Archive | August, 2010

The Tragedy Will Not Define Who We Are

26 Aug

The hostage standoff that happened a few days ago in Manila should not define who the Filipinos are or should not be the basis of how safe it is in the Philippines. Tragedies happen, no one likes it. It happens not just in the Philippines but in all cities all over the world, like the school rampage in Virginia Tech that took the lives of 32 innocent college students and teachers in 2007, the 17-year old kid in Germany who killed 15 people, or the attack in a kindergarten school in China that killed 7 children and 2 others just a couple of months ago. We all feel the anguish over what happened and we sympathized to all the family of the victims. Mr. Mendoza may have done something wrong but he’s not the sole person to be blamed. The hostage crisis just showed us many realities – the injustices, lack of proper training, lack of funds, inadequacies, inhuman treatment, biases, unfair treatment given to Filipinos abroad and so many others. It could have been prevented like many of us say, and that is true.

Living in what the powerful nations called as a “Third World Country” like Philippines is hard and incidents like these that tainted our image as nation in the international community makes it even harder, especially for the Filipinos abroad trying to make a living. We are judged. We’ve already been branded. People in the some parts of the world seem to have forgotten the Filipinos’ contributions to make their lives easier. Our fellowmen, out of wanting to give their families back home a proper shelter to live, food on their table and education for their children, accept the jobs even if that means being away from their families.

They forgot to be grateful to the Filipino domestic helpers abroad who help make their lives easier by taking care of their children and looking after their houses. They forgot to be grateful to Filipino caregivers who assist their aged parents in nursing homes or to the Filipino nurses and doctors at the hospitals. They forgot to be grateful to the Filipino waiters and waitresses who prepare their family meals while these Filipinos wish they were having dinner with their families instead. They forgot how to be grateful to Filipino drivers and construction workers in the Middle East. They forgot how to be grateful to Filipino seafarers on the cruise ship that makes their luxury travel even more fun and entertaining.

They didn’t know the effects of having a love one work abroad taking care of other people’s children instead of their own. They miss a lot of opportunities to show their love for their offspring. For mothers and fathers who weren’t able to see how their infants grow up, to hear their babies utter their first words, to see them climb, to see them walk, to send them to school on their first day of classes, to see them received their first award in school. They didn’t know the effects of not being around. Their children grow distant, their own children not even knowing who they are.

These are the sacrifices that these brave Filipinos abroad endure, and yet they treat them in an inhuman way, physically torturing or sexually violating some of them and the most recent, firing them from their jobs just for being a Filipino. No one wishes for any of the hostages to die including Mr. Mendoza. What he did was wrong whatever reasons he may have, but this action is not enough to be ashamed of him as a fellow Filipino. He was a good Filipino citizen but he was a victim as well, a victim of injustices that is. The insensitive mob, including those officers smiling before the camera was a shame I have to admit, but I will not be ashamed of being a Filipino. This tragedy will not define who we are as people and as a nation. We are still a nation of God-fearing citizens, hardworking individuals, optimistic and hospitable people. As long as these traits remain, Philippines is still a safe place to be.


August 26, 2010


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