Friday, February 21, 2020

Who are the Overseas Filipinos and the Difference between OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers)

Most of us are unaware and generally acknowledge that overseas Filipinos are all OFWs. Are they the same? The answer is NO.

Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) is a term to refer Filipino migrant workers. They are people with Filipino citizenship who reside in another country for a limited period because of employment.

The term “Overseas Filipino” refers to Filipinos who are abroad indefinitely as citizens (though naturalization) or as permanent residents of a different country (such as marriage migrants). The term also applies to a person who is of Filipino descent (half Pinoy) and Filipinos who are studying abroad.

There is an agency of the Philippine government that is tasked to promote and uphold the interests, rights and welfare of overseas Filipinos and strengthen their ties with the Motherland. 

Established on June 1980, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) is an agency of the Philippine Government under the Office of the President that serves as a premier institution in promoting policies, programs, and projects with Migration and Development as a framework for the strengthening of and empowering the community of Filipinos overseas. The commission has programs such as the Ugnayan Series that aims to reach out to the Filipinos in various regions of the world to monitor migrants welfare and YouLeaD which serves as a platform to enable Filipino youth overseas to rediscover their Filipino roots and heritage.

CFO organizes Migration Advocacy and Media (MAM) Awards yearly to recognize significant contributions of media practitioners from the Philippines and abroad in raising public awareness on Filipino migration issues advocating the cause of and promoting a positive image of Filipinos overseas.

There are over 10 million overseas Filipinos all around the globe. They constitute about 10 percent of the total population of the Philippines and sent back $32.2 billion to the Philippines in form of remittances in year 2019.

This large number of Filipinos residing in other countries leave us with so many questions. How are these Filipinos doing abroad? What are the struggles? Would be a person who is of Filipino descent still want to be attached to their roots in the Philippines?

Pinoy International Film Festival is much more than featuring Filipino and migration themed films. The festival also aims to bridge the gaps and inform everyone with the under-rated Overseas Filipino Heroes.

They are heroes too! Not just OFWs.

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