We find ourselves reminiscing of the old times when royal families and freemen can own and barter slaves like tradeable goods.
Forward to the present, the kleptocratic elite continues this old tradition, albeit updated to suit the global demands.
With the recent abolition of slavery, the Philippines is perhaps the only country of modern times that actively peddles its citizens for slavery in foreign lands.
Amid the government’s inability to evacuate its own citizens from war-torn Lebanon, it has now taken the role of pimp and pusher. Recently, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) unveiled its plans to train “supermaids,” Filipino domestic helpers who cannot only cook and clean the house, but perform first aids and basic rescue skills.
It is not enough for Mrs. Arroyo to embarrass herself internationally with her inability to properly evacuate Filipinos caught in the crossfire; she refuses to abate mass exodus of Filipino labor (she refuses because she promotes this practice).
It is not enough for Mrs. Arroyo to humiliate (if she even still has an ounce of humility) herself in the global community with her administration’s dismal human rights record; she abets human rights violations in a global scale by pushing for the systematic slavery of Filipino citizens.
Filipinos abroad risk life and limb to provide for their families. In the process, our country’s economy benefits because of the remittances that go through our local banks. That makes our Filipino overseas workers modern heroes.
But how does the government treat its modern heroes? It swindles them of billions of pesos in workers benefits in order to prop up the incumbent’s chances of winning the elections. Sadly, no amount of fund malversation could’ve ensured Mrs. Arroyo’s victory; she had to call Garci several times.
And now, the government has undertaken the role of producing more heroes – by having more Filipinos work in foreign lands, to be exploited, harassed, raped, abused, and sometimes killed by their foreign masters.
Countless times, grieving widows and widowers, fatherless and motherless families, and inconsolable parents weep in anguish and despair at the sight of their kins’ lifeless bodies in crates.
In these instances, the government is helpless to protect them. And now, Mrs. Arroyo wants to continue this twisted labor policy: Filipino “supermaids” for the foreigners!
Perhaps she was right during her State of the Nation Address on 24 July 2006; she ought to be impeached for violating Section 12, Article II of the 1987 Constitution. The provision saying that “the State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution.”
Aside from this, Mrs. Arroyo ought to be impeached for violating Section 18, Article II of the 1987 Constitution that says, “The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.”
Further, she should be impeached for violating Section 19, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, which says that “the State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.”
Working as chambermaids and domestic helpers, theirs is a noble profession. That is more that we can say to other kinds of work, including that of usurping public office and arrogating unto herself powers she didn’t deserve in the first place. Whereas our country remains afloat by the blood and tears of overseas Filipino workers, we continue sinking by Mrs. Arroyo’s lies and deceptions.