It is quite alarming upon knowing that an OFW, on-board Gulf Airlines, who would supposed to meet shortly his wife and other family members, killed himself an hour before the plane landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
According to news reports, Marlon Cueva, 36, of Lubang Island in Mindoro Occidental, worked as an electrician in Abu Dhabi barely 3 months from his deployment. He was among the passengers of GF-154 flight which landed at NAIA Terminal 1 at around 11:20 a.m. based on news reports.
His so far is the most saddest of all real OFW struggles of life and death, aside from those who have been victims of abuses, -have been raped and killed.
While normally returning OFWs would be happy that alas they would be meeting their loved ones no matter how hard they have worked abroad, with or without earnings and 'pasalubong', just to be home reuniting with their loved ones, he decided to end his life before his feet landed in Philippine soil.
OFW Cueva's case is a sad twist of OFWs struggle, a twist that shocked not only the Filipino community and OFWs abroad but the whole Filipino nation.
Last September, the nation has been shocked by the case of an OFW who dumped her newly born child on Gulf Air's trash bin before the flight landed, as another face of struggling OFW, like many others whose pure intent is to work to give decent living for her children.
These two cases, aside from the 7 to ten cases of abuses, maltreatment, and labor malpractices we have been receiving daily in the Middle East and we have been consistently reporting to the concerned government agencies and to the public, are serious concerns that need special and urgent attention.
We have yet to see an enlightened government that realizes the need to improve the local economy by implementing genuine agrarian reform program and and a government that will work for national industrialization; both will serve as our country's economic backbone towards sustainable development.
Most of our neighboring countries in Asia, their governments have distributed lands to the landless and developed their local industries; the Philippines could follow suit in implementing genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization that would create more jobs for the Filipinos who in turn could provide an impetus to economic development that we all aspire. (But land distribution in the Philippines may not be possible with a President who came from a haciendero family).
It is only then that the government could stop peddling its own human labor as cheap as an export commodity, there could be no OFWs then as victims of abuses and maltreatment because there would be no one willing to gamble working abroad treated as slaves.
Written by: John Leonard Monterona,
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator