The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Left-Behind Children (LBC) in the Philippines

Romina Eloisa Manabat Abuan, Rebecca Llaguno Astilla, Christine Belle Esperas Torres

Abstract


COVID-19 has put the world into a standstill affecting the everyday lives of individuals. The Left-Behind Children (LBC) of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are not spared as conditions change in labor receiving countries and in the Philippines. The challenges faced by the migrant parent(s) abroad and the repercussions brought by the pandemic immediately impacts the lives of LBC in the country. Towards elaborating how, in broad brush strokes, this exploratory study will use, draw, and compare studies on LBC done before and during the pandemic. This study answers questions such as how did COVID-19 affect the migrant parents’ ability to support their children financially?; and how did the pandemic affect the migrant parents’ ability to be emotionally present for their children? This paper also asks whether or not and how the pandemic increased the insecure financial situation of the LBC, if already present. Finally, this paper inquires into the LBC’s coping mechanisms during the pandemic. This study found that LBC and family were able to mediate through the uncertainties and financial insecurities despite the delay or decrease in remittances. The LBC were observed to have initiative and a role in the budgeting of household expenses, and have adjusted accordingly to the realities they face. Psychologically, they are steadfast even if worried about the condition of their OFW parent. This paper found that their coping mechanisms alongside sustained communication with their OFW parent to be significant to their well-being. Despite worrying about their OFW parents, LBC acknowledged that it is much safer for their parents to be abroad than at home.

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