At his age of 43, he should be retiring in a matter of twenty years as he started working when he was in his mid– twenties. But this does not mean that he needs to be continuously working overseas. When I told him to save money for his future, I was glad to know that he had been wiser this time. In Fact, he has informed me that he sought a well-known insurance company to managehis fund. He made me proud after knowing this. I am glad that he is taking bolder steps to secure his savings, rather than investing them in a business that he was not really familiar with, such as the case when he left the country for the first time. I believe, just like many seasoned OFWs, Domeng has perceived that the country could really do much for its people. He has to do something for himself first and maybe for the country. An advantage that my younger brother enjoys is: no one among the siblings is depending on his salary. He has it all for himself and his wife.
Analyzing the life of my younger brother who has been an OFW for a long time, he too had already embraced the vicious cycle of migration mentality. He would not apply for a local job, because he is all the time waiting for his visa to arrive. He focuses his attention mostly on the jobs overseas instead of local jobs this country could offer. He is always waiting to wait for the next job to arive. Like those residents at our Scalabrini Center for People on the Move (SCPM), a halfway home for OFWs in Manila, my brother would spend time waiting for the next working visa from the several agencies where he submitted his application. Sometimes, the waiting takes a month, but it could also take a year. When I call him each week, I would always ask him how is he doing and the usual response is “I’m Okay.” He has remained patient waiting for the next overseas job to arrive.
Earlier, reflecting on my brother’s experiences when he was still working in Iraq, I found it even ironic that while I am actually working for the rights and protection of OFWs and their families I am equally helpless to help him when he needed my help. I have also accepted the reality that the OFWs could not expect help from others but themselves more than anyone else. My brother was a perfect example. I may not be happy when he backed off from the interview with the media to expose the exploitation he suffered from his company and the inability of the agency or the government to protect him, but later I realized that my brother was one of the many OFWs who needed to survive and have been imbued with the migration mentality that has been with us for so many years now.