Filipino overseas workers in Taiwan have been unnecessarily dragged into the picture. In the sense that it makes the Philippines beholden, this picture is not a particular source of national pride. The effect is like that of a husband reminding his homemaker wife in front of the children that she is not financially contributing to the partnership, ignoring her non-economic contribution to keeping the family together. Painful. Humiliating. Undeserved.
This brings into sharp focus the call to carve a path toward economic security, one that can, as experts reiterate, stand independently of remittances. Policies are enacted for every aspect of the Filipino’s daily life. We just need lakas ng loob to act on these, and this starts with the Local Government Units, the municipalities/cities and barangays.
We cannot control others but we could change their regard of us by working on ourselves first. We bristle at Brown’s fictional depiction of Manila as gates of hell but the painful truth – even to ourselves – is traffic in this mega city is hell. The slums are hell. The waterways are hell. The soot is hell.
Political will is connected to the nation’s psyche, the Filipino’s personhood values of karangalan and hiya. When these are seriously compromised, we are collectively wounded. We try to cope or ignore the result with kapal ng mukha which all the more wound us, deep down. As karma goes, the things we’ve failed to address in the past resurface again and again from one generation to the next in various different forms until such time that these are fully recognized, addressed and resolved. The good thing is, the decision to move out of this rut is ours, within our control.