“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” – Frederick Douglass, American Abolitionist, Lecturer, Author and Slave, 1817-1895)
We native Filipinos, depending on where we stand in the totem pole, have our own spins regarding our millions of OFWs. Our native rulers in government/military and business pay lip service to our contract emigrants by labeling them as "heroes", as OFWs' dollar remittances make up/add to the billions unconscionably stolen from government coffers and/or as their departure for overseas work provide a societal relief valve that works to delay/prevent our social volcano from erupting, i.e. bloody revolution.
Some in the Church (Roman Catholics, mainline Protestant, Evangelicals/Pentecostals, etc.) in addition see our OFWs as "Christian missionaries" who can proselytize about Christianity, forgetting that among them are Filipino Muslims. I doubt if any native, Filipino Christian/OFW entertain such, especially in the Middle Eastern Kingdoms. The task is not to proselytize/convert or withdraw from social justice concerns to concentrate solely on "personal salvation" ; but to practice authentic Christianity, i.e. the ignored catholic social teachings (or other religious traditions and social justice movements.)
A fellow native Filipino, who worked for an American company, wrote me to say that we native Filipinos are born to be slaves. I want to believe he is just being funny.
All these viewpoints are expressed apparently by persons who can not appreciate or do not empathize with, but may even profit from, the daily existential struggles of the common tao -who is forced mainly by dire economic realities -brought about by WTO in the Philippines -to leave the homeland and loved ones.
The below articles demonstrate the situations our fellow native Filipinos are in: what their personal miseries, the slavish treatment they undergo and how their supposed "heroism" are paid back particularly by those who loudly label our fellow native OFWs as "heroes."
NOTE: Rampant corruption in public offices, top to bottom is a symptom of disease: the disease of absent nationalism in combination with the disease of immature christianity/religion. Without being repetitive here, I just want to say that these have been discussed in previous posts.
It may be tiring and seemingly hopeless, but we need to keep alive, to continue the discussion of fundamental issues that cause our national predicament, especially to those fellow native Filipinos who are impoverished and/or illiterate, who can not escape/emigrate.
And hopefully, for those who are truly concerned who can reach and help these neglected and despised native majority gain an appreciation and understanding of "what's going on." Because without the impoverished majority knowing and understanding, they can not unite and act for radical changes that are way long overdue.
We may not see the realization now or during our lifetime. But we have to try and do so, for the next generations. For another, there's no place like home, our country of birth. That's how I feel and think.
The incident prompted several Senate hearings and it was then discovered that P6.8 billion ($158 million) of OWWA’s funds were transferred to the Development Bank of the Philippines and Landbank of the Philippines (P3.4 billion or $79 million in each transaction) without any consultation with the OFW sector.
Martinez said some officers of the OWWA’s may have escaped accountability through the years on account of Section 5, provision (h), Article III of the OWWA’s Omnibus Policies that stipulates that all minutes, transcripts and tapes of the OWWA’s are confidential and not open to the public.
In a letter addressed to the US State Department, the protestors led by an organization of Filipino domestic workers Damayan Migrant Workers Association and allied groups named seven countries with diplomats who they alleged are guilty of trafficking women domestic workers and forcing them into slavery; these countries are the Philippines, Kuwait, Tanzania, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, India and Peru. They called the campaign “Baklas” (Filipino word for “dismantle”): Break Free from Labor Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery and said that other worker centers, grassroots organizations and advocates against trafficking support it. The Urban Justice Center is also aiding the campaign.
“We need to take a stand against trafficking and slavery,” said Cita Brodsky, chairwoman of Damayan. “With the global economic crisis, the number of migrants around the world is growing, and with that grows the Philippines’ dependence on remittances of overseas women workers. And on the demand side, the unprotected labor industry for domestic workers also breeds modern-day slavery. We need accountability from all governments, the enforcement of laws and the protection of women workers.”
Domestic workers from New York and Maryland, who have been abused by diplomats, also spoke at the protest. There were also cultural performances and readings of statements of support from by a variety of immigrant- and community-based organizations, lawyers and advocates.
Advocates have long exposed Tanzania and Kuwait to the US State Department, with no concrete action. “We will work with all our allies and sister organizations to protect our workers and community,” Brodsky said. “We will continue to educate and organize to dismantle the structures that create modern-day slavery and to empower women who need to break free.”
Taiwanese politicians are outraged over how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made the arrest on the grounds that Taiwan is not a sovereign country and therefore its officials are not eligible for diplomatic immunity in the US.
Gabriela Women’s Party’s “Parade of Pinays for Export (PX),” highlighted the plight of Filipino women who were trafficked as mail order brides, domestic workers and caregivers, and prostituted women in countries such as the US, Singapore, Japan, Kuwait, and Canada, among others. According to reports, some 300,000 to 400,000 Filipino women are victims of trafficking yearly. They are among the 12.3 million victims of forced labor or servitude worldwide.
Cristina Palabay, Gabriela Women’s Party secretary general, said that Arroyo’s labor export policy ‘legitimizes the trafficking of our women and children to precarious and exploitative situations in host countries.’ ”Without jobs and livelihood within the Philippines, victims are lured, deceived and facilitated by profit-hungry syndicate recruiters and even government officials with promises of different jobs, good compensation, high wages and benefits,” Palabay said.
Palabay disclosed that despite the enactment of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act in 2003, there were only eight convictions involving 11 persons out of more than 200 cases filed in violation of the law.
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