We are now living in a globalized economy where first-world countries need people from third-world countries (like the Philippines) to fill up certain jobs while industries hire foreign employees in order to become competitive. Unfortunately, there is still a perception of race bias where Caucasians are likely to get hired at key job positions or get the better salary package than the rest while people of color don't.

In a tough job market, many face discrimination directly or indirectly so that an overseas Filipino worker (or OFW as it's known here) are likely labeled as an economic migrant, foreign laborer or guest worker (particularly in Europe) but a white person of the same job role will always be called an "expat." Why is it so?

By definition, "an expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person's upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex ('out of') and patria ('country, fatherland')."

Filipinos working abroad label themselves as OFW (OCW or overseas contract workers for a more politically-correct term) but there's seems to be a disconnect as to how other people (especially employers) label Filipino workers. It's quite obvious that only their American or European colleagues get to enjoy that expat label. There is also a glaring difference in salary grade and benefits that the latter enjoy. We, Filipinos, have to negotiate hard just to get a better deal from foreign employers but our white counterparts get relocation package while most of us don't. Filipinos can only be "immigrants" while Caucasians are the "expats" because they can't be at the same level as other races.

There seems to be a double-standard as to who is an expat and who is a migrant worker. To be fair, there is a growing shift in this thinking and being expat is no longer for white people only, the social class, country of origin and economic status now matters as this article from a Wall Street Journal blog states: "Filipino domestic helpers are just guests, even if they’ve been here for decades. Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese are rarely regarded as expats, but they are certainly not locals. By contrast, a native Cantonese speaker earns an automatic right to belong, even if she spent most of her life in Sydney or Vancouver."

Some may say the term is just a term to differentiate us and them but the thing is, the inherent racial bias, whether intended or not, creates a sense of divisiveness among races, nationalities, and co-workers. Perhaps, there is a colonial aftertaste that lingers in our collective consciousness when white men ruled and colonized most of the known world. Some are in denial but it is true that Caucasians are used to get what they want while others don't. Most people in countries once colonized by Great Britain, France, Spain and Portugal feel a certain "cultural cringe" wherein they think they are "inferior" than their "colonial masters."

To an extreme end, we can stop calling Caucasians expats since they are immigrant like everyone else. Many have also left their first-world countries to live overseas because they can live better with their money, No wonder, many Portuguese are looking for work in oil-rich Angola and Mozambique. Many Americans are flooding Asia for top technology and financial jobs with multinational companies while their local counterparts earn less.

In this day and age, labor migration and globalization are the norm and we can't prevent people from moving into more affluent countries in search for better life.

You be the judge, are OFWs "expats" or "migrant workers"?

We have made it back to the FIBA World Cup but it was 34 years ago when the final buzzer sounded as the Philippines walked out winners against then Asian champions Japan for the 13th place match at the Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle in Munich, Germany. That was the last Olympic game for our men's basketball team.

The road to the 2016 Rio Olympics will begin in July 5 as Gilas will take on the best of the best. France, New Zealand, Turkey, Canada and Senegal will also try to win this FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament to join the five continental champions and other qualified teams to snatch the elusive gold medal away from the United States.

We may failed to qualify outright but we still have a chance to make it to the Olympics. Unfortunately, we have to hurdle past tough competition and it's a tall order just to make it into the next round. It is said that we are on the proverbial "Group of Death" with tough European teams and an NBA-laden squad. Even though we have homecourt advantage and the "best sixth man" in the world, our visiting opponents are already used to playing in front of a hostile home crowd.

What are our chances?

Honestly, slim to none. Andray Blatche may not be the same beast-mode that we saw in the 2014 FIBA World Cup and having Jordan Clarkson on our team is still a dream. Ditto for Kobe Paras and Bobby Ray Parks. The Mall of Asia crowd may electrify the game but it will also put our team in a pressure cooker with everything is at stake that each individual from the starters to the end of the bench rotation has to deliver big time!

Since we are unlikely to meet Senegal in the group stage, New Zealand is the likely target for a big "upset." Remember, they are the real national team not the team that we beat in the 2015 Jones Cup and 2015 MVP Cup. We may have almost defeated France in front of their home fans at the 2014 Antibes Invitational but it was only a friendly without the magnitude of an Olympic berth at stake. The 2010 FIBA World Cup runners-up Turkey is the likely team that we may have to face should we move on to the next round as second seed in our group. The 12 Giant Men will be a tough nut to crack as they are blessed with really big guys from Omer Asik to Semih Erden, how will June Mar Fajardo or Greg Slaughter (should they play) handle these Turks? Should we meet the Canadians, we will have our hands full against NBA caliber talents of Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Olynyk, Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett.

At the end of the day, we can always dream big and try to reach for it no matter what. We may never know what's in store for our team when we tip off 5-6 months from now!

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{picture#https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AgIZYN7u_Hg/VZvLmrA0hpI/AAAAAAAARt8/mscbLJ1All4/profile%2Bpic.jpg} JP Canonigo is a historian, professional blogger and copywriter, online content specialist, copywriter, video game junkie, sports fanatic and jack-of-all trades. {facebook#http://www.facebook.com/istoryadista} {twitter#http://www.twitter.com/jpthehistorian} {google#http://plus.google.com/+JPSakuragi}
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