Friday, February 17, 2012

Worldwide Export

OFW remittances hit record $20B

Just firing up the stove for another gasbag of opinion.

As an expatriate Filipino, instead of giving me a bigger sense of pride, it is giving me a greater sense of disappointment.

I am not saying "nay" to overseas employment.  Like free trade in goods and services, there should be freedom in the movement of natural persons to seek employment.   Filipinos, by virtue of our natural resilience and eagerness to succeed (yes, our English is considerably better than those of other nationals.  But that advantage is fast disappearing, thanks to declining standards and poorer comprehension in today's graduates.  End of long parenthetical thought), are uniquely prepared to compete in the global environment.  A significant amount of the world's seafarers are Filipinos.  Many of the drillers and other technical workers in the Gulf oil industry are Filipinos.  Filipino engineers are unnamed heroes in the transformation of this region, as highways, seaports, airports, water and power installations, factories, and commercial buildings have been built with Filipino technical expertise in their design and construction.  One can see Arab names in the headlines, but the significant contributions have been made by Filipinos and other expatriates.

I cannot say "nay" to overseas Filipino employment because my being employed in Saudi Arabia is paying our family's bills, as overseas employment sustains the lives of millions of Filipinos.  Our country's Gross National Product is dependent on remittances, and if anything, expatriate contributions have kept the economy stable and that our country has sufficient reserves of foreign currency.

I cannot say "nay" because throughout the political and economic turmoils that have afflicted the country, the region, and worldwide, our country has not gone under.  Remittances are our economic anchor.

It's just that because of this economic anchor, government policy has not been sufficiently progressive in addressing the key issues ailing our economy.  What makes matters worse is that of creating an environment conducive for expatriates to return to the country for retirement, the result is just the opposite.

As for the picture, that is taken from a recent recruitment campaign in Pakistan.  Like the Philippines, the country is wracked with contradictions, and has all the indications of a failing state.  During my short stay there, I came to appreciate the deep pride Pakistanis have in their country and their thoughts on the many changes which have changed the face of Pakistan.  Like our country, Pakistan is a client-state of the United States.  Like our country, Pakistan is dependent on foreign remittances.

For a country that is profoundly beautiful and blessed with natural and human resources, it is a testament of man's insensitivity, of man's inhumanity to man, of structural violence, that people should want to leave their homeland.

I am not talking about Pakistan alone.  I am talking about the Philippines too.

I'd like to take aim at the usual suspects here - but I am just too tired.  I'd like to put forward the following thoughts:
I believe it is essential for our country to prosecute corrupt government officials.  I am not in favor of the way  our current administration is going about it.  Because of this, landmines have been laid in the way for future impeachment trials.
I don't understand the rabid fervor by which the defenders of Chief Justice Corona are mounting their campaign to prove his innocence.  The lady doth protest too much.  Instead of convincing people that CJ Corona is innocent, the more they are playing into the hands of the conspiracy theorists.  Just shut up and let the trial continue.  Let the prosecution keep on shooting themselves in their collective foot.
Instead of being put off by the trial, people should educate themselves on the duties and responsibilities of their government officials.  Watch the officials who conduct themselves with integrity and intelligence.  Learn about how government works, so that the next time you can make informed decisions on the people that you elect.
Which reminds me - have to start filing up that OAV registration form.  I do plan to vote in 2013.

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