President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was in Saudi Arabia last week. There, she declared that OFWs in the kingdom need not worry about loosing their jobs. She assured that Filipino expatriates working there are safe despite the global financial meltdown. C’mon! What is she talking about?! She could not even keep the unemployment rate in her “Strong Republic” at a respectable level. How will she keep jobs safe in a territory she has no authority over for her compatriots? The oil-rich Saudi is also adjusting to minimize the deleterious effects of the financial crisis on their economy. Uncertainty looms. When push comes to shove, will the kingdom give priority to OFWs, say, versus their own citizens? Of course not! Filipinos scattered around the world will always be second class residents in their host countries; and being second class really sucks! But what sucks more is when your own government, torn by internal bickering and corruption, is too indulgent and does not seem to have any long term plans to counteract the diaspora.
On the contrary, since Philippine GDP benefits from OFW remittances, the government continues to make policies that enables emigration. This is a major dilemma. So, should we prevent something that is helping the economy stay afloat? I guess the answer is NO, sadly, because we have no choice right now. But I pray that the next president and future officials of our beloved country would not have this “cash cow” mindset because it just adds fuel to the fire.
As I have said in previous posts, the OFW phenomenon is a symptom of a problem. It is not the solution to the ills of our nation. Even without government officials acting as intermediaries between OFW wannabees and foreign employers, Filipinos will still be able to find overseas employment out of necessity. So when some big shot self-centered government official, always quick on the pogi points, announces that he or she was able to find a number of job opportunities in the Middle East or in Europe or even in Mars, my blood boils! That is like credit grabbing! In the first place, officials should not be looking for jobs outside the country. They should create jobs INSIDE the country! Looking for jobs overseas is a no-brainer. Anyone can do that! We have plenty of private employment agencies to help us. What a waste of taxpayer money some of our government officials are! I suggest they end their career in government and set up an overseas employment agency instead.
According to the Inquirer, President GMA stated, “Dito sa Saudi ang pinakamalaking expatriate Filipino community sa buong mundo. Gusto kong tiyakin na matatag ang trabaho ninyo dito sa kabila ng pandaigdigang krisis sa ekonomiya, dahil may mga kababayang nawawalan ng trabaho sa ibat-ibang bansa. [The biggest expatriate Filipino community in the world is in Saudi. I want to assure you that your jobs are secure here, because in other parts of the world, our countrymen are losing their jobs].”
These are very big but empty words. Can she tell Filipinos who are still in the Philippines the same thing? That jobs in our country are secure despite the crisis? That is what I would really want to hear. That is what we should expect to hear from a president.
STOP MILKING THE CASH COW!!!