THERE is a steady increase in the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) leaving Cebu via the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

In 2014 alone, the number was 42,916.

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) 7 records show that 39,289 OFWs, mostly from the Visayas and Mindanao, left via MCIA in 2012. In 2013, the number rose to 41,391.

From January to May 2015, 22,726 OFWs left Cebu.

Speaking during a press conference to coincide with Migrants’ Day yesterday, Director Evelia Durato of the POEA 7 said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported that OFWs have contributed at least $27-billion to the Philippine economy.

“We don’t know how much is the share of OFWs from the Visayas and Mindanao in the $27 billion remittance unless we go over the entire BSP report. But we believe it’s a big portion,” Durato said.

However, Durato said several OFW families failed to save and went penniless when they were no longer capable of working abroad.

Luxurious

“Sometimes, they said OFW money is like a curse. Within the few years of working abroad, they were able to buy a house, cars and other luxurious items and suddenly these are gone. That’s why we have to teach them how to manage their resources.

“The trend (of OFWs) in Cebu is increasing in terms of deployment. There is at least five percent increase annually. This is an indication that more Filipinos chose the legitimate way of going abroad,” Durato said.

Most of the OFWs are skilled workers deployed in the in the United States, the Middle East, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Europe.

In the same press conference, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said the top five complaints of OFWs or against OFWs are: 1) non-remittance by OFWs to their legitimate families; 2) request for repatriation by OFWs for being overworked and non-payment of salaries; 3) medical and health reasons; 4) repatriation of human remains of OFWs who died abroad; and 5) repatriation due to homesickness.

No remittance

On financial support, Mae Codilla, OWWA 7 chief of program and services, said some families of OFWs complained that they never received remittance from their relative abroad.

Codilla said that in some cases, the wife complained that her husband was supporting a second family.

Some wives want to collect the salary of their husbands directly from their employers abroad. Or they want their husbands to come home.

“This case is beyond the control of OWWA because it is a personal matter. We just remind OFWs who have complaints of non-remittance of their obligations to their families,” Codilla said.