Beware of ‘Friends’ Who Value You Because of Money

As if life abroad is not hard enough, overseas Filipino workers can experience additional misery when they meet ‘fair weather friends’ who ruin their future plans and even get them in trouble.

Take Christine, a domestic worker in Hong Kong, for example. She regret trusting a friend who suddenly disappeared after she helped her loan HK$38,000 from a loan company. The experience almost cost her 10 years of her career abroad as her employer expressed dismay over what happened.

After her friend failed to settle 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 as 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 will repay them through monthly salary deduction for a year.

Her employers, however, issued a warning that if Christine will again engage 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 monthly remittance will be reduced.

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 that cost her future 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.