Earth Hour

Monday, November 8, 2010

Heroes in Debt

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a story on the Emirates 24/7 website which said that among expatriates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Filipinos are the most indebted. Our countrymen account for 27 percent of personal loans in that country, followed by the Indians and Pakistanis.

For years, we have credited them for propping up our economy through their remittances even in the midst of the global financial crisis.  We could only guess that one of the reasons our kababayans (countrymen) had to take personal loans was to send the money to their relatives here.  The sad truth is, many of them go abroad to do just that, send money to the family they left behind here.

It is also sad to note that even before they leave for their work abroad, many of our overseas workers are already heavily in debt.  We have read and heard a lot of stories about families borrowing money even with usurious interest rates just to send the father or mother abroad.  Some even go to the extent of using their properties as collateral for a loan to raise the amount needed for various fees just to get an overseas job for a family member.  

We could only hope that their relatives and our government realize the sacrifice these workers had to go through just to send those precious dollars here. 

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