There is a much quoted maxim which goes, "Everything changes. The only thing that does not change is change itself." This maxim still rings true and gives us a ray of hope- hope to change our outmoded ways and attitudes, especially at this time of the year, when most of us will be composing our New Year's Resolutions, promising ourselves a change, a change for the better if not for the best.
For us Filipinos who are driven to this country for jobs, life is not often so rosy. This is a fact of life which we should accept. Most of us joined the exodus of workers crossing borders because, we cannot find a modest-paying job at home. Come to ask yourself. Why are we here in Taiwan doing such kinds of jobs which the locals shun? The sort of jobs considered dirty, degrading and dangerous. In our jobs, we are physically abused, tortured, defamed, shouted at and looked down upon. Do we deserve this kind of treatment? Were those ardous iniversity years fashioned to suit such kinds of jobs?
Well, nobody wants to be treated inhumanely in one's workplace. However, as the Philipine economy is still in doldrums, we are forced to accept employment oversease, even if we know that our dignity is at stake. If we want to live a life that is dignified, then we must exert our efforts together so that our country will rise from economic decay. By that time, we shall no longer be going abroud in search of kobs but we shall be working in our own contry togbether with our loved ones. So, let us refrain from talking, rather, letus start acting.
As migrant workers, we have important roles to play towards such an end. And the simplest we can do is to change our ways, and instill discipline in ourselves. We believe that the key to our economic development does not lie on the impeccable economic plans of the government but does lie on the people-we. Sad to note, it seems that we failed to internalize the basic discipline our parents and teachers taught us. Oftentimes, we keep on pointing our fingers at government officials blaming them for our country's economic collapse. Well, some government officials deserve unpalatable comments from an irrate public for they themselves lack discipline, but it seens that blaming them is useless for they already seem deaf to complaints. Even deaths of Filipino Overseas Workers (OFW's) do not seem to weigh in favor of foreign remittances by these same OFW's.
But how about a little self-examination and taking responsibility ourselves? We should not shun responsibility for everyone is a party to either our economic collapse or economic prosperity. We can do a lot of simple things and yet this could be a great help to our national government.
The very simple thing of disposing garbage properly is one. Generally, we Filipinos are clean, but oftentimes we also take jpy and contentment in throwing garbage in the wrong place. This is evident not only in the Phillipines but also here in Taiwan especially in places where Filipinos converge like in churches, train stations and fastfood stores. Let us learn to discipline ourselves by putting garbage in its place. In the process, we will then be helping the goverment. In Manila for example, a lot of money could be saved if we would only dispose our garbage proberly.
Refraing from writing on walls, posts and in other visible areas is another. A lot of us Filipinos have that bad habit of writing slogans on walls in pubhlic places. Just ply along C.M. REcto Avenue in Manila and you will not fail to read such slogans as "Ramos Tuta Ng Kano!" "Ibagsak ang Diktadurang Ramos!" etc. Again, this shows that we lack discipl8ine. Walls and posts are not the proper places to redress our grievances. Why not air our views on the radio or television or write to newspapers? That way, the government will again save money on paint in repainting such sores on walls or posts. The much needed chash could be used on economic projects which will benefit the majority.
There are other simple things that we can do to help the government and in the Phillipines, particularly in Manila, we need not be a lettered lot in order to identify them. We can for example, line up and take buses or jeepneys in their designated stops and refrain from "making those bit obscure side of city streets or the not-so-visible street corners as our comfort rooms."
You may ask what is the connection of lining up for buses or jeepneys to our economic prosperity. Simple. If we shall line up or take buses or jeepneys in their designated stops, trafic will be eased. Studies show that traffic is a factor which slows down economic output. True, if one can report to work at 8:00 AM, he or she can do more thaings or can produce more goods than one who can reprt to work at 11:00 AM. It is disheartening to note though that we always equate traffic with the number of cars on the road or with the scarcity of well-paved roads. We do not see the connection of traffic and discipline.
We are ignoring these simple things and we seem not to realize the good result if we shall practice such routine. How about doing it now?
Anyway, it is clear then that economic prosperity will end such misnomers for the Phillipines as "The Sich Man of Asia". Most importantly, if we attain economic prosperity, we will no longer be going overseas for jobs. By that time, we shall regain our human worth and dignity.
(Diosdado Balderama Lopega)
From the experience of Filipinos
we reflect on the problem of Vietnamese workers