NOW that the BSP and NEDA have gotten their way, help the commodity exporters by giving them a preferential exchange rate. This is being facilitated by DBP, one of two banks where billions of OFW funds entrusted to OWWA are invested. Is the support government giving the commodity exporters' group coming from the sweat and blood of overseas Filipino workers? I suspect it is. But what can we do? The government knows that while we have the numbers, we have no power because we are not organized, unlike the very few members of the commodity export community. The government knows that like it or not, we will have to send money back home and there is no need to give us a special exchange rate. The government knows that whatever it does, our remittances will continue to flow, month in and month out. But wait, the government also offered us something. Yes, it is willing to give us a special rate, provided we course our remittances through their favorite Postal Saving Bank. What an insult! I think we have had enough. I think it is high time that we show some muscle. I think it is time to boycott the Arroyo administration. I think it is time we cut our remittances by half during the next six months. This will be very hard, I know. But some sacrifice is called for, from us and our family, if we are to retake our place in a society that has started to look at us as second-class Filipinos. The time to act is now!
July 2007 Archives
THE PRESIDENT'S SONA [State of the Nation Address] was full of power and with a vision for the future of the country. I wish her all the luck and no hard feelings for those who criticize her but why not try to be a part of the plan. Work together for the sake of developing our country. "Tama na ang batikusan at paninisi, panahon na para magtulungan para naman gumanda ang bansa natin." -- Luis Tuazon, Berkshire, United Kingdom (via e-mail)
I WOULD like to address this to the Hon. [Public Works] Secretary H[ermogenes] Ebdane. Dismantling of the billboards is a waste of taxpayers' money in the sense as only the tarpaulins or canvasses are being taken away. The frames remain which prompts the advertisers to put up the ads again and again right after the tarpaulins or canvasses are taken out. In other words, the Department of Public Works and Highways will be wasting time and money dismantling the billboards as they will keep coming back. Another thing is that implementation of this order is not being adhered to by the local governments. We need a strong hand or law to compel these LGUs to adhere to the law by force. This in one way to stop wasting taxpayers' money. -- Rupert Buenaventura, Australia (via e-mail)
I WOULD like to echo many friends of mine who have gone through Clark and have been vocal and embarrassed by the poor services in Clark's [Diosdado Macapagal International] Airport. It reflects on the country as well. The airport is not passenger-friendly. Transportation is also limited. There is no orderliness.You get to suspect that the management of the airport is devoting more time pondering the cuts and commissions that can be derived from the various contracts and deals than putting more time on how to improve airport services. Pathetic. -- Paul Pilapil, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (via e-mail)
THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines leadership has pronounced (for the nth number of times) that it is going to defeat the communist insurgency, often giving itself deadlines it can never achieve. As long as the AFP doesn't get rid of its "body-count" mentality or weighing its accomplishments by the number of enemies killed, it will never be able to accomplish its goal. "Utak-pulbura" -- the AFP is full of people with this mindset, basing its strategic policies on the use of brute force, not fully understanding and mastering the enemy psyche of propaganda, grassroots development, legal representation in government, etc. Yes, the AFP has racked up numbers in terms of enemies killed. But for every dead communist, not to mention the Islamic insurgent, a brother, son, cousin or uncle is ready and more than willing to take his or her place. The enemy ranks increase exponentially with the perception that the AFP is involved in extra-judicial killings. While the AFP has tried other means of fighting the insurgency, it has done so half-heartedly, sporadically and in uncoordinated fashion. In a recent report in the Inquirer, the AFP leadership proclaimed that it can beat the Communist insurgency without the help of the United States military, when it could have just declined politely by invoking the Constitution. When the AFP cannot even solve the problem of institutionalizing the mere undershirt of its people across the major services, then it still has a long way to go in solving the Communist menace. -- Jun Bauzon Odono, Parañaque (via e-mail)
FOR the 99.9% of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) who have had no other business with POEA/OWWA (Philippine Overseas Employment Agency/Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) apart from the annual (or for a few, every six or four months) ritual of paying for an exit pass at the perennially overcrowded basement of the POEA building in Manila, this news of an incident that turned violent comes as no surprise at all. Consider that on the part of the OFW, this ritual, coming as it does during or nearly at the end of a well-earned and well-deserved vacation, becomes as it were, a "vacation spoiler." Like death or taxes, (literally for the second), it is something the OFW cannot avoid doing. Meantime, from the other side of the processing window, the poorly paid and often harassed (not even a government employee, it turns out, but a contractor-hired employee) processor, sees the vast crowd, and begins to tremble at the prospect of what for him or her is the daily ritual of satisfying this impatient throng. So tempers flare, from both sides of the window. Not unexpectedly. Until POEA/OWWA comes up with a better, less obtrusive way of collecting dues from the so-called "new heroes," we have not heard the end of such incidents. -- Jorge Nator, Al-Khafji, Saudi Arabia (via e-mail)