A Call-Out to Filipinos Overseas!

PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN FRIENDSHIP DAY!

It’s only been a couple of days since the 4th of July (Philippine-American Friendship Day) and I have been seeing this post make its way around facebook and some online Filipino and expat forums. I thought it would be nice to share. Obviously written by a Filipino patriot but the actual author’s name is unknown.

“The Philippines has a long history with America. We were once an American Colony and one of its commonwealth nations. We could have been like Hawaii today, but our leaders then opted for independence.

Then aspiring president Manuel Quezon proudly boasted “I would rather have the Philippines run like hell by Filipinos, than run like heaven by the Americans.” He was right. He and other leaders after him ran the Philippines like hell, causing our best and our brightest to leave the country in droves, especially during Marcos years.

That flood gate of economic and political migration continued to pour when our neighboring countries became highly developed (again during Marcos years), leaving us in the bottom of the poorest countries in the world. It turned our teachers into domestic workers in Hong Kong and Singapore, and Engineers into construction laborers in the middle east. In America and Canada, our doctors became health care givers, only at the bottom of their hospital staff. They even have to work under nurses.

Today, we celebrate our friendship with America with mixed feelings. Grateful for our mighty ally for liberating us from the cruel Japanese invaders, but maybe giving us back our freedom too early too soon. Like an insecure teenager with car keys and loads of cash, we crashed and ended up broke, then blame America (our dad), for our woes. Truth is, like a dysfunctional kid, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Let me use this moment to encourage our Filipino brothers and sisters in America to come home. Don’t just send home the money you have earned, come home and share the knowledge you have learned. Help your fellow Filipinos bloom where they are born and grow where they are planted. Help us grow our country from ground up! The Philippines do not just need your remittance dollars, we need your physical presence while you can still serve.

A prosperous Philippines will make a better friend of America.”

~ Author unknown.

This call to come home might come to fruition if President Duterte get things straightened out. Then again, maybe not.

9 thoughts on “A Call-Out to Filipinos Overseas!

  1. Many, if not most, Filipinos in America are spouses of servicemen. Hard to get them home with current rules in place and a somewhat hostile environment in some areas (Mindanao). If Duterte can clean that up, it would go along way. I also think the business rules could probably use some help. If you want jobs and opportunities, you need to change the rules on ownership a bit. For instance if I were to come to the Philippines permanently, I would want to own my own home which I cannot (my wife is American). And if I were to open a business in the Philippines, I would want to own the property and buildings it was on. Part of business is being able to know what your expenses are going to be from year to year. Hard to know if you don’t own the land/buildings. And I am not sure Duterte is all that friendly to Americans. I do understand that you don’t want to open up everything to foreigners or you won’t have anything owned by Philippine citizens. So it is a complex issue. Perhaps limit ownership in some way (long term leasing maybe). Anyway, to improve the lives of the people, you have to start with jobs that pay a better wage than those available to them now do.

    • The number of Filipinos married to Americans are only a very small percentage of the total population of Filipinos in the U.S. However, your assessment of Philippines protectionism is right on. If the Philippines would relax some laws on business participation and ownership, and home ownership, things would certainly improve. Favored trade status would also go along way to creating a more competitive business climate, improving in-country productivity overall.These ideas are probably only the tip of the iceberg. Thanks for your comment Greg.

    • Ownership is not what it is cracked up to be. When most foreigners think of owning something they remember what that meant where they came from, the “logical” meaning. But ownership depends on somebody or some institution defending that idea, that document, that person.
      In the Philippines it is at least as important who you are as what the documentation says in a legal dispute. For example, as a foreigner going to civil court you can expect to lose every preliminary decision, like who holds the property until the case is decided. These decisions are not subject to review by higher courts so the judge has no fear of being overturned. This means that if a Filipino files a case against your property, no matter how stupid, he gets your stuff for possibly 8 years. Justice in the Philippines is very slow, largely because the thinking of lawyers is that they get paid for showing up every time, so they work together to show up as many times as possible by asking for a “continuous” saying that they don’t have a witness or a conflicting engagement or something, 30 to 50 times for each case. Each time it is P1000 or p1500 for the client. No lawyer, or judge ever gets penalized for this fraud (unless your are a powerful Filipino). Because of this, arguing that your paperwork is flawless, that you know the sellers, that you went through a reputable relator… Is just foolishness.

    • Greg; while you can’t own a home, you CAN own a condo as you are not “owning” the land underneath it. I read online you can get a condo on the beach for under $100,000. I can’t verify that but housing is so cheap here I believe it! Unless you are married to a a filipina you are pretty much limited to simply retiring here :(. You are right on the business part and Duterte, unfortunately.

    • Greg: While you can’t have a business and land or own your own land for a home, you CAN buy a condo as a foreigner; I read you can buy one on the beach for under $100,000! I can’t verify that though.

  2. It is useless to plea to migrated Filipinos to return from far away places as they have built lives, often with children, in other lands. They know the Filipino character and how ingrained it is. They know that the Philippines they left no longer exists, except in the mentality of outsiders and insiders. Outsiders are to be fleeced, insiders have some power. You cannot return to the Philippines flush with cash and think that you can start where you left off, start from the top, or even be thought of as an insider by your family as they remember you abroad (where gold lies in the street and you, failed to pick a lot up, for them).
    This article also ignores the fact that Filipinos do go home on vacation. On those vacations they test out ideas of returning, or staying in both places. They test the waters trying to quest that loneliness that is part of living in exile, and some do indeed move back.
    Most do not though as the article suggests. They have gotten used to living in countries where almost everything works as described. Where recourse for fraud is defined and effective as a deterrent. Where work is financially more rewarding. Where police investigate laws and help prosecute offenders no matter who you are.
    This also ignores the that the average person in the Philippines has very little to say about how (or how well) government works, even if he has money. They know that there is no limit to greed, that politicians are in it for money and power and the more they get the better not I got what I came for so now I can pass some on.

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