Life abroad can be hard. But overseas Filipino workers can experience additional misery when they meet ‘fair-weather friends’ who ruin their plans and even get them in trouble.
Take Christine, a domestic worker in Hong Kong, for example. She regrets trusting a friend who suddenly disappeared after she helped her loan HK$38,000 from a loan company. The experience almost cost her ten years of her career abroad as her employer expressed dismay over what happened.
After her friend failed to settle the outstanding debt, collectors have been bothering her, calling her employer’s home number. Embarrassed, Christine sobbed as she sought for excuse from her employer as she recounted the real story behind her financial trouble.
Due to the traumatic experience, Christine could not manage her job well. She feared her employer might terminate her employment for disclosing her employer’s home address and phone number without prior permission.
When her friend suddenly vanished, Christine realized she had no other friend or family member who can track the runaway borrower. Thankfully, her employers have been kind enough to settle the debt and agreed she would repay them through a monthly salary deduction for a year.
Her employers, however, issued a warning that if Christine again engages in debt, her employment will be terminated and decline her long service pay. The grateful Christine promised to heed her employers’ warning while telling her family that her reduced monthly remittance will.
Many OFWs share the same experience with Christine, who met that ‘fair-weather friend’ at a community gathering four years ago. Since then, both have been together during their days off. Christine could not believe that the long friendship was not a guarantee she will become a victim which cost her plans.
Nevertheless, Christine, who is 42 years old and hails from Davao, was grateful her employers did not terminate her employment despite getting troubled by debt collectors.
Others are not as lucky.
Therefore, we must exercise caution when dealing with friends especially when it comes to financial matters. Many friendships and relationships have been destroyed by failed trust and betrayal over money.