Message of Director Jeffrey D. Cortazar on the Occasion of this year’s Migrant Workers’ Day:
A happy and meaningful National Day of Migrant Workers!
June 7 each year marks a special occasion for all migrants around the world. What’s even special more special about this occasion is how dynamic the Philippines is when it comes to what it is all about – migration, especially of our workers. Our OFWs.
The world has indeed become a small place for all its inhabitants. In all the countries and territories in the world, there will always be at least one Filipino there, even on the ships plying the world's oceans and seas, and even in Antarctica, in the research stations there. Truly, it is something to be proud about, and that’s why we are here today, and why we have this special event. They are, after all, our modern day heroes, our “Bagong Bayani”.
Let me borrow the latest catchphrase the DOT has introduced last year saying that: “When you’re with Filipinos, you’re with family.” This is what makes the world an even smaller place. Because every place or anywhere a Filipino goes, he finds or makes family. Home is where you make it, after all. But, the struggle continues for us, especially in the NRCO, that our country will always be the best home where they can make it.
If we could only wish that these OFWs would have their moments for life, we would always wish that those moments would be here, with their families, in their communities, and enjoying what they have sown for the country.
For us at the National Reintegration Center for OFWs, we accept that the reality is, the world will always have migrant workers, especially from our country. Not only because they see the future outside of the country, but they see how hard life will be without their sacrifices for their families, and also how the world would be a different place without Filipinos. Our workers, even with how menial or difficult, tedious and dangerous their jobs may be, will still manage to pull off their best smiles. That’s the bittersweet story of the OFW. And every day at the Center, we always work our very best so that many of them can come back to the country as soon as possible and begin their productive and sustainable reintegration.
When Anthony Bourdain, the famous television travel host went to the Philippines some two years ago for a taping of his CNN show “Parts Unknown”, he humanized what it meant to be a Filipino, especially on what his or her role is in the world. "Filipinos give, of themselves, of their time, of their money, their love, to others. They do and continue to do what needs to be done to survive," Bourdain said.
So as we celebrate another year of this commemoration, let us also remember why they have left. It is for us, their fellow countrymen, their families, their extended families. In August, we will also hold a Reintegration Summit with the theme “Ang Pagbabalikbayan ay ang Bagong Bayanihan.” As a way of gratitude to the OFW, we hope that one day when you return, we would provide for all your reintegration needs.
Again, Happy National Migrant Workers’ Day! Mabuhay ang mga bagong bayani, at mabuhay tayong lahat!
Jeffrey D. Cortazar
Director IV, NRCO