The Impact Of Coronavirus To The Overseas Filipino Workers


The Impact Of Coronavirus To The Overseas Filipino Workers

Most Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are currently working across the globe—from different countries in Asia to Saudi Arabia, America to Europe, and in every part of the world. There is no doubt our OFWs are the modern-day heroes and asset of our country due to the substantial amount of remittances they contributed to the Philippine economy.

However, the presence of COVID-19 or also known as novel coronavirus is now making a huge impact on the lives of millions of Filipinos who are working abroad. Compared with other viruses such as MERS and SARS, coronavirus claimed the lives of over 3,000 lives, with now over 90,000 global cases of infection. Such pandemic disease has threatened many OFWs at a larger scale, causing panic and fear about the future.

Now that the coronavirus is spreading in over 70 countries, what are the implications to OFWs who have been working so hard to support their families? How does coronavirus can impact the way of life of Filipinos abroad and prepare for the rapid outbreak?  Let me offer you a few insights about this global health concern.

Travel restrictions 

If you are an OFW and planning to visit the Philippines or other countries, you need to be more reasonable on whether such a trip is essential or not. As the risk associated with traveling is high, it’s important to listen and follow some travel advisories given by the government authorities. When you travel to some unsafe countries, the potential of getting a coronavirus is high.

Aside from self-quarantine, traveling to places with high risks of coronavirus entails securing permission and health clearance from the health authorities, so it’s definitely a big hassle for most OFWs. As the number of coronavirus cases keeps soaring, OFWs are advised to refrain from nonessential travels and ensure you are updated about the travel restrictions before making any hasty decision. Because it’s a global health emergency, it’s much rational to stay at home in order to be safe.

Disruption to our everyday routines

As coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, there is no doubt it has disrupted our daily routines including our work and way of life. Not only some schools and restaurants have been closed, but also some business establishments stopped their operations due to lack of clients and safety issues. In addition, because of coronavirus cases in some cities and other territories, it has prompted shoppers for panic buying and to stockpile food, leading to empty shelves in the grocery stores and supermarket.

This widespread disruption caused worry and fear especially to OFWs and their loved ones. To prevent the spreading of coronavirus, people are advised to wear face masks and practice good hygiene. In addition, it’s best to avoid large gatherings especially if they are not necessary. In the event of infection, do not hesitate to seek medical attention if you suspect you have symptoms of coronavirus.

Job instability and uncertainty

There are worries about the financial crisis and the future of the global economy. The impact of the coronavirus has threatened the stability of some companies and industries around the world, where most OFWs are currently employed. Some companies have been shut down and OFWs have to repatriated from novel coronavirus-hit areas such as China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Consequently, a large number of OFWs including their families, have a fear of losing their jobs. Some OFWs wanted to go back home but they could not afford to do so as their families are still relying on them financially. There is no doubt it’s going to be a big challenge for how the government will provide employment opportunities should our OFWs decided to return to the Philippines because of coronavirus.

Financial readiness

While this infectious disease outbreak has an impact globally, it also has financial consequences for many OFWs. We have seen how the stock market went down that brought instability to financial investments of most OFWs. Needless to say, the coronavirus is hurting not only the world economy but also the number of money remittances sent by OFWs to their loved ones.

Most importantly, it’s quite scary to face this outbreak when you are not financially ready. As you send the regular remittances to fulfill your financial obligations back home, bear in mind that you need to keep a reasonable amount of saving for yourself in case of an emergency situation. We don’t know how long the coronavirus will last, but it’s great to have a contingency plan like having an emergency fund.

Final thoughts 

In the event of widespread illness, it’s important to take extra precautions to combat the escalating cases of coronavirus. What can OFW do to protect themselves and others from getting the new coronavirus? There are several measures you can adopt to protect yourself and others—these could include wearing face masks, ensure frequent hand-washing and cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, avoid non-essential travels and big gatherings, and improve your healthy lifestyle to boost the immune system.

In addition, be mindful of what’s happening around the world and ensure you are updated about the current situation around you. While this coronavirus might be challenging to contain, let us not forget to seek the Lord for his care and divine protection. Although there is no vaccine or drug currently available for coronavirus, remember God is still bigger than such illness.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.—2 Timothy 1:7, KJV

For more related stories, follow the author’s blog at RichlyBlessedToday.

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Jun Amparo

Jun Amparo

JUN AMPARO is the author of two inspirational books about personal finance and marriage.  He is nominated as Huwarang OFW 2019 organized by The 700 Club Asia and is pursuing his doctoral study in education. Presently, he is working as a university counselor and lecturer at Asia-Pacific International University in Thailand.