
Organize a screening of documentaries or films that shed light on the experiences and challenges faced by migrant workers. Follow up with a panel discussion to engage attendees in meaningful conversations about migrant workers’ rights and integration.
Advocate for migrant worker rights
Use Migrant Workers Day as an opportunity to advocate for fair treatment, equal opportunities, and better living conditions for migrant workers. Contact policymakers, write letters to local representatives, or support organizations that actively campaign for migrant worker rights.
Educate yourself and others
Take the time to educate yourself and others about the challenges faced by migrant workers. Read books, articles, or academic research to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences. Share this knowledge with friends, family, and colleagues to raise awareness and encourage empathy.
Remember, celebrating Migrant Workers Day is not limited to a single day; it should serve as a reminder to appreciate and support migrant workers throughout the year.
In line with the celebration of Migrant Workers Day, the Department of Migrant Workers (DWM) announced as weeklong celebration of the event starting from June 5th to 13th.
Migrant Workers Day is celebrated to honor and recognize the significant contributions and sacrifices made by migrant workers worldwide. This day serves as a reminder of the invaluable role they play in various sectors, including agriculture, healthcare, construction, and domestic work. By celebrating Migrant Workers Day, we acknowledge their hard work, resilience, and dedication in leaving their homes and families to seek employment opportunities abroad.
Moreover, celebrating Migrant Workers Day helps raise awareness about the challenges faced by migrant workers, such as labor exploitation, discrimination, and limited access to essential services. It provides an opportunity to advocate for their rights and push for improved working and living conditions. By recognizing and appreciating the contributions of migrant workers, we promote a more inclusive and equitable society that values the dignity and well-being of all individuals, regardless of their country of origin or immigration status. Migrant Workers Day is a powerful platform to foster empathy, understanding, and solidarity among people from different backgrounds, promoting a world that respects and celebrates the contributions of migrant workers.