Filipinos learn to cope with various crises
This was the response of an overseas Filipino worker in Libya to relatives in the Philippines who were urging him to come home because they heard OFWs in that country were in grave danger.
For the OFW, military trucks around the city were normal. They were part of everyday life.
In fact, it would surprise OFWs if they did not hear gunshots during the day or explosions at night.
It was normal for them to be escorted to and from work. No one would dare roam around the city aimlessly.
They would only buy the things they need and would not linger anywhere because of the dangerous situation.
At any time, they could be killed for no reason. There was often no policeman to turn to for help.
Even in their own residences, they had to crawl on the floor to avoid getting hit by stray bullets. They slept in their window-less living rooms, which were considered safer than the bedrooms that had windows.
Despite this situation, OFWs in Libya said news that relatives in the Philippines were getting about the danger they faced were “Exajz” or exaggerated.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) office in Libya, however, had declared Crisis Alert Level 3 and encouraged OFWs to avail of the repatriation program of the government.
Although OFWs still did not see any cause for alarm, they said they took note of warnings from the DFA so they would be ready to leave Libya when the situation called for it.
Filipinos in Thailand responded in the same manner after the declaration of martial law in Thailand.
When family and relatives called, the OFWs reassured them they were all right and not in any danger.
There were some concerns among families left behind when Alert Level 2 was declared in Thailand. But the OFWs said there were only restrictions on certain activities.
They were warned to avoid certain public places, especially areas where protests were being held or there had been violent incidents.
For the OFWs, the declaration of martial law even made things better because protest actions were reduced. Things appeared to have improved so much that some OFWs even took “selfies” with soldiers.
Filipinos said they had gotten used to the political system in Thailand where it was so easy to remove leaders from their posts.
One OFW said, although there were political conflicts in Thailand almost every year, they were immediately resolved.
So, for OFWs in Libya and our kababayan in Thailand, news that they were at risk was also “Exajz!”
Our kababayan abroad have been toughened by the situations they find themselves in. They have gotten used to conflicts and are able to cope with crisis anywhere.
OFWs say they prefer to stay abroad despite the risk because they fear they will starve if they come home.
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Susan Andes, a.k.a Susan K., is heard over Radyo Inquirer, dzIQ 990 AM, Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon; audio/video live streaming: www.ustream.tv /channel/dziq.
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