Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

The Philippines Modern Heroes (OFWs)

Tomorrow, March 30, 2011, three Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), two of them women, will be executed in China, despite Philippine government’s desperate plea for leniency. Sally Villanueva, Elizabeth Batain and Ramon Credo, reportedly victims of West African Drug Syndicate and convicted as drug mules, will succumb to death by lethal injection.

700 OFWs, many of them women, are in death row. As menial jobs vanish in global recession, desperate Filipinos resort to dangerous means. In China, 167 OFWs face death penalty, mostly for drug trafficking. Our Foreign Affairs Department disclosed that since 2007, international drug syndicates target Filipino women since they communicate well in English, either for them to pick up drugs in one country and smuggle them to China, or the syndicate comes here and recruits them to take drugs to China or elsewhere. These women are paid between US$500 and US$5,000 to swallow tubes containing drugs, hide them in their luggage, sometimes dissolved and soaked into paper or books. Recently, a domestic worker swallowed a tube of cocaine and tried to smuggle it into the Ninoy Aquino International Airport where she was arrested. She was working in Pakistan but her husband died. Moneyless and desperate to come home, she was helpless until someone offered to pay her to swallow the drugs. Many women, in desperation, are forced to grasp the sharp end of the knife.

Last month, 14 Taiwanese arrested for drug trafficking in the Philippines and deported to China upon the Chinese Embassy’s request sparked a dispute between Taiwan’s government and ours, compromising the fate of 100,000 OFWs in Taiwan.

There are over 200 destinations of OFWs worldwide. Of these, Philippine Overseas Employment Authority declared only 85 countries safe for Filipinos. And yet, Filipinos insist on working abroad.

We call our OFWs BAGONG BAYANI (modern heroes) because their blood, sweat and tears keep the Philippine economy afloat. Without them my country’s economic capability will dwindle in the face of local instability and global recession. Since 1974 Philippine government has recognized overseas employment as key factor in economic development, with remittances as major source of foreign currency earning. Local economists say OFW remittance impacts as life support system to our ailing economy.

Up close, who are the OFWs? Do they get the care and protection they so much deserve and badly need? Are their contributions worth their sacrifices?

My younger sister, a 49-year-old mother of six and estranged from her husband in favor of his mistress who bore him five more children, has worked in the Middle East since 2003. She has escaped from her employer and was deported many times, but despite pain of separation, dismal conditions and ugly experiences, each time she went back to the Middle East for employment. As single provider, her salary hasn’t been enough, that her three older boys quit college and the younger ones dribbled for care from one of us siblings to another.

In recent years, exodus of OFWs increased rapidly. Last year, OFW remittance was almost US$18 billion. This January, Central Bank of the Philippines reported OFW remittance of US$1.4 billion, while the Bureau of Internal Revenue collected Php74.57 billion from remittance taxes - a favorable kick-off to the government agency tasked to collect Php940 billion for 2011.

In 2009, OFW remittances totaled US$17.348 billion – the highest among past records. Five years ago, the Philippines was fourth largest recipient of foreign remittances, with India being first, followed by China and Mexico. At US$10 billion in 2005, the amount was grossly 13.5% of Philippines Gross Domestic Product that year.

Estimated at 9 to 11 million worldwide, OFWs represent about 11% of our population, which earned them the label “global Filipinos”. Annually, over a million Filipinos leave the country for employment abroad. Since 2004 female OFWs has grown, now comprising about 60% of our income earners abroad.

The destination of the bulk of OFWs is the United States of America, followed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2008, the Philippines surpassed China as leading source of Canada’s immigrants.

In 2007, the US State Department estimated about 4 million Filipinos in the USA. It’s embarrassing that Filipino women comprise a huge percentage of approximately 4,000 to 6,000 women who come to the USA each year as mail-order brides or through internet courtship, or by direct contact with American travelers. Unfortunate, too, that majority of Filipino women abroad are lowly employed, often on jobs requiring personal services. Mostly professionals and well-educated, they set aside pride and dignity to be economically productive. The exodus carries an increasing number of skilled workers to work for unskilled positions, that issues on “brain drain” and underemployment are alarming. This is rampant with teachers working as babysitters or domestic helpers, nurses as nannies or caregivers, accountants as salesladies and pharmacists as medical transcriptionists. Even medical doctors have to undergo retraining to work as therapists and nurses. This grievous condition is rising as each year hundreds of thousands of new college graduates face local unemployment.

