Monday, August 13, 2007

Get Me My Bolo

This from the wire service: “A hostage-taking incident at a manpower placement agency ended peacefully after the suspect released his victim and gave up to police.

The suspect, applicant Gilbert Ember, 23, held Ergie Alcala, 27, officer-in-charge of the Triple I Manpower Agency with a jungle bolo, allegedly to demand the refund of his P40 registration fee.”

We are talking about an amount less than a dollar here but I hope it is clear to one and all that the desperation stems from the kind of work these people apply for and the $125 that they can potentially send back home very month if they don’t spend hardly anything on themselves, meaning they rely on kindly employers and friends for toothpaste and soap.

It takes a major investment to be “deployed” abroad. This is an operation that requires the efforts of the whole family. If you are going to work as a “domestic” (euphemistic term for maid) in Lebanon, it will take you about 18 months to break even with your initial investment. And the work is drudgery, manual and above all, lonely. And we are not factoring yet the abundant cases of abuse that are overwhelmingly kept secret.

Meanwhile your family back in the Philippines becomes inured to the monthly stipend and the kids, to compensate for your absence are allowed every whim and fancy to remind them that they are loved and not forgotten. This is an opportune period for the stay-behind spouse to ponder his/her human need for companionship.

It’s a tough life these “applicants” are headed for. In many countries, there is no religious freedom and in a court of law, all it takes is the testimony of the employer to secure a conviction. So understand why even you will reach for a machete when you realize the rape begins at home.


g. g. lacsamana said...

This again illustrates the desperation we see routinely at home, and almost everyone wants to leave home because jobs are either absent or scant. It's no wonder we have about 12 million Filipinos who have left home either as immigrants to other countries or as transient overseas workers.

The lives of some OFWs must be brutal as described here by the good Doc. All because the economy has not been able to create jobs at home though the president recently gave heself an "A" for a job well done. But where are those jobs, Madam? Are we blind to the continuing exodus of Filipinos taking place every month?

Just this week, Health Secretary Francisco Duque announced a plan to stop physicians from going abroad, recognizing there is an impending health crisis with a shortage of doctors. But that would not be true for nurses and other personnel, since we have become like factories in producing large quantities of nurses, therapists, and other caretakers needed abroad. And you can bet those doctors back home will now start switching to nursing. (I wonder what the good Doc thinks of this.)

Radical reforms are what we need to solve the multifarious problems
that have defied solutions by all sorts of leaders we have had, a lot of them phony. We need a breath of fresh air, and I hope the good Doc, assuming he decides to stay home, will be one of the architects of a new era. It's past time to change the ways things have been run for years, with no concrete results.

That machete should be a cutting symbol of the bad times we are in.

Martin D. Bautista, M.D. said...

How can you stop a doctor from leaving the country? There is no ethical way to do this. This was only a suggestion by the way from the health secretary whose nephiews and nieces are all abroad working as medical professionals.