Ailing OFW dreams of coming home to kids' embrace
Dubai maid Cristy Guinto dreams of the day she returns home to take care of her mother and two children, but not until she can find a higher paying job at home that can both pay the bills and bail her out of debt.
The 39-year-old single mother, who has toiled in the United Arab Emirates for seven years, is among millions of Filipinos working overseas to support their families.
"Gustong-gusto ko na pong umuwi sa atin. Pagod na pagod na po akong makipagsapalaran dito sa Dubai pero pag uwi ko po ba may trabaho ako? At ano ano ang gagawin niyong tulong sa aming mga OFWs," she asked.
"Gustong-gusto ko na pong alagaan yung bunso ko kaya lang po sa dami pa ng binabayaran ko, hindi ko po alam kung kailan pa ako aabot hanggang dito," she said.
Guinto's health has also suffered. She has had two operations for overactive thyroid.
With no health insurance, Guinto was forced to take out loans to finance her hospital bills and their house in the Philippines was foreclosed.
Guinto said she misses her children, who are under the care of her mother. She makes up for lost time by sending a huge chunk of her $400 (P18,700) monthly paycheck back home.
"Pag may mga okasyon na dumadaan, wala ka doon," she said.
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Guinto is among a estimated 4.21 million Filipino workers abroad, based on the 2013 data from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO).
Read: POEA chief to kids of OFWs: Don't stray from right path
An average 6,092 Filipinos leave the country daily to work abroad according to the Department of Labor and Employment.
Hailed as the new heroes, overseas Filipinos remitted $25.7 billion in 2015, according to the central bank.
Economists and analysts credit the remittance flow for boosting domestic consumption as well as keeping the peso stable against the dollar.