Brain Drain and poverty

It’s sad to think that in our country, the people who are rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. This March, there would be an estimated 0.7 million tertiary graduates in the country. Is there enough job openings for them considering that the unemployment rate in the country remains a problem?

I know there’s a lot of quality graduates produced every year as well as quality professionals who are currently serving the country. But it’s sad to think that a lot of these people choose to go abroad to improve their current economic situation as the salary in other countries offers more than what we have here in the country. You cannot blame them for choosing to seek greener pasture in other countries. This brain drain is slowly affecting country.

Speaking of OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), I have another question to raiseβ€”if you take away all the OFW remittances, what would happen in our Third World status economy?

Personally, I experienced underemployment for a year before I entered the Marist Brothers. I have experienced the competitive job market against people with good connections and people with better qualifications than me. To get a job, I think it often falls down with the people whom you know.

Going back, I still believe that there is still hope and I really want to believe that there is still hope in the country. We need to do something against poverty. No one should be left behind. It’s not just the government that needs to act. We, the Filipino people are the ones that should start the solution. Thanks to the Non-Government Officials (NGO) and missionary workers, as they are finding ways to ease the problem. Let’s not wait for foreign countries to help us. We need to help ourselves first. Yes, there is still hope.

9 thoughts on “Brain Drain and poverty

  1. i agree with your sentiment about the employment in the country. That’s really a sad reality that we all pray to change. I hope the new breed of professionals will be like Rizal who use his talents and dreams to serve his kababayan. Though it is big struggle to fight “trapos” and bad system , history proves that there’s still unbelievable things that happen…like Obama as president, Charice in Hollywood and so on so forth.

    • Rizal even said that that youth is the hope of the nation. But a lot of the youth today are misguided or pursuing greener pasture. I don’t know if the oversupply of Nursing graduates here can be considered as benefitial or not. It’s a helping profession but it is seen as an easy way to earn money in other countries.

  2. On having so many OFWs, it’s not only brain train that’s happening. Working abroad also shatters the OFWs’ families. Then we boast ourselves family-oriented when our government’s negligence and incompetence pushes us to break apart. But the government is poor and strives the wrong way. It’s a complicated situation.

    On the issue of poverty: I remember a research conducted by a local think-tank in 2008 revealing that around 30% of our population lives below poverty line. It’s huge for an agricultural country (meaning we should be abundant in terms of food). So yes, I agree that non-government organizations really do help a lot. And we should help in any way we can.

    Nice post!

  3. I can’t help but to think that these struggles we have in the country is just a part of the transition we have as a young country. We have a lot of untapped potentials (e.g. agriculture) just waiting to be used and developed. Even our farmers are becoming OFWs in foreign countries which is very tragic considering that our country even taught our ASEAN neighbors the proper way of planting rice crips and cultivating the land. The problem of migrating workers are damaging the country’s cultural, intellectual, and even the agricultural legacy.

    Thanks for the comment.

  4. hello, allen,

    yes, poverty is a persistent question, one that most Filipinos have been conditioned to ignore. the sight of children begging or foraging in the garbage cans hardly and rarely surprises us anymore. we’ve come to live with it as a fact of life, one might say. the word must be “inured.” we’ve become inured to poverty in our midst. it seems that the prevailing ethos is, “just as long as it isn’t you or your family.” ^^

    but we come across poverty in its many forms everyday even as we usually choose to look the other way. and it begs the question, do things really have to be this way? after all, we’re supposed to be one community of people, living in one setting, sharing the same culture, beliefs and fate, so to speak. but why do others (the million others) have to exist like so and is there really nothing we can do about it? is an individual’s advancement or a family’s prosperity distant and apart from the lives and living of others? ^^

    inequality is a worldwide phenomenon. but nowhere is this more marked than in a third world country like the Philippines. here, it is drummed in our consciousness early on that being street smart and ambitious are the way to go and to be poor is the lot of those who do not know any better. and the rich, the famous and the powerful are hailed like gods, if only one could get closer to them and somehow enjoy some of the perks, as well. well… ^^^

    if one takes away the OFW remittances, two scenarios are possible. first, GNP would drastically drop down, affecting the country’s balance sheet and the standard of life of the millions of OFW dependents. the second, long-term, possibility is returning OFWs would find ways to be productive and gainful in their native country and therefore, pave the way for more sustainable means of income generation, but less cash or liquidity for their families and the country as a whole. it will also lessen the so-called social cost of migration and working abroad.

    the second scenario is harder to envision without appropriate policies and mechanisms on the ground, am afraid. ahaha, i hope i somehow helped muddle the issue. ^^ regards! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Sa Saliw ng Awit (SSA),

      I can still recall a lecture with our college professor on Socio-Anthropology a long time ago. Our professor said that the poor and the rich are two interrelated parts; they both need each other to have order and balance in the society. It makes sense but it somehow it can deaden our concern if we just accept these sad statement. It’s like saying that poverty is there to stay regardless whether we help the poor or not. It’s distorted and a close-minded attitude.

      Thinking about it, no matter how hopeless one’s effort in helping to eradicate poverty, at least the effort is there and it’s way better than being unconcerned and do nothing.

      About the OFW scenario, I want to believe that your second scenario would happen in our country. I know it’s wishful thinking but who knows what would happen? πŸ™‚ If that happens, I think we would be a business-conscious country. That would mean going out of the country just for vacation, business transactions, or anything non-related to joining the OFWs again.

      But, could we really survive even without the OFW remittances? We have an abundance of natural resource in the country just waiting to be properly used and developed, isn’t that enough to supplement the lost OFW remittances?

      There’s a lot of what ifs and questions if you think about the possibilities. Thanks for reading and commenting. πŸ™‚

      • hello, allen,

        if we accept hook, line and sinker that the present set-up where only the rich gets richer and the poor increase in geometric progression by the day, then, we can expect very little progress in the years to come. more opportunities should be created by the public (government) and the private sector so that more Juans and Marias will have fighting chance in life, ika nga…

        there is really a need to increase the irrigation facilities and add more health centers in the barrios. likewise for support in agriculture and farming methods. also, microfinancing assistance… our kababayans would do well to have access to these, especially those in the far-flung areas.

        in the cities, the local govt officials would perhaps do well in their tasks if they go beyond dole-outs and paying off wards that is, “abot-abot.” they should treat their constituents with more respects, maybe? hindi lang naman sila parang mga dagang mabubuhay na sa maski ano na lang, di ba? dapat mas seryoso ang programs sa poverty alleviation and better if i-involve mismo ang beneficiaries.

        of course, these are all easier said than done. mas madaling sabihin than i-implement in a systematic manner… the programs in the poor areas both in the poor districts in the cities and the 5th and 6th level municipalities in the far villages should complement each other. mahirap sabihin sasquatters to go home kung wala ring kabuhayang uuwian, di ba? ^^

        but isuppose both the public and the private sectors have been remiss in their duties, maybe. at saka, may attitude na poverty is something we all got to live with. at ang dependency nga sa remittances – para namang walang sariling buhay ang OFW breadwinners… ^^ hello sa ‘yo! and regards, πŸ™‚

  5. our national economy owes a great debt to the OFWs for their remittances. They are the ones keeping us afloat. I’ve read in some studies that their combined remittances are larger than the contribution of BPOs (call centers, etc.) to our GNP. That’s a LOT! I just wish that the gov’t seriously gives them the services they deserve and not just pay lip service by calling them our “mga bagong bayani.”

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