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Are Our OFWs Shrugging?

March 4, 2008

NOW is the time to prove who’s providing the goods and who’s stealing the same from us. Now is the time to put an end to the merrymaking of our political-moochers— those looters-by-right and their cronies.


Last year a conceited scribbler, who doesn’t deserve not even a column inch of toilet paper and whose name reeks of Pasig river near Malacañang palace, wrote about her traumatic experience when she “bravely” took economic flight and mingled with OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) who smelled of cheap cologne.

In her crappy column titled “From Boracay to Greece” (the title itself flaunts her supposed unreachable economic status) published in Manila Standard today, this scribbler, who probably thought of herself as a chatelaine and who probably weighs the same as FG, wrote the following words: “ I wanted to slash my wrist at the thought of being trapped in a plane with all of them.”

Naturally, our hard-working OFWs, who took pains on leaving their family behind just to send their children to school and to give them a brighter future, collectively expressed their revulsion at the columnist’s irresponsible remark.

Dubbed as “the new breed of Filipino heroes” for keeping the country’s economy afloat thanks to their dollar remittances, our Filipino brothers and sisters abroad now begin to decipher the power they unconsciously possess. A number of them work in hospitals in most first world countries; others work as construction workers, engineers, house helpers, servants, inn keepers, etc. A good number of them are white collar workers occupying modish offices in skyscrapers in global cities like New York, London, Tokyo, among others. Others are journalists, teachers, and professionals, who decided to leave their low-paying jobs back home.

As they work like there’s no tomorrow only to send life-sustaining blood money to their loved ones, they also provide ample life-support to our ailing economy severed by corruption, political bickering, bribery and other kinds of abuse of power. Their callused hands not only help build cities in the middle east, wipe some people’s asses in the United States and Canada, and do some menial jobs in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, the same also help lessen the prevailing poverty in the Philippines. They don’t just help erect global cities, they are also instrumental in fixing an ingrate nation. They don’t just care for their families, they also carry on their burdened and worn-out shoulders the fate of their over 80 million countrymen. They do their work without quibbling, without asking much government’s support.

Millions of Filipinos, if they had only enough money, would like to leave the county and work abroad where they will be paid according to their ability. Life’s in the land of milk and honey, it’s in the land of the former race that raped our women-ancestors in the second world war, it’s in the land of oil and carpet— this thinking has now become commonplace, like a muzak that serves as a patriotic, no, lethargic bromide, to our already hopeless countrymen.

“Let them sweep the streets” was the purported solution of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to unemployment. But many, if given the chance, would rather sweep the streets of New York and Los Angeles, for more valuable Uncle Sam’s money.

“Jobs in the Philippines are reserved for the incompetent, to the kins and children of businessmen and politicos who are fond of nepotism and political dynasty, to those who obtained their surplus diploma from Metro Manila’s self-claimed reputable schools,” many people say, so it’s better to find jobs in a country that recognizes human competence, that doesn’t care whom you know but what you can do and where you finished college but how far your competence and ambition can bring you.

The government calls them “the Modern Filipino Heroes”, but I say it’s not enough to give them some funny names. It seems that our politicians don’t just see the ill effects of this trend, of this national hemorrhage that continues to sap able blood and drain brains.

It would be unfair to blame our skilled workers for leaving the country for a greener pasture. What would you do if you live in a country that was now filled with corruption, with stupid people, in a country where competence is frowned upon while incompetence is being rewarded? “Leave at once,” said those who are already tired of being a Filipino.

What would you do if the land where you once dreamed of spending the rest of your life was now poisoned by collectivist thoughts— those dangerous notions masquerading as guarantors of common good, where self-sacrifice becomes virtue, incompetence becomes competence, corruption becomes the short cut to riches, bribery becomes the rule of the game, and politicians become the saviour of the people? “Run and never look back,” Yahweh told Lot when the forsaken cities of Sodoma and Gomorrah turned into sulfur-smelling ashes.

They went abroad on their own blood money; some sold what remained of the family’s property or even their family home just to get odd jobs abroad. Many of our professionals also joined the bandwagon for menial, degrading jobs in a foreign land, away from their loved ones.

But when the country’s economy improves, who gets the credit? Not our migrant workers touted as the new heroes of today, but the President. Gloria’s political allies like her statistician Joey Salceda usually attribute the good economic performance to their “generous” boss who has the penchant for giving cash gifts in Malacañang. This notwithstanding the fact that many of our countrymen are languishing in jails in various countries. Some were already executed for crimes not really committed by them.

