IN OUR column today, we shared with our readers relevant issues on the subject of Filipino migration and overseas employment today. If some people may be wondering without attention to the issues of many Filipinos abroad as overseas workers or migrants, this concern arises mainly from the impact of this topic which has become historic and notable features of the Philippines today.

It is also a significant aspect of our country today that while Filipinos have been working abroad or migrating to various nations in the globe during the past decades, the phenomenon of a substantial number of Filipinos, variously estimated at about 10 million today or more, is a more recent development. And while Filipino migrants to the USA, Canada, England, Australia and other countries have been continually increasing, the number of Filipino OFWs has also notably expanded to the estimated several millions annually with the biggest number in the Middle Eastern countries.

Obviously, the main reason for this event is the economic factor which has drawn countless Filipinos to migrate or take the risks of being OFWs to find contractual employment in these countries. The migrants among these Filipinos who succeed in entering attractive destinations such as the USA, Canada, UAE and other developed countries are certainly more fortunate.

This column also wishes to highlight the tens of thousands of Filipino OFWs who annually are able to work as crew members in the international shipping industry.

Whether they are recruited as crew members in international cargo ships or more fortunately as workers in different jobs aboard luxury cruise ships bringing wealthy tourists around the world, these Filipino workers have gained the recognition of being preferred by many international shipping or luxury liners abroad for their competence and good working relations.

It is also notable that these Filipino workers in the international shipping industry are reported to have contributed a substantial part of the estimated billion dollars or so of remittances for the coffers of the country every year.

In our last column also, we underscored the major challenges of the various economic, social, family and other related difficulties being encountered especially by OFWs over the past several decades. While our column has space limitations preventing more details, it is enough for our purpose here to point out that these various problems have been widely known and relevant government and private sector agencies have been reported as taking the needed steps to address the problems which should be sustained.

Particularly on the part of the government, it is assuring that various agencies in both the Philippines and in the countries where OFWs are located are both working together on these issues. The main message here is for all entities concerned to sustain and strengthen their common efforts to help these workers cope with their difficulties.

On the other hand, the family related OFW problems here are somewhat different with the migrants to the USA, Canada, Australia, UK and other nations which have accepted Filipino migrants. Nevertheless, the difficulties of these Filipino migrants have also had some negative effects on their families in the Philippines.

Understandably, the separation of parents or family members, the attendant financial difficulties and other related family problems have needed relevant assistance from both government and private sectors in both countries. What has been the main hope of Filipino migrants to the countries which have accepted them has been the approval of these migrants to eventually reunite with their families abroad.

Our coming column will take up other relevant issues continuing to face Filipino migrants and OFWs today.