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A montage of Ronald Awa's Facebook post.

PHOTO BY FACEBOOK


Filipino in Dubai calls for scrapping of OFW term

 

DUBAI – What’s in a name? A lot, says Dubai-based HR professional Ronald Awa, who is calling for the scrapping of the term OFW, which stands for Overseas Filipino Worker.

“OFW is a stigma that we are only indigenous people capable to work with foreign employers and bosses with the same qualifications or maybe less,” Awa said in a Facebook post.

In his October 17 post, Awa said scrapping the term will “keep the world informed that new Filipinos nowadays can [compete] equally with counterparts in terms of skills, experiences, and bankability”.

Majority agreed with Awa’s views and proposed “a petition to make it formal”. Awa proposed using the term Filipino expats “to keep our presence here in this world as equally dependable, respectable and winnable”.

Read his full post:

“OFW is an Indio label. Agree or disagree?
It’s high time to change OFW term to just a “Filipino Expats”, this is to keep our presence here in this world as equally dependable, respectable and winnable.
OFW is a stigma that we are only indigenous people capable to work with foreign employers and bosses with the same qualifications or maybe less.
Keep the world informed that new Filipinos nowadays can share equally with counterparts in terms of skills, experiences, and bankability.
We are no longer subject to Spain and Portugal occupation and conqueror.
Stop calling your colleagues as:
“Sir”
“Ma’am”
Start by calling his or her first name or probably Mr. or Ms.
Be kind to yourself and ✊.”

The term OFW was used after the Philippines implemented the 1995 law on Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos. The term was then adopted by the Philippine government and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, which uses the term until today.

In September, the Philippine government announced that it had moved closer to establishing a Department of Overseas Filipino Workers that will serve as a one-stop shop for Filipinos working abroad.

In an interview with Expatmedia.net, Awa said a name change from OFW will “elevate all Filipinos abroad in terms of employability, respect in work place, and a role change from merely a junior staff (although qualified) to senior and mid-level positions”.

Awa, who has worked abroad in the last 25 years, believes Filipino professionals deserve better recognition. “Our work force nowadays is changing and you will find more young Filipinos in decision-making positions,” he said.

He also urged Filipinos to “stop calling your colleagues ‘sir’ or ma’am’ and start by calling him or her [by] the first name”. In the UAE, there are organisations such as Hilton that promote a work culture where team members call call each other on a first-name basis for camaraderie and mutual respect. ICA/Expat Media

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