A fraction of 300,000 Filipinos in Japan are OFWs, 90% of whom are in the entertainment industry, mostly women. But economic impact of Japan’s tsunami to the Philippines is immense. Japanese government funds 35% to 37% of our Overseas Development Assistance. Last year, Japan extended US$3.4 million in loans and US$146.8 million in grants. Our tourism will suffer badly considering that Japanese are the third biggest group of tourists visiting our golf courses, beaches and cultural attractions yearly. In 2010, 360,000 Japanese tourists filled our vaults with US$300 million. Exportations will be terribly affected since Japan imports 98% of its banana consumption from our country, pegged at US$7.8 billion last year. If present threat of radiation forces us to repatriate our countrymen, cost is a whooping Php13.2 billion (US$300 million)!

Last month, the devastating earthquake in Christ Church, New Zealand killed eleven Filipinos, leaving many of my countrymen there homeless and jobless. But they prefer to stay rather than risk unemployment back home.

The Middle East employs over two million Filipinos, in legal and illegal entries. The largest hirer of OFWs, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia employs over a million Filipinos, the fourth largest group of foreigners in the KSA and our second highest source of remittances. In 2008 alone, Saudi Arabia had 300,000 job orders for Filipinos. Presently, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in the Philippines processes from 800 to 900 jobs for Filipinos daily.

Our meagre finances bleeds profusely with prevailing unrest in North Africa and the Arab world, with repatriations from Egypt, Libya (about 600 million pesos and rising) and now Japan. And it seems like situations are worsening as our Foreign Affairs Department places fifteen countries in alert watch list: Yemen, Algeria, Oman, and Bahrain under cause for concern, and Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, and Saudi Arabia under careful monitoring.

Yet, over and above this prevailing economic nightmare is the perennial problem concerning female OFWs that need to be addressed, for whatever it takes, for all it’s worth. Migrante – a Manila-based OFW organization, reported that frequently female OFWs in the Middle East become victims of sexual abuses, maltreatment, violence, unpaid salaries, and other related labor malpractices. Migrante observed that some Filipinos are lured, faked, fooled and transported abroad illegally, where they are left stranded without work and forced to take humiliating jobs or go about scavenging to survive.

On January 15th this year, 84 OFWs with minor children were repatriated from Kuwait, mostly women who left their employers for alleged abuse and maltreatment and non-payment of their salaries.

About 40 OFWs who ran away from abusive employers, mostly women with 15 infants and children, camped out in tents under Khandara Bridge in Jeddah since December 2010 hoping for repatriation, braving the elements and reeling under a cold spell aggravated by lack of food, until in mid-January 2011they had to remain standing because the area was flooded.

In 1996, the death sentence by firing squad of 17-year old Sarah Balabagan in the United Arab Emirates caused great controversy. Balabagan, born in 1979 in Maguindanao, was fourth of fourteen siblings, seven of whom died in childhood. She confessed being abused by an uncle as a child. Like many young Filipino women driven by utter destitution, she cheated on her age and was barely a teenager when she worked as domestic helper in the UAE. In July 1994, she killed her Arab employer with 34 stab wounds, alleging that he tried to rape her. In June 1995, a court ruled out she was guilty of manslaughter and a rape victim, and sentenced her to seven years imprisonment with payment of 150,000 dirhams (US$40,000) blood money to relatives of the deceased, while awarding her 100,000 dirhams (US$27,000) as rape compensation. But then the prosecution appealed the verdict for death penalty, and in September 1995, a second Islamic court found no evidence of rape and convicted her of premeditated murder.

Balabagan’s death sentence was actually a twist of good fate, since it triggered an international outcry and a defense campaign in many countries. Her case symbolized ill-treatment of domestic servants in the Persian Gulf countries. UAE President Sheikh Zayed made a personal appeal for mercy and the victim's family dropped their execution demand for blood money. Balabagan’s sentence was reduced to a year's imprisonment and 100 cane strokes in five days and payment of blood money, which was donated by a Filipino businessman.

However, Flor Contemplacion and Delia Maga early that year were not that fortunate. In Singapore, Contemplacion, a 42-year-old mother of four, was convicted of killing fellow Filipina domestic helper Delia Maga and four-year old epileptic Nicloas Huang whom Maga was hired to care for as a stay-in domestic helper of the Huangs. Contemplacion was hanged at Changi Prison in March 1995. It was widespread accepted belief among Filipinos that Contemplacion was frame-up victim, supported by substantial evidence that her plea of guilt was made under duress. Journalist Abbie Bakan disclosed that essential evidences indicating that she was beaten, tortured with electric shocks, drugged, tied to a chair and left almost naked without access to food or the toilet, pelted with ice and submerged in water, molested by interrogation officers and hypnotized as the police extracted confessions from her were not entertained during court trial She was imprisoned for 4 years, 2 years under death row. Filipinos frustratingly put the blame on government’s neglect.

