Should we remove the W in OFW?

Lately, I'm seeing posts on Facebook from some Filipinos who are lobbying (wanting) to omit W from OFW so it simply becomes Overseas Filipino.


For them, NOT all Filipinos abroad are "workers" and the tag doesn't fit well for "professionals." Some of them said that the term is "degrading."

Google defines worker simply as a person who works.
According to Merriam-Webster, a 'professional' is a person who characterizes technical or ethical standards of a profession exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.

Therefore, a construction worker or a cleaner can be as professional as a manager or an architect.

Sadly, these days people have become more title-conscious. We are after what people think or say about us. I understand where this is coming from - we are often tagged underdogs in the global stage.

In the UAE and probably the rest of the world, everyone from overseas is called expats. British, Canadian, Indian or Filipinos - we all are expats.  Only our fellow Filipinos call us OFWs. So why bother if it's just us?

As long as our contract says we are employed, we are workers - blue-collar or white-collar.  Only businessmen and investors (and the housewives) can 'technically' claim they are not OFWs.

Who you are, is not defined by profession, title or label. Your persona is built by your attitude which gives you character. Respect, or the lack of it, happens not because of what we are labeled as, but because of what character we show. Therefore, whatever people call anyone who works abroad should be the least of our concern.

If you will be discriminated, you will be discriminated. I'm sorry. On the other hand, if you'll succeed, you will - because you have the desire and the attitude to achieve - regardless if you are the underdog or not.

The world has had this issue for ages even before the label OFW has been created. You can be discriminated somewhere because you are Filipino, sadly. Now if you get treated differently because you're an OFW, then my friend, that's a typical "Pinoy contra Pinoy" mentality.

So, if you have issues being tagged as OFW, something's wrong with you, not with the acronym. I encourage you to look beyond the label. Drop the entitlement mindset. What you feel is what you become.

I'm fine calling us all 'global Filipinos,' but "OFW" is already a living legacy.  Whether we like it or not, it is already deeply embedded in our culture.

Wag po sana tayong elitista!

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