A common misconception about overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) is that they earn stacks of money and that wealth can be achieved during a short time of working abroad.
No wonder some relatives and friends often run to them for help when financial problems arise, without realizing that OFWs themselves shoulder the same problem.
In an open letter on Facebook, OFW Raymond Lopez shared how many of them are labeled as “madamot” (selfish) after refusing to lend money to their friends, and sometimes, even relatives.
The Saudi-based OFW explained that Filipinos abroad are not money-making machines and that they also struggle to earn money to be sent to their expecting families in the Philippines, which many fail to realize.
“Iba po ang walang maitutulong sa taong ‘nagdadamot’, kung mayroon lamang pong ginto sa daan sa abroad pinulot ko na po para sa inyo’,” Lopez’ post read.
In an online interview, Lopez told The Filipino Times that he decided to take a photo of his wallet and credit card to prove that he has no cash to a friend who called him selfish for refusing to lend money.
Lopez said a friend of his sent him a message to borrow Php15,000 for unspecified reason.
The OFW, however, had no money to shell out and apologized, to which his friend replied that he has become “selfish” since he became an OFW.
Lopez admitted he felt hurt but he understood that their friends and families are only seeking help. “Hindi ko makuhang magalit, kasi alam ko kaya lumalapit ang tao satin dahil alam nilang may maitutulong tayo sa kanila. Understanding lang talaga ang kulang minsan, sana intindihin nila na may buhay tayong inaalala dito. Minsan kasi delayed din sahod natin, minsan okay lang namang magpahiram ng pera pero pag wala naman talaga tayo mapapahiram, bakit sasabihin pang madamot,” Lopez said.
Lopez advised friends, and most especially relatives of OFWs, to ask them how they are doing overseas as many OFWs have struggles that they choose to not share.
“Bago po kayo mangutang sa isang OFW, make sure matanong n’yo muna po kung kamusta sila? Baka kasi ho wala rin ho silang mapapahiram,” he said.
“Masarap tumulong at masarap ang makatulong, pero minsan mas dapat nating tulungan ang sarili at pamilya natin.” he added.