Losing Hope for My Country

I am one of the millions of Filipino OFW or Overseas Filipino Worker.

So what is an OFW? We are Filipino citizens living and working outside of the Philippines. Our remittances make up a bulk of the economy of the country. In short, one of the Philippines’ top commodity is selling her own citizens – it’s a legal form of Human Trafficking.

It is with utter regret to admit that I am losing hope for my country.

As an OFW with more than 10 years of experience abroad, my ultimate goal is to go back home and stay there with my family and friends for good. The progress made by the previous administration gave me hope to the point that I decided to be an absentee voter so that I can participate in the 2016 Presidential Elections and to help keep the momentum going.

Unfortunately, my candidate lost. Mar Roxas lost to the current president – Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte used the issue on drugs as his main campaign agenda. He never once talked about the economy of the country. I guess, he is relying on OFWs to keep on just sending remittances and to stay away from our families until we die in another country.

So now we are in 2017. More than a year into Duterte’s presidency. Where is the Philippines now?

Well, the Philippines is now nowhere. Instead of moving forward everything is either on a stand still or going backward. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I am hoping it remains on the stand still but looks like the movement that the president wants is to go back to the stone age.

What has Duterte’s presidency done so far? Honestly, it made the Philippines look like a country of drug addicts and nothing more. My Indian colleagues come to me and ask me “Do all Filipinos take drugs?” Wow!!!

So congratulations to President Duterte for making me look like a drug addict in front of my non-Filipino colleagues. Good job Mr. President!!!

The goal of the previous administration was to improve the economy in order to also improve the lives of ALL Filipinos – most especially the poor. Don’t get me wrong, the previous administration was not perfect. It is controlled by a political party of your usual type of politicians – corrupt, fat, and evil – but that administration made strides in terms of improving the economy and to bring the Philippine Peso back to respectable levels.

All that progress is gone now. The peso is now back at the P50 to US$1 range. And instead of helping to provide more jobs to the citizens this same government has just taken the livelihood of thousands of Filipinos by suspending Uber. This includes my brother whose main source of income WAS his Uber business.

Instead of helping the country, this administration’s main objective is to put “friends” in government positions regardless of their lack of qualifications. Okay, this may not be a fact but this is my opinion based on what I see.

Imagine, putting lawyers to head the transportation department of the country. What do lawyers know about improving the transport situation of a country? I believe engineers should be handling this department.

Check out the list of cabinet members here. Tell me what is common in their background?

I just hope the country can last the next five years of this administration. More over, I hope President Duterte can prove me wrong. I hope my cousins from Davao can prove me wrong. I hope I am wrong!!!

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Typhoon Haiyan and the Outpouring of Help from Different Countries

Over the weekend the Philippines again saw another natural calamity, at least I hope it is (will get there in a few seconds).  Fresh from a 7.3 earthquake, the same general region of the country now experienced the most powerful typhoon ever in recorded history in the form of Typhoon Haiyan, or locally known as Yolanda.  The immense power of the wind that this monster carried dwarfed those of Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina that struck the US in the past.

Is it a sign that Mother Nature is now revolting against us humans because of how we have treated planet Earth?  In the same week, it was reported that the Western Black Rhino became extinct.

Or is this man made as per the video below?  This is why I mentioned earlier that “at least I hope it is” a natural calamity.

Take note in the YouTube video above the person mentioned he is expecting an earthquake.  Check this out – a 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck Japan.

Regardless if this calamity is man made or still natural I am happy to see that the Philippines is receiving a lot of aid from all over the world, including Singapore.

Singapore is my second home.  I’ve been here for 8 years living among the Singaporeans and other nationalities that live, work and play in this small but great country.  My time here in this great country might be short now but I am truly and ultimately proud to have called it my second home.  This country will have a very special place in my heart.

In the Strait Times article I have linked to, I was saddened to have read that three young Singaporeans were among those who are missing.  I hope that they cannot just be contacted right now much like majority of the entire region affected by this superstorm.  Globe and Smart, mobile companies in the Philippines, have already established temporary cell sites to replace those that were destroyed by the storm.  I hope these girls can somehow find a way to get in touch with their families through these cell sites.  Viber has also made it possible for those in the Philippines to contact their loved ones outside of the country for free.  If these girls have Viber I hope they can contact their relatives here in Singapore.

Last I heard electricity is still an issue (I may be wrong here – I am so far unable to find articles or news that mention this – only from a friend who has family members in the affected zone).  That sucks because even if you have cell sites if your cellphone has no power how will you be able to use it.  I hope Globe and Smart brought with them cellphones for families to use to contact their loved ones inside and outside of the affected areas.

Singapore is lucky to not be in a region of the world that encounters these superstorms.  I hope that this great country will never experience these types of calamities.  I, however, have a bad feeling that someday Singapore will see this type of natural calamities come to her shore.  Normally, the southern part (Mindanao) of the Philippines is free from typhoons but in the recent years more and more typhoons are going nearer to the equator.  My mom, a native of Mindanao, noticed this as well.  I hope we don’t see a time that typhoons are present on the equator.

If this ever happens I will surely return the help that this country gave my countrymen in my country’s time of need.

Again, to Singapore and to the rest of the world, thank you for helping my country!  I may not have any loved ones in the affected areas but as a Filipino in general I say “maraming salamat”!

7.2 Earthquake in the Philippines

Last Tuesday, October 15, 2013, a 7.2 earthquake rocked the Visayas region of the Philippines.  The main areas hit by the quake are Cebu and Bohol.

A friend of mine recently posted a blog about what she felt about this tragedy especially since she just came from Bohol for a vacation.

I can relate with her because of this video.

This video shows the Basilica Del Sto. Nino and the partial collapse of its belfry.  Earlier this year I went to Cebu and was lucky enough to see this church and its interiors.  It’s right beside the Magellan’s Cross which I posted here in my site a couple of month’s ago.

It’s sad to see these old churches and historical sites collapse or get damaged but in all honesty there is very little that humans can do.  I read somewhere that a 7.2 earthquake is roughly equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs.  What are the chances of an old building like this have against that immense power?  If mother nature wants to claim back what is hers she can.

I just hope that one day the people of Cebu and the other affected areas can stand up again like what Filipinos normally do.  We always get up no matter how big the challenge is.  Also, I hope that they can rebuild or fix the damaged parts of the historic sites – yes it will no longer be authentic but at least it will be available for other generations to see and experience.