THERE is nothing wrong in working abroad when it's for the family's benefit. The ironic part here is most of the overseas workers do not practice what they actually studied. And in extreme cases, even our degree holders end up doing blue-collar jobs."

Maria is a fresh graduate of a technical program in the Philippines. After a year of experience, she immediately applied for a working visa in the United States. She worked as a domestic help and encouraged more Filipinos to apply because of good pay and benefits.

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This setting leads to a very crucial problem known as brain drain. This situation became first apparent in 1970 when foreign countries started to negotiate international work contracts to Filipinos. As of 2006, over 8 million are employed abroad.

In the present economic standing of the country, working overseas is not just an option but is rather a must in order to support one's family. These workers were lured by promises of good monthly salary that is double the possible annual income in the locale.

But even with good pay, workers abroad do not settle for one type of job. They do sidelines and other income generating activities just to earn more.

There is nothing wrong in working abroad when it's for the family's benefit. The ironic part here is most of the overseas workers do not practice what they actually studied. And in extreme cases, even our degree holders end up doing blue-collar jobs.

Overseas workers contribute 12% of the annual Gross National Product that boosts the economy - making the peso stable over the dollar currency. Over the decade, high-ranking officials in the government have personally thanked this workforce.

This stability of peso over dollar does not signify that the Philippine economy is doing better. This current standing may be based from the sudden collapse of the US economy years ago that affected the whole globe.

Looking at the bigger picture, working abroad in search of greener pastures leads to this drastic phenomenon of loosing all the skilled workers we have in the country.

These skilled workers should have helped in achieving a better economic system in the Philippines. These workers should have helped and served their fellow Filipinos. But then they are not around.

It is not late to stop this predicament. If only the people will learn to work hand in hand, as well as the government to render more employment opportunities, then Filipinos can look forward to a lesser dilemma of brain drain in the Philippines.

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Sunday Essays are compositions by third year Masscom students of Ateneo de Davao University for their journalism class. (Regina Kate Tambal)