Despite being far away from home, many OFWs are well aware of the many issues making the headlines in the Philippines, such as whether or not former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. should be granted a hero's burial.
While some agree that the late strongman does not deserve a spot at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, there are others who think otherwise in the spirit of "moving on."
"Sa panahon ngayon, hindi na dapat galit at poot ang ipairal. Dapat mag-move on na kung sino man ang biktima ng Martial Law noon," said Luna de Vina Raymundo who, at 33, was born after the Martial Law years.
Raymundo, a skincare specialist in the United Arab Emirates, said she was aware of the abuses during the Martial Law years through the stories her grandmother had told her.
"Hindi pa ako pinanganak nung Martial Law pero base na kwento ng lola ko, sobrang nahihirapan sila noon. Marami ang nagdusa at nahirapan," she said.
"Ganunpaman, hindi pa rin ako against na ilibing ng Libingan ng mga Bayani si former president Marcos dahil marami siyang nagawang mga proyekto na hanggang ngayon ay pinapakinabangan natin," she added.
Marcos' contributions to the Philippine society, be it in the form of infrastructure or policy, were also cited by other OFWs who favor a hero's burial for him.
"Although hindi siya (Marcos) yung 'ideal' na bayani ng karamihan, kahit papaano ay may naitulong siya sa bansa natin," opined Maika Alissa Carrillo, 28, a warehouse officer in Qatar.
"Sa karamihan sa mga Pilipino, negative ang image niya kasi mas nanaig ang sakit nung Martial Law. Pero sa kabilang banda, nagkaroon tayo ng mga infrastructure na bago at moderno nung panahon na yun. Isa tayo sa mauunlad na bansa dati!" added Carrillo who, like Raymundo, was born after the downfall of Marcos in 1986.
Now and then
But Corazon Coranez, 47, agreed with Carrillo and Raymundo, despite having experienced the Marcos years first-hand.
"I remember when I was in high school: the Philippines is considered as one of the developing countries. Now, it is one of the poorest," said the assistant recruitment officer in the UAE.
"Sa time nila Marcos, ang lilinis ng mga daan. Lahat may tanim ng bougainvillea. May kadiwa pa tayo nun na makakabili ng murang bigas, asukal, sardinas. May mga ladies brigade in which malaking tulong sa mga kababaihan na hindi lang sila pambahay. Maraming scholar," Coranez said.
And then, of course, there are those who are opposed to burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Marcos is no hero
For 32-year-old Paulette Peraan, the term "bayani" does not fit Marcos, whose rule has been linked to countless human rights abuses and incidents of corruption.
"For me, a hero can be called a hero as per its meaning generally: when he is admired for his or her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. But what he (Marcos) had claimed to be his achievements—particularly the most decorated war hero—[have] been proven via research to be false.," said Peraan, an accountant in the UAE.
For her part, Audrey Guevarra, a 15-year-old student based in UAE, asked: "Maraming naging biktima nung Martial Law era. Marami din yung naabuso dahil sa law. Bumaba ng sobra yung ekonomiya ng Pilipinas. Bakit ang isang 'dictator' ay ililibing sa Libingan ng mga Bayani?”
Ishi Dizon, 13, eigth-grade student in the UAE, put it this way: It is not proper to give accolade to someone who has sinned. "Pag may kasalanan, dapat hindi siya bigyan ng parangal," she said.
As of posting time, the Supreme Court was having oral arguments on the Marcos burial issue. At least six petitions have been filed against granting hero's burial to Marcos. —KBK, GMA News