My OFW friend

His name is Bernie. He works in Quezon City and goes home to Bulacan. He used to go home everyday, but for the past three weeks he has been sleeping in the office four days a week.

“Mahal na ang pamasahe,” he said when I asked why. 

“Para ka nang OFW,” I quipped. “At least madali pa ring umuwi pag kailangan talaga,” he answered.

More than 10 years ago, when I used to work for a local magazine, I wrote a story about the people who slept on the streets. Many of them, it turned out, actually had homes elsewhere, but they worked here in Metro Manila, and it was too expensive to go home everyday. They were the cigarette vendors, the manual workers, the street sweepers. Some were oupatients in Metro Manila hospitals, who had to go back to the hospital for treatment for several days.

As prices continue to go up, I wonder how many more people will sleep on the streets. Or in their offices, away from their families, just to make ends meet.

 

 

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