Two Filipino witnesses alleged that Huang's father framed up Contemplacion for double murder, claiming that the father strangled Maga in rage after finding his epileptic son accidentally drowned in the bath tub in a seizure attack. Since the father was unable to identify a suspect, the police implicated Contemplacion using Maga’s diary. The Singaporean court rejected the testimony as fabrications. The execution went ahead despite Philippine President Fidel Ramos's personal plea to the Singaporean government to stop it.

A newborn baby boy was found in the toilet trash bin of Gulf Air Flight 154 on September 13, 2010. His mother, a domestic helper in Qatar for four years, is married and has children. She last left for work in the Middle East on July 9, 2009, and gave birth on the plane upon her return to the Philippines. The National Bureau of Investigation disclosed possibility of human trafficking and rape.

“If rape is inevitable, just relax and enjoy.” This statement drew grievous outrage from the Philippine populace during the 1991 Gulf War, quipped by no less than our Foreign Affairs secretary who served under our first woman president Corazon Aquino during a senate hearing where it was reported that Filipino women in Kuwait were being raped by soldier escorts who were supposed to see them across the desert through the border for safety.

Through the years OFWs accumulate tales of woes. Crushing poverty compels them to take the most degrading jobs anywhere across the globe. Every year over a million Filipinos, a growing number women, exhaust everything at home to leave for overseas employment, selling whatever little they have and even resorting to high-interest loans.

Now OFWs confront grim realities worldwide: spreading chaos in North Africa and the Middle East; earthquake aftermath in New Zealand; tsunami devastation and nuclear radiation in Japan; and recession in Western nations. Yet, because of troubling uncertainties back home, many prefer to hang on. Filipinos fleeing poverty are forced to accept jobs spurned by those who have other options. The worst jobs, in the worst conditions, are the only “chances” to poor Third World migrants.

Today’s economic hemorrhage is a horrible nightmare – drastic decrease in remittances, increasing cost of repatriations and rising oil prices (unfortunately, the Middle East, where our OFWs are losing jobs, is where we import oil). However, our government is trying to conquer this predicament. Indonesia, during President Aquino’s recent state visit, committed to supply our oil and petroleum requirements in case our current source cannot make it. Also, the KSA offers 3,000 jobs to OFWs repatriated from Libya. The US Embassy has likewise opened 6,600 local jobs for Philippine-based American industries. As well, Australia offers 10,000 jobs for Filipinos. Our Overseas Employment office is negotiating with other Asian countries for job opportunities. At least, despite continuous economic bleeding, we have managed to find solutions.

What remains is the perennial problem on maltreatment of female OFWs, where we count on international support and global institutions for assistance and solutions. The Philippines is not wanting in its concern and support for women. In fact, besides the Philippine Women Commission under the Office of the President, many executive branches are headed by women. We also have Committees on Women and Gender Equality in our legislature, and various civil society groups and non-government organizations advocating women causes. Unfortunately, this is not enough for female OFWs, because even our embassies and consulates can hardly defend and protect them. More often, embassies and consulates are limited to assistance on repatriation. In fact, just this week the KSA banned hiring of OFW-domestic helpers following our government’s report on sexual abuses, maltreatment and labour malpractices and consequent request to increase their monthly salaries from US$200 to US$400. Further, our overseas office has requested KSA employers of OFW-domestic helpers to provide sketches of their residences for easy access in case repatriation is imminent. We believe that said initiatives have something to do with the ban.

We rejoice in unceasing gratitude on the recent installation of the United Nations Women. This is surely the chance and incentive to ensure protection of rights and preservation of well-being of women anywhere in the world, regardless of nationality. Once and for all, the UN Women should address maltreatment, unfair labor practices and violence against women worldwide.

Equally important is the International Violence Against Women Act. Our hope is that President Obama and all world rulers will open borders, build bridges and destroy barriers to foreigners. Creed, culture, gender and race should not divide us. Instead, our differences should bind us into one caring and sharing international community. After all, we share one world. Humanity is one global family.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 30 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

Comments

nilima's picture

Hi Emie, you are one of my

Hi Emie,

you are one of my Hero, an inspiration :):):) Thankful to world pulse for connecting me to you and all the VOF friends:):)

and congratulations for your final assignment:)

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Thanks Nilima!

