Over the years, the Filipino community and diaspora around the globe has grown. Over the 1990s, the number of workers who ventured abroad exceeded the net addition to the Philippine workforce. With the prospect of a better quality of life, better pay and a politically stable country, foreign companies have been able to offer more lucrative and appealing deals, pirating away many Filipinos from the country.
Losing out the talents to these talented Filipino workers has serious effects for the country. Though they have continued to contribute economically to the growth of the Philippines, the development and potential of the country seems to have stagnated, with issues such as healthcare, poverty, and innovation not being tackled.
With the talent of many Filipinos seemingly going to the benefit of other countries, it is perplexing as to why the country is not tackling this issue. As a result, a need to find a solution to this ever-pressing could catapult the Philippines into an economic power, and a new Asian Tiger.
With thousands of Filipinos opting to pursue work elsewhere, local companies in computer software and programming have felt the tremendous losses. The aggressive tactics employed by foreign recruiters in developed countries have led to the loss of experienced professionals (i.e. project managers and supervisors).
Moreover, in other fields such as healthcare or teaching, higher levels of ‘brain drain’ are felt to address pressing problems in foreign countries. With a limited supply of nurses and teachers, turning to Filipinos who are interested in those professionals is a great way to be able to address labor shortages in those professions.
Ironically enough, this comes despite the fact that an average of 26,000 licensed nurses are produced each year in the Philippines, which shows how so many prefer the work opportunities outside of the country, despite the differences in culture and belief systems in foreign lands.
Though the pandemic has affected over seventy-five percent of Overseas Filipino Workers abroad, there will still be many who will seek the opportunity to work abroad once this pandemic is over, should there be little action to resolve the underlying problems that cause this issue.
Opportunities in the Philippines
The means to be able to maximize one’s potential and growth here in the Philippines are reserved for the elite and upper classes in society. As the Philippines has not fully transitioned into a technology-reliant society, there is a reason why so many Filipinos struggle to be able to find the necessary opportunities in their chosen fields.
Moreover, overworking and terrible facilities for many nurses and healthcare workers across the country have enticed many to seek employment elsewhere, even when it involves moving to a new country altogether. With so many patients to cover in a given moment of time, the opportunity to work here in the Philippines brings about a lot of stress and mental health for many workers.
Compared to other countries with adequate staff and materials for workers of all industries, many Filipinos find these jobs to be highly enticing. Not only are they able to maximize their talents and receive better pay, but overall they are able to enjoy a quality of life that they seemingly did not have back home.
Philippine Economy and its Potential
Being an English-speaking nation, it is surprising how the Philippines still continues to allow the pirating of their citizens to other nations. In Lee Kuan Yew’s book From Third World to First, he tackles the untapped potential of the Philippines.
“This was a pity because they had so many able people, educated in the Philippines and the United States. Their workers were English-speaking, at least in Manila. There was no reason why the Philippines should not have been one of the more successful of the ASEAN countries,” says the former Prime Minister.
Moreover, policies in previous administrations have led to widespread economic growth for the country over the past decade, even improving its rankings in all economic competitiveness and opening indices. Making significant strides in fighting issues in corruption, many neighboring and developed countries have lauded the country for its efforts over the past decade.
Though certain programs or policies have slowed down the growth of the country, all the pieces to future successes and prosperity are falling into place.
Solving ‘Brain Drain’
As the recruitment of Filipinos to other countries will seemingly continue for the next few decades, finding ways to circumnavigate around this problem could allow for improvement in the working conditions of Filipinos and the overall prosperity of the country.
Connecting with people from the provinces and far-fetched areas of the country who are interested in the certain sector could be a first step in the right direction. Transforming the country into a technology-reliant and literate society, and branching out to other cities outside of the National Capital Region could prove vital.
In trying to entice Overseas Filipino Workers to stay in the country, certain things need to be done in the political, social, and economic context. Through this, we may finally see the Philippines as one of the best in the world in the near future.