Statistics shows that about 11% of the Philippines’ total population work or reside abroad. Yearly, more than a million leave the country to render their service to other nations.
Days before Christmas, I met with a cousin I’ve never seen for almost 15 years. She’s bound for Bahrain to work as a domestic helper. She left her husband and three children in the province. Like many overseas workers, her contract lasts for two years. I remembered when my mom first left us to work abroad too. I was fifteen and about to graduate from high school. My brother was ten, also about to graduate from elementary. I asked my cousin why she decided to leave her children. She said they’re already old enough to take care of themselves and to learn their responsibilities in life. My mom told me that that was in her mind, too, when she left. A male friend, who is also a father, left his one-year-old son. He rationalized that his son is still too young to know the difference between his presence and his absence.
I understand that the ultimate purpose of these parents is to provide the best things for their children. Some wish to guarantee sumptuous food on the table, designer clothes and college money (tuition fee and allowance). A number of these workers aim to acquire properties like house, lot and car. Several of them desire to save up while there. Then, come home and start a business. As I try to convince myself to accept their reasons, I also thought they are also trying to convince themselves that they’re children will be alright without them. That the promising future they are willing to sacrifice for doesn’t seem as assuring as it is. I for one can attest to that. Nothing compares to the presence of a parent and his guidance does. For both parent and child, every day is a torture and each day that passes by creates thick walls and delicate bridges between them.