overseas Filipinos

‘COVID-19 pushed me to leave the Philippines’ – OFW profiles by Rappler

Michelle Abad
‘COVID-19 pushed me to leave the Philippines’ – OFW profiles by Rappler
The COVID-19 crisis pushed Philippine workers across industries to seek opportunities abroad. Read Rappler's profiles featuring a disgruntled nurse, a domestic helper struggling to fund her daughter's education, and more.

Lalayas na ako ng Pilipinas (I’m leaving the Philippines).”

One might have heard this statement from a friend or family member, perhaps in jest, as news exposed the Philippine government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

For some Filipinos, this went beyond a mere expression of frustration.

Even before the pandemic, millions of Filipinos migrated out of the country in search of greener pastures. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that, as of 2020, there were 2.2 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). However, but this figure could stretch to 10.2 million, according to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, if permanent migrants are included.

When COVID-19 hit, migration in some cases became uniquely related to the health and economic crisis. Workers across industries were affected, pushing Filipinos to seek opportunities abroad.

In a series of profiles titled COVID-19 Pushed Me to Leave the Philippines, Rappler spoke to five migrant Filipinos: a disgruntled nurse, a domestic helper struggling to fund her daughter’s education, a culinary student worried over the Philippine hospitality sector, a recruitment associate laid off from her job in Manila, and a first-time teacher who couldn’t land a job at home. Each of them took a leap of faith and left the country amid the pandemic’s lockdowns and uncertainties.

Read their stories here:

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Nursing in the UK, where the risks seemed more worth it

Nursing in the UK, where the risks seemed more worth it
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Taking care of someone’s child in Saudi, so my own can go to college

Taking care of someone’s child in Saudi, so my own can go to college
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Heading to Canada, since the PH hospitality sector’s future is bleak

Heading to Canada, since the PH hospitality sector’s future is bleak
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Laid off in Manila, finding work in racially strained US

Laid off in Manila, finding work in racially strained US
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Teaching in Thailand after struggling to find work in the Philippines

Teaching in Thailand after struggling to find work in the Philippines

– Rappler.com

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer with the investigative unit of Rappler. She also covers overseas Filipinos and the rights of women and children.