We are each other's hero, sister! If not for your unceasing support and inspiration, I could not have made it to the finish line this way. The bonding is so strong now that I am sure another amazing journey awaits all of us as we scale our pathways as one big hand holding half the sky.... All the best...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

nilima's picture

Yes you are true and i am

Yes you are true and i am happy that we all are together!!!

Ruth Beedle's picture

So gripping!

Emie;

Thank you for all your perseverance to make this story the best possible. Your intro was gripping and throughout you told a story of immense importance. Thank you for hanging in there and working through all the comments and suggestions and for making this article the best one yet!

I so appreciate your hard work throughout this VOF training and writing competition. Not only have you grown tremendously, as is evidenced by the sequence of stories, you have been an integral part of the WP community here and through Facebook.

What a joy you are, Emie. I am so proud and pleased and blessed to have been able to work with you throughout this process.

Thank you!!!

Ruth

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Blessings, blessings!

Ruth!!! I know now why I had to lose the job I have loved for almost ten years. Such a blessing in disguise! It was when I was whisked out from my comfort zone that I stumbled into World Pulse. Nothing happens by accident, really! Saying goodbye to my old job was bearable because I said "Hello World" to amazing global sisters who welcomed, encouraged, inspired and saw me through my unexpressed pain, anxiety and disillusionment.

Actually, I changed gear the last minute. Up to the time of the execution yesterday we were glued to our TV screens hoping and praying for a miracle - that the 3 OFWS will be spared. We pleaded for clemency when it was first announced last February 11, 2011 that execution will take place on February 21 and 22, 2011. Our President wrote three times while our Vice President really went to China to talk it out with the Chinese government. The execution was deferred until last week we were informed that it would finally take place yesterday. We don't blame the Chinese government. All we wanted was for the penalty to be commuted to even life sentence because we need their assistance to be able to track down members of the syndicate that victimized them. But, well ... surely God has a much greater purpose.

Ruth, thanks a million .... I know we have just started another wonderful journey .... I am right here ...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Ruth Beedle's picture

So sorry....

Emie;

I am sorry to hear that yesterday was spent watching people you had been praying for be executed. I am so deeply saddened that anyone believes it is in their authority to take the life of another human being. Once upon a time I used to be 'for' capital punishment, but somewhere along the way I have become strongly opposed. Everyone - no matter their crime -is a child of God and only God should know the date of their death.

I am glad you found World Pulse because it meant that I found you. And I can't imagine a world without Emie in it.

And I am right here, Emie. Your always friend and sister and mentor whenever you need it.

Love

R

Emie Zozobrado's picture

It's sad ..., very sad!

Ruth, we had capital punishment in the past, under the rule of President Ramos (a military general who graduated at Westpoint - USA), but it had been abolished by the president who succeeded him (President Estrada - who was ousted). Our justice system is far from perfect ... and death penalty is irreversible! Over a hundred countries have abolished death penalty. We have to go on working for a more compassionate humanity.

And, yes, I'm glad I had to go through what I have gone through ... because I found all of you here, at World Pulse! Another amazing journey has begun ... and I am correctly certain it will go on and on, as more and more women will walk the paths we pave ... All the best ..

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

One of Many's picture

What a testamonial feature story

Hi, Emie:

How do you do it? One great piece after another, plumb full of facts, figures, feeling, and -- best yet -- vision!

Congratulations, dear one. I can only imagine how it feels to be in the place you are now, having worked so hard to achieve these pieces within the shifting landscape of your own life, and with such poignant, timely, heart-wrenching material.

My hat is off to you, and I offer my heartiest thanks to you for allowing me to accompany you on this journey.

This last piece took me on quite a journey reading it -- whew! Well done!

Namaste.

Anna
Speaking My Peace

Speaking my Peace

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Anna, I had angels around me!

Anna, my unending gratitude! It was such an amazing journey because your are there, standing by me all along. It was not easy for me to change gear right at the crossroads. I had to capture the moment, painful and frustrating though it was, because I can't miss to tell the world what we are going through right now.

As the training draws to a close, I am eager to start another wonderful journey with all of us bonded into more meaningful, encompassing and enjoyable exchanges .... no more writing assignments to work on and deadlines to beat! Wow! I will still be writing, of course, but this time not to introduce myself but to embrace humanity. All the best...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

One of Many's picture

Oh, goodness ~~

Dear Emie ~

I call out to Goodness -- because it seems there is so much trouble and wrong in the world. I am doubly troubled by this news about the executions, since you have worked so hard to voice the need for justice.

