23 August 2006

The joke on us

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. (Will Rogers)

This quote is so fitting for the Philippines, where I'm sure quite a large number agree with me that the government is a joke. I don't think I need to cite examples to prove it, although several key words come to mind: Supermaid, Jose Pidal, Hello Garci, just to name a few. Besides, where else will you find a country where mediocre (and that's an exaggeration) "actors" like Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada sit in the Senate. They're just the tip of the iceberg: There are many other jokes sitting in very powerful government offices. No wonder more and more Filipinos are opting to leave the country for good.

Just this afternoon, an old officemate informed me that he and his family are migrating to New Zealand this December. This evening, another friend of mine is leaving for the US with his girlfriend, likely for good. Another friend is just waiting for Canada to give her the go-ahead to leave. My cousin is also in the process of bringing his entire family to Canada.

Over the past few years, I've watched my brother and his family, some relatives and friends, and a number of acquaintances pack up and go. You ask them why and most will say they no longer see a good future here in the Philippines (no thanks to the government, and not just the present one). I have to say the I've toyed with the idea myself, many times.

I've also seen a number of articles urging our people to remain home rather than relocate. Despite my thoughts about migrating, for the most part, I'm still convinced that I have a good life here. Still, I can't really blame those who leave. How can I? And this is particularly true for families with kids, who despite having both parents working their buns off, still have trouble making ends meet here. Case in point: my brother and his family. When they were still here, both he and his wife were working. Their two kids are school age, one needing special education (regular education is already so expensive in this country, and special ed coupled with regular therapy even more so). Now living in London, my sister-in-law works while my brother stays home to look after the kids (he is looking for a job that will allow him to work around the kids' schedule), my nephews are getting good quality education for free. Sure, there are drawbacks (high taxes and most especially, homesickness), but on the whole, they are doing better there than here; at the very least the future seems to look better for my nephews.

The successive administrations that had been and is running the Philippine government talked incessantly about pulling the country out of poverty, yet education and health care (two of the biggest factors that will help improve the life of Filipinos) continue to be ignored. Oh sure, they get passing mention, but that's it. Why, higher pay is luring our teachers, especially the good ones, to teach children in other countries and at the same time drawing our doctors and nurses to care for people in other countries. Meanwhile, many of our children no longer have the care of both parents since one or both of them are working abroad (where many are subject to abusive employers). Funny thing is, this administration is hell bent on sending more Pinoys out in the world so they can send back dollars, as this will help our economy. Yeah, but at what expense???? What a joke!

I know that the problems of this country has gotten so bad, it's going to take a long, long time before they get fixed. I only wish I'm seeing steps being taken towards that end. As it is, we seem to be stuck in a really bad Pinoy sit-com. When will it end???


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