The scenes leading to Frida’s departure to Israel is all too familiar since many Filipinos, including me, have relatives working abroad. But it is an entirely new experience when viewing it from a different perspective. One could almost sense the pain that characters were feeling as Frida’s departure neared, most especially when the children were begging desperately for their mother not to leave was one of the scenes that struck me. If they had a choice, who would want to go out of this country to work?
Knowing our Filipino culture for strong family ties, no one would. If there is anything that makes ‘Migrante’ stand out from other OFW films is the fact that they spent a significant amount of time showing what pushed Frida, like other Filipinos, to work abroad. Many Filipinos leave the country in the hope that working abroad could help them uplift their living conditions, be able to send loved ones to a good school, buy medicines for family members who are sick and secure a decent future, especially for the children, only to end up as a victim of maltreatment. Another highlight of the film is how other OFWs, who, too, have their own problems, are willing to lend a helping hand to their fellow Filipinos in dire need. As portrayed in ‘Migrante’, government agencies abroad were hardly of help to the unsung heroes of the country. Those who played the role as members of the real-life migrant rights group Migrante International expressed their reservations on how their fellow Filipinos landed in a much worse fate when embassy officials intervened, or the lack thereof, in their respective cases.
The film is another gripping portrayal of the continuing poor working conditions of overseas Filipino workers. It was a film on one individual’s life. But now, (in this film) you will see the bigger problem. It also focuses on how groups few non-government organization are helping OFWs in other countries. There is accumulating number of cases of OFWs being maltreated. The number of reported incidents have increased tremendously that people think that it is just an ordinary case. It projects the many faces of being an overseas Filipino worker. The fates of the OFWs in the film were intertwined by the tragic incident that has befallen Frida and her family. This film is one of the most effective ways to educate the people about what we are going through. This is not just a lecture. The film would be of big help in the migrants’ rights advocacy. It is very timely because the labor export policy is being intensified. It reflects what Filipinos are going through abroad because the story did not just focus on one family. As the film concluded, a question is sure to linger in one’s mind: What is there to do to stop this cycle?