Yes, angels are around us ... and only humans can make the choice to change behavior. I was having a discussion yesterday with someone who helps me see past the idealized visions I have of making change. Oppression is built into the social structure.

Nevertheless, we need to believe, and to continue to work for what we know is right. You do such a powerful job of it, and the more heart I hear in your writing, the more powerful it is.

In sisterhood,

Anna

Speaking my Peace

Anna, I draw strength and courage from you, Ruth, and the rest of the sisters. I can only be as powerful as your faith in me. I cannot stop rejoicing, feeling so secure and so humbled in that faith. We will definitely work for change and nothing can stop us now ... All the best...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Caitlyn's picture

Amazing

Emie, thank you for bringing this issue into a new light. This is something I had never heard of before, and you write so passionately, that I thoroughly enjoyed your story (though I was saddened by its contents). You are an incredible writer, and I'm so pleased I got to read this remarkable work by you. Thank you again. Peace and blessings. Caitlyn

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Thanks a lot, Caitlyn!

Caitlyn, I've been aching to tackle this issue since the start of the VOF 2010 journey, because it is something I feel so deeply and strongly about. I had to wait for this last writing assignment because I am allowed the luxury of the longest word limit - but still I found myself bursting inside with so much to express. In fact, I had briefly introduced this issue on my letter to US President Obama as well as to the UN Women. There goes the wisdom of waiting - because the piece coincided with the execution of the 3 OFWs - for the first time in China, which gave it the necessary impact and urgency! The tales of woes of OFWs are truly soul-wrenching and heart-rending. With about 10% of our population (and growing) all across the globe, battling with issues on color, creed and culture, it's really a major and alarming concern for us. I have a sister and many many cousins, relatives and friends working overseas - simply because there is not much chance in our backyard. It's real sad that in seeking for a greener pasture you may end up in a snake pit, a lion's den, or a dungeon. I do hope I have raised my voice high enough to be able to draw attention. Thanks for taking time to care ... all the best...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Thanks a lot, Caitlyn!

Caitlyn, I've been aching to tackle this issue since the start of the VOF 2010 journey, because it is something I feel so deeply and strongly about. I had to wait for this last writing assignment because I am allowed the luxury of the longest word limit - but still I found myself bursting inside with so much to express. In fact, I had briefly introduced this issue on my letter to US President Obama as well as to the UN Women. There goes the wisdom of waiting - because the piece coincided with the execution of the 3 OFWs - for the first time in China, which gave it the necessary impact and urgency! The tales of woes of OFWs are truly soul-wrenching and heart-rending. With about 10% of our population (and growing) all across the globe, battling with issues on color, creed and culture, it's really a major and alarming concern for us. I have a sister and many many cousins, relatives and friends working overseas - simply because there is not much chance in our backyard. It's real sad that in seeking for a greener pasture you may end up in a snake pit, a lion's den, or a dungeon. I do hope I have raised my voice high enough to be able to draw attention. Thanks for taking time to care ... all the best...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Frances Faulkner's picture

opening eyes

Emie,

This is a wonderful piece packed full of food for thought. I love the details, stories and facts that layer in with your clear passion about the issue and bring the reader into the heart of your story very quickly. I found myself thinking about it all day yesterday after reading your article as I did not realize how many OFWs there are and to what extent they have had to fight -- I would like to know more.

Keep up the good work and inspirational voice for those around you.

Frances

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Thanks so much, Frances!

Frances, I can write a book about OFWs! It's something I feel so deeply and strongly about. Thanks a lot for taking the time to listen to my voice. All the best...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Emie, yiou might as well have been writing about Zimbabweans here!!!! Zimbabweans are in the same situation, working all over the world just because the situation back home is so awful.

This part of your article really spoke to me, "The exodus carries an increasing number of skilled workers to work for unskilled positions, that issues on “brain drain” and underemployment are alarming. This is rampant with teachers working as babysitters or domestic helpers, nurses as nannies or caregivers, accountants as salesladies and pharmacists as medical transcriptionists. Even medical doctors have to undergo retraining to work as therapists and nurses."

So many trained and skilled Zimbabweans have left the nation to work as cleaners on the streets and other degrading work. I remember once being on a bus with a Zimbabwean woman who had left her job in South Africa (as a maid) because the boss was making her stay up all day and night to work and work for peanuts. When you are desperate you do anything. And it is so sad...

