Filipinos: The OFW, the Modern Day Slave

12 05 2010

Filipinos are synonymously being referred to as Transnationals with 3,000 Filipinos leaving their homeland, the Philippines a year.  That’s equivalent to more than one million Filipinos leaving the country a year.

Why do they leave?

Majority of Filipinos who leave the Philippines are not tourists, rather they leave the country to seek opportunities.  Very few opportunities for employment exist in the Philippines.  7 out of 10 students who graduate are unemployed.  3 out of 10 generally compete with the rest of the labor market and previous unemployed out-of-school students.  Most do not get a job related to their field of study.  When the intellectuals and workers can’t find jobs in their homeland, they seek work outside.

Modern Day Heroes

The former president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo says its a sacrifice that must be recognized as Modern Day Heroes.  The Filipino migrants are known as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).  The Philippine economy is held together by the hard work of these migrants.  Yet, these very same migrants are taxed heavily for the application and testing process prior to leaving, they are taxed in the airport, and their remittances are taxed as well.    More often then naught, they have been modern day slaves.

Many migrant Filipinos also suffer from discrimination and violence from being abroad on top of being homesick.  Pinays get sexually molested.  The U.S. military is partially to blame for some of those incidents. Adam Corolla’s comments about the Philippines’ doesn’t exactly help.  In the Mid-East, some Filipinos are enslaved inside of their employers house.  Sometimes the Filipino gets executed without the help of the consulate general.

With the rise of Ethnic Tensions in the United States since 9/11 to current day Juan Crow laws (see Arizona’s recent anti-immigration, anti Ethnic Studies ban) should Filipinos really leave their country in midst of danger?

Indeed these Modern Day Heroes should be recognized as the former president mentioned, how can we protect them from the dangers of a foreign land?

What is Solution?

The Philippines owes it to their people to nationalize their job industries to provide quality jobs.  There are so many brilliant and hard working people forced to leave to provide for their families, this doesn’t have to be the case.  The newly elect, President Aquino should use his mandate to win the hearts of the people.

There are so many raw and natural resources that the Filipino people can enjoy.  The dams have enough power to power the whole Philippines so why charge ridiculous power rates.  At times, the power bill at the Philippines is more expensive then the ones here in the United States.  With so many poor people, who can afford it?  Drop the profits?  Profits only benefit the manager.  Spread the cost savings to the people or use that money to invest in better infrastructures and jobs instead of paying the executives.  Invest in solar clean power.  This one is a no brainer, when there are droughts, solar power should replace the energy lost from the energy garner from dams.

Roads needs to start from the farthest communities inward.  These are the most poverish areas that suffer the most.  Education needs to also be nationalize as well as the language.  The former president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, made english the national language.  Okay, this isn’t America and it shouldn’t be a colony of America.  The people have their right to speak their native dialect with a national language being developed (Filipino).

Last but not least, the majority of the Filipino Population are land tillers, Peasants, but they’re landless.  They work the land and pay land owner’s “rent”.  Sometimes rent can be as high as 50% of all your work.  Today, we know that as stealing.  The President elect, Noy Noy promised to go after thieves.  He’s going to have a tough time  bringing down his own family who are responsible for the Hacienda Lucieta Massacre in 1995.  Once land is redistributed out, the feudal practices of the past should fade away with time as culture starts changing.  Migrants won’t be forced to leave and society will progress


Diwang Pinay: Still We Rise

11 04 2009

THE 7th ANNUAL PINAY SHOWCASE:  DIWANG PINAY…. still we rise ….    


Diwang Pinay

Diwang Pinay

Sunday, May 3, 2009



4:30pm-5:00pm – Doors open for the Art Gallery
5:00pm- Show starts!
Location: Bayanihan Community Center 
1010 Mission St San Francisco, CA 94103

$7-$10 sliding scale
$5 for youth 10-17 years old w. a student ID
FREE for children 10 yrs and under


For those who have never been to a Diwang Pinay.  Let me tell you, these Pinays are mad talented, they organize their own show, which by the way is family friendly, and also recognize the strengths, triumphs, and struggles that Pinays here in the United States as well as the Philippines faces.  

The women of Babae – Gabriela USA, League of Filipino Students – SFSU, and the Diwata women of the Filipino Community Center are hosting and performing in commemoration of the Filipino women and her fighting spirit.

My friend, Kristen Sajonas will also perform that night.  I remember when I first heard her spoken word poem on the “LBFM” or also known as “Little Brown Fucking Machine”.  The LBFM is what U.S. military personal would call pinays that they have sex with and/or rape.  

This hits home to many Filipinos because almost every single family has had either a domestic violence situation, and/or rape situation.  Because of the feudal culture through the passing down of catholic traditions in Philippine society, it is frowned upon if a pinay would come forth with accusing the perpetrator of rape.  This is to keep the family name “clean” and to pretend that everything is alright when in fact these issues should be addressed or the same cycle of violence will occur over and over.  It is the women who suffer from these attacks in a heterosexist male dominated society.  As men, we need to stand beside our women and support them in any way we can.  


Kristen Sajonas

Kristen Sajonas

When Kristen was done performing her piece, tears of sadness pierced my eyes.  What can I do as a privilege male who does not have to worry about getting raped at night while walking down the streets, or harassed at work because of looking too “pretty”?  What can I seriously do?


One, you can always educate others around you, both men and women need to know the issues.  Two, provide resources and support to anyone who goes through domestic or sexual violence.  My personal favorite is to make sure you befriend strong organizers who will be down to protect your rights and listen to your problems.  One such woman organization is Babae – Gabriela USA.