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Liberate Thy Heroes

Carlee Cherokeeh Calingacion | Message in A Bottle | Features Editor

I was in my 2nd year of kindergarten when my dad first left for UAE. Stopping him was futile, for he was determined to leave. Questions flooded my 6-year-old brain as to why he had to leave. He and my mom had to explain to me that life was hard and they wanted the best for me and my sister. At that time I never understood. Now I do and truth be told, it saddens me.

It was only recently that I stumbled upon Proclamation No. 276. This was signed by Corazon Auqino, former president and it states “DECLARING DECEMBER, 1988, AND THE SAME MONTH OF EVERY YEAR THEREAFTER AS ‘THE MONTH OF OVERSEAS FILIPINOS.'” Not a day, but an entire month is dedicated to all of our nation’s people who had to leave the country to be able to give. “WHEREAS, millions of Filipinos are spread in many countries of the world as immigrants, workers, students, and professionals;”

This goes to show that our nation lacks in many aspects that people have to leave to acquire these things somewhere else. If only our schools are well equipped and jobs are provided, people would opt to stay.

“WHEREAS, many Overseas Filipinos contributed to the struggle against the prior regime and fought for the restoration of Philippine democracy;”

Our nation cannot just depend on the OFWs to restore our country’s democracy. They are the ones we have to liberate from the slavery brought about by our nation, not the other way around.

I just want a system where my father won’t have to leave to be able to provide for us. I’m sure most, if not all, families of OFWs feel the same way.

Overseas Filipino Workers sacrifice their lives every day. Celebrating their hard work for a month ONLY is not enough, don’t you think? So, how can our nation celebrate the bravery of these OFWs then?

It’s by welcoming them back home as heroes for their sacrifices; giving them better paying jobs that won’t require them to be separated from their families; and telling them that they don’t have to leave our country anymore for numerous reasons, these would be the best ways to celebrate their heroism.

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