International Metropolis Conference edition:2014 location:Milan, Italy date:3-7 November 2014
Since the inception of the Philippine labor-export policy in 1974, millions of Filipinos have migrated abroad as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). As an economic effect of this diaspora, Filipino migrant workers are able to uplift the lives of their families from poverty, avoid social marginalization and find greater opportunity through the remittances that they send home. However overseas work leads to the sacrifice of the migrant worker parent’s physical presence that affects how they practice care in their families (cf. Battistella and Conaco, 1998; Parreñas, 2002; Asis 2006; Arguillas and Williams 2010). OFWs are employed in reproductive labor, domestic work and health sector, which leads to the treatment of care as a commodity through the salary they receive in their services. In this way, the salary/remittances sent by overseas working parents to their left-behind family become a ‘simulacrum’ or a representation of care to compensate their lack of physical presence (cf. Baudrillard, 1968, 1981). Given this situation, this research argues that the commodification and simulacralization of care are structurally sinful from a theological ethical perspective. This is because the practice of care among Overseas Filipino Workers as part of the global economy has become a consumable object devoid of symbolic value leading to negative affectivity of left-behind families due to the lack of their physical presence.
Workshop 120: "Transnational Migration: Processes, Effects, and Impacts to Families and Communities between Homeland and Abroad"