Domestic workers in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times
Domestic workers on a day off in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times

As Mother’s Day nears in the Philippines and many other countries and territories, Filipinos have been reminded of the contribution of women who work abroad in order to support their families back home.

In a commentary published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, columnist Audrey Tan-Zubiri said 53% of overseas Filipino workers were women and they worked in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and North America.

“More than 5 million Filipino women are spread throughout the world, working hard to create a better future for families they left behind,” Zubiri said.

Filipino women working abroad are dubbed Bagong Bayani, or “New Heroes” in English, as their work contributes to the Philippines’ economy. Overseas Filipino workers remit more than US$20 billion to annually the country, which makes up 10% of its gross domestic product.

“This they do in the face of loneliness, distance from their loved ones and the hardships of living in a different culture. Sometimes, even to the point of death,” Zubini said.

She said that despite the large sum of money remitted to the Philippines each year, more and more Filipinos leave the country to find better-paying jobs. She said there should be more job opportunities for Filipinos at home to lessen the number of people leaving the country.

“Hopefully, one day, all Filipinos will be able to celebrate Mother’s Day together, in the same country,” Zubini said.

This year’s Mother’s Day falls on May 13 in the Philippines.