Keep writing my sister. It was so lovely to hear you voice yesterday... Thanks for all your sunshine :)

from today i live out of my imagination
i am more than my yesterday
tomorrow i plant a new seed
nothing that lies behind easy
nothing that is ahead real
my within is all i have today
*Napo Masheane*

Yes, Fungai, it's real sad. That's why we just have to raise our voices higher and louder together ... because there is no other way to freedom and empowerment but to let the world know we are serious about reclaiming what we deserve ... everything denied and deprived of us. One day our voices will touch the deepest sensitivities of humanity. Nothing can stop us now. In poor countries, women carry double burdens. It is not supposed to be this way! We have got to hold hands firmly across the skies ... or half the sky will fall down!

I am right here, Fungai ...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

mrbeckbeck's picture

Powerful work, sister!

Emie, wow, what a great feature story!

You automatically reeled me in with your intro paragraph, and then kept me engaged throughout with your blend of specific stories, and statistics. I was alarmed to learn how many workers are leaving the country for uncertain futures... desperate situations drive people to any solution they can find it seems.

I share your hope that UN Women can advance solutions for women in your country and around the world. It will take a lot of feminine ingenuity to emerge from the global crises that dominant-masculine ways of being have created. Together we can do it!

Best,
Scott

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Manager

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Thanks always, Scott!

Scott, in my heart ... in my soul, I know we can make it! Thanks for hanging on with us at World Pulse. We need men like you to stand by us! It's a long road to freedom, but we are right now on our way. I'm real hopeful that UN Women and IVAWA will make a difference. I have lots of family and friends all around the globe - OFWs, transient/global Filipinos whose tales of woes are beyond my grasp. It's real sad that third world citizens have to gather bread crumbs all their lives all around the earth. And mostly, women carry the heavier burden. We are right here ... women who are seriously committed to change the world for the better. We will certainly walk the talk! Scott, thanks for being there for us ...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Thank you

Dear Emie,

Thank you for opening our eyes to the millions of overseas Filipino workers. I see many of these women in the US and abroad when I travel, and yet the details of their lives haven't been clear to me until your story. Thank you for speaking up for your countrywomen!

Kind regards,

Rachael

"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Thanks, too, Rachael!

Rachael, I cannot thank World Pulse enough. It has given me the venue and the incentive to speak my truth the way I want it heard - all across the globe. Oh yes, the USA is host to the biggest bulk of OFWs. I do hope our unified voice will touch the heart of President Obama and all the powerful rulers. And I do hope the UN Women can really make a difference. I am right here ...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Farona's picture

Emie My dearest sis, I

Emie

My dearest sis, I really wanted you to write about this issue. And you did!

My deepest empathy to your sister, her story is not unfamiliar to me. I passed by the Kandara bridge quite sometime and the situation there is appalling. And yes, during the flood crises it got worse.

I wish our Governments would work together to enhance more people-to-people relationship and understand each other on

individual level. Often times we reduce overseas workers to just workers and forget that there stories behind the faces of these workers.

Congratulations on such a wonderfully thoughtful written piece.

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Thanks a lot, Farona!

I did want to write about our OFWs since the start of the training. In fact, I have stressed this issue in my letter to President Obama and the UN Women. World Pulse is really a blessing, and I'm so thankful for this venue where we can pour our beings out freely and openly. Our governments should really reach out to each other. We are one global family and we just have to live in harmony with the rest of the world. And we need to tell our stories until we are heard. We are here for each other and we will prevail...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Paulina Lawsin's picture

Book on OFWs

It's a brilliant idea to write a book about OFWs. They are heroes out there whose exploits need to be known and celebrated. Good luck in your next endeavor.

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Thanks, Pau!

would need much time and a lot of help from many people to be able to realize my dream of writing a book on OFWs, because testimonies and personal/intimate accounts are very necessary to gain credence. One day I will really plunge into this dream of mine and rally all those within my reach who have something to say.Thanks for the support and appreciation, kabayan.... all the best ...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Emie Zozobrado's picture

Thanks, Pau!

I would need much time and a lot of help from many people to be able to realize my dream of writing a book on OFWs, because testimonies and personal/intimate accounts are very necessary to gain credence. One day I will really plunge into this dream of mine and rally all those within my reach who have something to say.Thanks for the support and appreciation, kabayan.... all the best ...

Always,
Emie Zozobrado

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Letters to a Better World

Letters to a Better World

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

womenspace's picture

CAMBODIA: Ordinary Women Can Make a Difference

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative