Posts Tagged 'OFW'

A Milking-The-Cash-Cow Crisis!

I am currently processing my Hong Kong exit papers. I am returning home to take a new job opportunity and to be with my wife and 3-month old angel. Nothing is sweeter… 

So what crisis am I talking about then? Well, if I will be working in the Philippines again, that means my “cash cow” days are over. I am an Overseas Filipino Worker no more! How can I keep an OFW blog if I am no longer an OFW? Should I stop posting and quit? Should I reformat? Should I create a new blog? Will I have extra time for blogging?

…the decision will have to be made once I get home. I would need to readjust first… It’s a wait-and-see at this point…

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Chip Tsao is an Idiot!

Filipinos around the world are fuming mad over the article, “The War at Home”, by Chip Tsao for HK Magazine. Of course, I am also angry, but not that much. Having lived in Hongkie (I’d always wanted to use that term, thank you Mr. Tsao for giving me the opportunity!) town for about 2 years now, I know that Tsao does not represent the whole Hong Kong populace in this respect. There are plenty of HK Chinese out here who respect and admire Pinoys. It is because of them that I am keeping my cool with this issue.

If you haven’t read it yet, here is the full article written by the great Chip Tsao. See for yourself why this “satire”, as declared by Tsao apologists, is a failure:

—————-

The War at Home
By Chip Tsao

The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen onboard. We can live with that–Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That’s no big problem–we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on–even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: There are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as HK$3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell everyone of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her Government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.

Oh yes. The Government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout ‘China, Madam/Sir’ loudly whenever they hear the word “Spratly”. They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, “Long live Chairman Mao!” at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that’s going a bit too far, at least for the time being.

—————-

Here are some more reactions to Chip Tsao’s idiocy:

http://bungangaraw.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/chip-tsaos-cheap-shot/

http://filipinovoices.com/in-praise-of-chip-tsao

http://pedestrianobserver.blogspot.com/2009/03/chip-tsao-satire-sparking-controversy.html

http://ruffybiazon.wordpress.com/2009/03/29/why-mr-chip-tsao-wrote-that-article/

http://pinoyobserver.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/chip-tsao-learnings-about-satire/

http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2009/0329_cayetano1.asp

http://midfield.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/filipinos-rebuke-chip-tsaos-cheap-shot/

http://queeniemb.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/when-the-servants-stop-serving-what-will-happen-with-chip-tsao/

http://hanseman.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/philippines-a-nation-of-servants/

http://kikomatching.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/is-philippines-really-a-nation-of-servants/

http://mackyramirez.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/disaster-has-a-passport-mr-bean-err-mr-tsao/

http://reynaelena.com/2009/03/29/that-xenophobic-and-barbaric-chinese-remarks/

http://jimcaro.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/the-master-and-the-servant/

“Made in China”

nicashuttercow

Around 4 in the early morning of 17 February 2009, I was sent a text message from the Philippines. It was my mother-in-law telling me that my wife’s water bag broke and that they were already going to the hospital. Actually, she sent me the same sms thrice before I picked up my cell phone and jolted off the bed. That was my mark. I had to hurry back home. Good that Manila is just a 2-hour flight from Hong Kong. Every second mattered. I promised my wife that I will be there when she delivers our first baby. I was so excited but I also felt bad that morning. I should have been with her the minute she had indications of labor. Alas, that is the sad fate of OFWs. Physical separation from loved ones is part of the sacrifice.

Rewind more than 9 months back… My wife spent her summer vacation with me. It was the longest time we ever spent together since we got married. She stayed with me in HK for more than a month. So “Made in China” our baby was. What else is not created in China nowadays? Food, drugs, cosmetics, garments, appliances, toys, electronics, gadgets, cars, ships, airplanes, rockets… You name it, them Chinese can make it! When will the Philippines beat that?

Back to my story… I was able to catch a Philippine Airlines flight scheduled at 1pm. Arrived in the Philippines before 3pm. Hired a cab to my in-laws’ house and arrived there before 4pm. Then my father-in-law took me to the hospital, just in time to see my daughter being placed in the nursery. A scene I would never forget! Wrapped in pink sheets was this tiny girl, born at exactly 4:04pm, grey eyes wide open, yawning every now and then, a few bubbles coming out of her pretty mouth as if teasing me. She was lovely!

This cash cow is now a father at last.

Good job!

Finally, I get to write something positive about the Philippine Government. I have been dreaming about this for a very, very, very long time. This blog is not only about complaining you know. Ranting really helps me blow off steam but I don’t want to do it chronically because it can also drain one’s energy. Besides, I don’t want to be called a misanthrope. How can a docile “cow” be one huh?

More than 800,000 new jobs were identified in a joint summit recently held in Malacañang and attended by representatives from the government, academe, church, nongovernmental organizations, business, and labor sectors. The jobs will be created by the government for economic pump-priming as stated in a communiqué issued by the summit participants. For this, I commend all the officials who attended the conference; most especially the Department of Labor and Employment. Bravo! Sana palaging ganyan! Tulong-tulong.

The Inquirer stated that, “the following emergency employment positions are to be created:

• 506,082 at the Department of Public Works and Highways and 27,222 in the department’s its roadside maintenance program employing out-of-school youths

• 100,000 at the Department of Education and the state universities and colleges’ repair of classrooms and school buildings

• 81,134 in the Department of Agriculture’s irrigation projects, 36,500 in farm-to-market road projects, 10,400 in organic fertilizer production, and 3,645 in goat dispersal [whatever that means]

• 35,000 in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Bantay-Gubat [Forest Watch] and a project for displaced upland workers

• 23,550 in Department of Labor and Employment projects under the Tulong Hanapbuhay [Livelihood Aid] for Disadvantaged Workers and the Integrated Services for Livelihood and Advancement of Fisherfolk

• 1,022 in Laguna Water Lily Development of the Department of Trade and Industry.

The seven-page communiqué, a copy of which the labor department provided reporters, also said 80,000 to 100,000 jobs would be created in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

Now, add to that about 400,000 new overseas jobs waiting to be filled up as listed at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. Good news indeed right?

I just hope the given figures are accurate and that the implementation phase would be smooth sailing and corruption-free. I also hope that there will be more encouraging announcements like this in the future. The numbers may still be small relative to the current total population of the country but the initiative is still praiseworthy.

Salamat Ginoong Roque at Ginang Arroyo!

References:

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/topstories/topstories/view/20090210-188390/Govt-projects-aim-for-800000-jobs

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/148012/Business-labor-push-for-creation-of-13-M-jobs

http://www.dole.gov.ph/news/details.asp?id=N000002291

Credit grabber par excellence

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!!!

Reference:
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/news/view/20090203-187201/Arroyo-Saudi-OFWs-jobs-safe

POEA OEC Services

Is it Overseas Employment Certificate or Overseas Exit Clearance? Anyway, I am glad Philippine Overseas Employment Administration offices are open on December 22, 23, 24, 26 and 29 and January 2, 2009. All returning cash cows like me should not forget to apply for an OEC to avoid hassle in the airport when they leave beloved Pilipinas again. See this news advisory from POEA:

http://www.poea.gov.ph/news/2008/PR-Nov2008_BM_peak.pdf

If for some reason (like avoiding blood pressure elevation) you don’t want to see any POEA personnel, you can apply for OEC online through Citizen Services.  I haven’t tried this yet but I celebrate POEA for having this option made available to OFWs… But honestly, it would have been much better if they remove the Php 100.00 processing fee. Massive OFW remittances to the country should be enough to cover for this. Besides, “processing” is an integral function of a government agency. Why charge for it?

Bawat kibot mo talaga sa Pilipinas kailangan may bayad.  Tsk tsk…

My top 4 all-time favorite Filipino government officials as of today

I am so happy because we have leaders like Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Noli De Castro, Prospero Nograles and Marianito Roque. Monuments should be erected and songs should be written in their honor. Streets, avenues and highways should be named after them. They should be praised for their contributions to Philippine politics, culture and society.

Leader No. 1. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

The photo-op President. I am sure those retrenched workers from Taiwan who wanted an audience with her but got “a bagful of brochures” instead would be delighted to hear that she found 37,000 job vacancies in Qatar recently. That is really something Mrs. President. Hurrah! Just when we thought the country would be swamped with thousands of returning OFWs because of the global economic crisis, you found another foreign land that would gladly absorb them. You are really getting good at this Filipino brain and talent exporting business thingy, Madame. That is just what the country needs right now. The more Filipinos sent abroad, the better for the economy! I think, if Oxford would ever consider adding a definition for the acronym “OFW” in future editions of its dictionary, it should state that “OFW” is slang for “a THING or COMMODITY akin to electronic chips, computer parts or even dried mangoes, which can be exported, used and abused by the government as leverage for economic growth.”

Leader No. 2. Noli De Castro

The “Kabayan” Vice President—during the inauguration of a BPO facility in Pasay City—is so proud that “the Philippines has enough supply of educated English-speaking labor force”. Right on! That is also a must for a country that has a multitude of dialects. Forget the Filipino language, we don’t need that anymore. We need more English-speaking youths and more call centers. That is the enlightened path the Philippines should take in the 21st century. We should promote the country as a BPO haven so that it will be forever chained to the economies of the English-speaking world. Forget heavy industries and high local content manufacturing. BPO is the way to go!

Leader No. 3. Prospero Nograles

The Speaker. I almost broke my neck the other day nodding in agreement with Noggy’s proposal to remove the existing limitations on foreign ownership of land. This should have been proposed a long time ago. Come to think of it, why did we ever remove the rights of Spain or the United States to own vast tracts of lands in the Philippines? They should have been invited to stay to cultivate and develop the land for us. Bad Filipinos! Look at what you’ve done! Now, we have to lure back some foreigners again because we are hopeless without them.

Along with Noggy’s, the collective mindset of Leaders 1 and 2 is highly sound and ultra-clear. Actually, there is a mathematical formula for it. Here,

MORE Filipinos working abroad +
MORE English-speaking Filipinos +
MORE foreigners possessing Filipino land =
HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!!!

Very simple. That is not too difficult to comprehend isn’t it? Cool then! Now, let’s continue extolling Noggy’s virtues. On the issue of Charter change, he was quoted to say that, “Only members of Congress can vote on these measures and they may possibly be influenced by the public outcry. But the demonstrations on the streets and its leaders cannot vote for or against Cha-cha [Charter change]. It’s the vote of congressmen and senators that will count. Not the streets.”

Well said, Mr. Honorable Speaker! You are truly the SPEAKER of the people. Crush the puny minority! Majority wins! Authority rocks! The House of Representatives should not be bothered by anyone. Most especially, it should not care about the people who it should be “representing” in the first place.

Leader No. 4. Marianito Roque

The DOLE Head. He is my favorite Secretary in the executive branch because this guy thinks fast and has valuable foresight. Imagine, he was able to identify the Middle East as shock absorber for OFWs facing possible retrenchment. Not only that, he has also found Canada and Australia as promising OFW destinations despite the global financial crunch. He recently announced that Canada has issued 8,000 visas to Filipinos! Wow! I couldn’t count all of that using my fingers and toes! Well, need I say more about the brilliant secretary? He is a true marvel. I would be eternally indebted to Sec. Roque, if I were among the 8,000 selected to go to Canada. These Filipinos are so darn lucky because finally, they would be earning Canadian Dollars. More importantly, they would have better chances of acquiring Canadian citizenship, which would allow them to leave our sick and yucky country for good. Probably, take a relative or two with them at that. Why not? It is also a good way for the government to ease population stress in the country. Not to mention, these future ex-Filipinos would still probably remit money to the country anyway. That’s a win-win-win scenario isn’t it?

——————————–

References:

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/139147/Retrenched-OFWs-duped-by-Malaca%C5%88ang-says-Migrante

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/dec/15/yehey/top_stories/20081215top1.html

http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/editorial/view/20081126-174378/Constitutional-menace

http://www.asianewsnet.net/news.php?id=3084&sec=3

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20081211-177421/Nograles-nixes-Charter-change-protests

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20081209-176852/8000-Canada-visas-issued-to-Filipinos

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20081020-167438/Middle-East-will-be-OFW-shock-absorber


THE BLOG AND THE AUTHOR:

...sapagkat ang gobyerno natin ay may "cash cow mentality" pagdating sa mga Overseas Filipino Workers.

(Read On "Milking the Cash Cow")

...sapagkat ako ay isa ring OFW; may mithiin, marunong magisip at nagnanais marinig... Makabagong bayani daw... Sa totoo'y tampok na gatasan ng pamahalaan. (English)

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