They work not minding what’s going on in their country of birth, where high-ranking politicians, including those close to the President divide multi-million dollar money among themselves. Our politicians are now running the country like their own personal fiefdom, as members of the first family wanted to get an undeserved share in each government contract. The ZTE-NBN deal, among many of those anomalous transactions, carries with it an enumeration of illegal acts of the President, her husband, and some of her men. The South Rail project is another awful story, where at least 22 percent of the cost of the entire project allegedly went to corruption.

This despite the fact that many of them are being maltreated by their employers, and our representatives abroad are turning a blind eye. That’s the irony of our time.

The credit goes to the corrupt while those who made the goods possible were asked to work harder and double time.

As they worked like animals for foreign masters with the hope that the families they left behind would live another day, their government leaders were busy dividing the loot to each other. It’s not just the duty of our elected public servants to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the OFWs, they are also duty-bound to make their dreams come true— for their children to have a better, brighter future. The latter is the most important, because its faithful compliance serves as the insurance policy for the OFWs’ industry.

Aanhin mo pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo,” goes that famous Filipino adage.

The duty of the government doesn’t stop there; it goes far beyond that. It has the obligation to make the country livable and habitable by rational human beings, not by half-humans who are programmed to follow only the whims and caprices of a tyrant.

The country depends so much on our overseas workers, yet its power-hungry and insatiable leaders refuse to recognize this reality. Some self-claimed aristocrats, politicians and spanish speaking rich alike, call them unprintable names yet they feed and depend on them.

Ms Arroyo continues to brag about the good economic performance of her administration, setting aside the fact that that “good performance” is attributable to our hardworking OFWs. No, they’re not asking for recognition or expression of gratitude. What they’re after is the promise to make the nation “habitable” by stamping out corruption, venality and abuse of power.

But it seems that this administration still turns a blind eye to the widening call for an end to corruption and official abuse of power. Perhaps now is the time for the country’s Atlases of Today to shrug.

A strike can be best demonstrated not by joining street rallies, but by refusing to act and to do one’s part. Ms Arroyo and her allies boasted that the “goods” depend upon their shoulders.

Now is the time to show who’s providing the goods and who’s stealing the same from us. Now is the time to put an end to the merrymaking of our political-moochers— those looters-by-right and their cronies.

Stop sending dollar remittances! An ingrate regime doesn’t deserve not even a dime for an alms. The OFWs are the country’s creators while the politicians are the country’s parasites.

The best strike is to STOP!


Deployment of OFWs by Top Ten Destinations:

Saudi Arabia: 2005 – 194,350; 2006 – 223,459
United Arab Emirates: 2005 – 82,039;2006 – 99,212
Hong Kong: 2005 – 98,693; 2006- 96,929
Kuwait: 2005 – 40,306; 2006 – 47,917
Qatar: 2005 – 31,421; 2006- 45,795
Taiwan: 2005 – 46,737; 2006 – 39,025
Singapore: 2005 – 28,152; 2006 – 28,369
Italy: 2005 – 21,267; 2006- 25,413
United Kingdom: 2005 – 16,930; 2006- 16,926
Korea: 2005 – 9,975; 2006 – 13,984
Other Destinations: 2005 – 170,762; 2006 – 151,041
Landbased Total: 2005- 740, 632; 2006 – 788, 070


2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2008 3:38

    Indeed the OFWs are the creators of Philippines and it’s time their contribution wasn’t just applauded by using sugary words but also rewarded. The “no remittance day” is not just a strike I feel it’s a movement which is the culmination of the anguish the OFWs are feeling right now. But I am not sure if the Filipinos were really tired of being who they are when they left their country. The expatriates are generally binded by their tradition and culture which is deep rooted in them. Sometimes it’s the necessity that forces them to take some hard decisions. On one of posts on I had encountered the views of an OFW who said that the decision of leaving Philippines wasn’t so easy for him. But yes, as you have said given a choice the OFWs would like to go back home but of course with the promise of getting equal opportunities and other rights.

  2. May 17, 2008 3:38

    Hey, forgive me for not making a quick reply to your comment. I was so busy the past few days that I failed to check my emails and, of course, my friendster account. I checked your blog site and found out you’re into remittance topic or something. Well, if OFWs are really are into what you call campaign, then it will surely have a negative impact on the economy of the country, since we all know- Joey Salceda, the top economist kuno of the president, may disagree- that RP is dependent on dollar remittances.
    They who feed on OFW remittances do not even know how to acknowledge the efforts of the country’s providers– the OFWs.

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