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Impact of the Global Crisis on Overseas Workers and the Families-Left-Behind: A Snapshot of the Philippine Case

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Author(s): Alfie Maria R. Custodio | Alvin P. Ang

Journal: Asian Social Science
ISSN 1911-2017

Volume: 8;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2012;
Original page

ABSTRACT
The Global Economic Crisis (GEC) of 2008-2009 was seen as negatively affecting the Philippines in a different way. Most countries affected by the GEC suffered export declines and domestic economic slowdown leading to the collapse of certain sectors in the economy. Though the Philippines was affected this way in some aspects, it is more the unique nature of its economy having around 10% of its population abroad working or permanently settled but continuing to send a significant amount of remittances. It was the concern of the Philippines that the crisis affecting many of the destination countries of its migrant workers will lead to massive layoffs and creating a much larger crisis at home. Based on this hypothesis, this study attempts to view how the GEC actually affected the economy by directly looking at the impacts on the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families-left-behind in the Philippines and how they coped with the perceived effects of the crisis. The study sampled the National Capital Region or Metro Manila. It used a semi-structured questionnaire which profiled the demographic characteristics and determined the coping strategies of the respondents. A focus group discussion with ten (10) of the respondents for the purpose of validating the data gathered by the questionnaire was also done. The results show that a number of affected households indicate decreases in their family income during the crisis period as compared to previous years. However, there are relatively few affected workers who returned home. Majority opted to stay abroad hoping for better opportunities in their affected host countries rather than to return home. The families-left-behind also adjusted to the crisis by implementing coping strategies such as cuts in spending (primarily in recreation, food and utilities), seeking extra jobs/sideline and a decline in allocation for savings.
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