**********My heart ripped into pieces as the execution of the three Filipinos in China pushed through; the hurt is indescribable until now. In one day, three lives diminished, three families broken, and a nation was left subdued and helpless. Life is brutal even in a civilized society. It is more daunting that we, as a nation who depend on the hard earned money of our OFWs, stood helpless as our three countrymen marched to their execution. Even if we're not at all related to any of these three, they are someone's brother, sister, daughter, son, mother or father.
Let me clarify that - I am not condoning the crimes committed by the three Filipinos, but I still think China executed the pawns, people who were either unknowingly or knowingly used for a larger scale drug syndicate, not the real key players of this drug syndicate. (I have to put emphasis on "unknowingly" and "knowingly" since the three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking claimed to have been maliciously used and misled by other people. If I've been misinformed, please leave me comment.) To continue, I think it would have been of greater benefit to China and the Philippines if both countries worked together and went after the drug syndicate rather than prosecute the mere drug mules. But then let it be known that, I respect China for being true to their laws and that as a country, China has to adhere and implement its policies, without laws there is chaos. After all, every country has a duty to protect its citizens from the proliferation of drug use or anything that threatens or impedes the growth of their nation.
Watching these three stories unfold, I keep thinking that there could have been ways these deaths could have been prevented. (For my readers unfamiliar with this incident, you can read it here.) I don't claim to be an expert on any legal system or pretend to know the intricacies of Philippine-China relations, but my thoughts are starting to suffocate me, so I need to let it out.
- Choose to NOT become a drug mule. Illegal is illegal no matter how you slice it. As Ted Failon said, "Gamitin ang sentido komon." (Use common sense.)
- Be aware. Pack your own luggage. DO NOT accept any bags or any padala from anyone.
- I blame poverty. If most Filipinos aren't so hard up in finding proper employment in the Philippines, then there would be less desperate need to seek employment abroad and live the "kapit sa patalim" (gripping the knife's edge) way of life.
- Philippine airport security screening should do a better job. If the three pieces of suspected luggage were caught in the Philippines, they would have been prosecuted and imprisoned in the Philippines, a country who abolished the death penalty.
- The Philippine government should encourage domestic employment and less emphasis on labor export. Labor export is a wonderful opportunity for our country's growth but if a country becomes too dependent on labor export and fails to be self-sufficient, then what is a country if majority of its population yearns to seek employment some place else. Could it still be called a country?
- The Philippine government should have better laws protecting applicants against illegal recruiters. Recruiters and employment agencies should go through stricter rules and licensing. There is murkiness on this part because it seems to me that illegal recruiters are running rampant in the Philippines taking advantage of the people's desperation to find jobs abroad. I advocate tougher punishment for illegal recruiters.
- Before applying for foreign employment, everyone, not just Filipinos, should verify a recruiter/agency's validity before going forward with any transaction. Arm yourself with proper information.
- The Philippine government should work on better protecting its citizens at home and abroad. The Philippines benefits and boasts of its hard-working OFWs yet fails to implement laws protecting them.
- The "Filipino cultural niceness" (I couldn't find the right word to describe this, but it pertains to the Filipinos inability to say "no" because of not wanting to be rude) is being taken advantaged of. I know that sometimes this is labeled as gullibility, but I happen to know that Filipinos are smart; they're just too nice. It is a blessing to be nice, but there are times, we need to simply say, "No."
- For all OFWs, let us respect the laws, culture and traditions of our host country.
But then again, who would listen to an insignificant voice like mine.