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Filipinos in the Middle East

The Middle East, perhaps, has the biggest concentration of overseas Filipino workers. In fact, a lot of Filipino dreams have either been made or unmade in this alien land. Today, there is no indication that the numbers will ever decrease. By the day, thousands of unsuspecting Filipinos are trooping the Manila international airport in the vain hope that their lives will improve once they reach the Middle East.

The vicious cycle of Filipino manpower deployment to the Middle East has become so trivial; it has lost its implications to all of us --- most unfortunate, even among the people in government.

Many Filipinos who earned success in the Middle East may contest the claims that the whole experience is a shock. This is understandable because their success has sweet-coated the abuses they have actually endured. In the course of your visit to this website, you will discover all the blunt and subtle forms of abuses Filipinos have to endure in search of the elusive success.

But when did the exportation of Filipino manpower to the Middle East started? The Philippine government itself cannot categorically pinpoint the actual dates. However, participants of the required Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) are told that it all started in 1960's when the first Filipino contract worker set foot on Iraq. These Filipinos have so impressed their Iraqi employer that other companies started recruiting Filipino manpower. Of course, it must be emphasized that it was not only because the Filipinos were efficient but more importantly, they are cheap.

Soon, word about the Filipino manpower spread all over the Middle East and slowly, more Filipinos are being imported into the hot and acrid deserts of the Middle East. These gallant men were responsible for the excellent road network, the impressive oil pipelines, the sturdy edifices, and the vast concretes of what used to be sandy wilderness. Later still, it was the turn of the Filipino women to deluge the Middle East. They become the surrogate mothers to Arabian children. Then came our medical practitioners: doctors, nurses, dentists, they have all came. Soon enough, other Filipino professionals, engineers, accountants, everyone, have come.

Today, no Middle Eastern will admit it but their cultural make up have been completely altered by the Filipinos. Yes, even their economy. After the Indian stock of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the Filipinos perhaps comprise the next biggest cultural group in the Middle East. These Filipinos, despite the stark difference with Arabic culture has carved a niche in the Arabic social fiber that has left an indelible mark. Simply check the volume of Filipino products in all groceries in the Middle East or take note of numerous advertisements geared at the Filipino community. Even the harshness of the Middle East' weather and religion have not deterred the Filipino spirit. But, here ends the high note in Filipino manpower deployment in the Middle East.

Let not the sun set on our migrant workers.

A lot of speeches have been given on helping our migrant workers re-integrate into the mainstream of Filipino society. But concrete actions come far and wide, in case there is. Government has received too much flak but you can not help it, they just have not been really serious with their job. Unfortunately, there are still no signs of change coming up.