Friday, April 1, 2011

Insignificant Voice

I wrote this on Wednesday, but I had to delay posting it as I was still emotional because of the execution of the three Filipinos in China on that same day. As a blogger, I know my posts can be lost, unread, left obscure and unknown in the web, but as insignificant as my voice is, I want this post to be of social relevance and maybe could encourage some social change for the progress of our society. There is always hope; I think. My thoughts are neither unique or new, but when I saw the tears and hurt of the people involved in this recent executions, I thought hope and the importance of life disappeared in an instant. Still, I'd like to believe that even in the most brutal of brutal moments in life, there's still goodness and decency left in humanity. The lesson is there, we should grasp it.

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.
The execution of our three fellow Filipinos is a wake up call; let us learn the lessons. I understand that the topics of foreign laws and  international affairs are more complicated than what my brain can comprehend, but if we have any human decency left, let us be reminded that life should be respected above all else. Lastly, I would have preferred if China deported these three Filipinos back to the Philippines, just like when the Philippines deported the arrested 24 Chinese fugitives back to China in February.

But then again, who would listen to an insignificant voice like mine.


  1. What the government could have done is chase the culprits...those who gave them the papers to be able to leave...present those to China and from there draw the conclusion, sad. Also, goes to show how bad our system is....kakainis, pag pera nagiging tama ang mali, kaya minsan di mo mainis magalit sa kapwa pinoy :(

  2. it really saddens me too that this story had to end that way. i felt so helpless watching the families cope with the emotions of combined grief and anger.

    is it really just for financial reasons that pinoys leave their homeland? i daresay that a large part of the decision also is due to the "explorer" nature of our culture. we want to go out there, see what's on the next island, experience a new culture.

  3. @ Photo Cache, I agree that Filipinos have an explorer attitude, but since the three Filipinos who were executed were OFWs, my post is geared towards people who have to be away from family to find employment some place. I agree that there are several reasons Pinoys leave their homeland but i think majority leave for employment and to seek a better life some place else.

  4. It is really revolting how unscrupulous people can take advantage of the gullibility and naivety of Filipinos. It is a tragic fate but China is merely enforcing the rules of their land. I just hope that the local media would stop hounding the relatives of those executed and let them grieve in peace. I don't believe you are an insignificant voice because most of us feel the way you do.

  5. hi kayni! i think the most important thing here is to be informed. and yes, poverty is to be blamed. it's either you do not know that the package that some "kind strangers" is asking you to carry carries not chocolates but drugs or you know that they are drugs but so need the money that you actually agree to carry them.

    bottomline, do not agree to carry any package that is ot yours.

  6. I totally agree with you. "illegal is illegal no matter how you slice it." I think it is in our culture din kasi to be too kind especially with favors. Almost every time I go abroad someone would always ask if pwede mag padala or if they can ride with my baggage weight since I pack light. Sigh. So sad that some folks agree to being drug mules because of poverty :( I really wish that our country will be able to provide for its citizens.

  7. for the past few weeks, i intentionally do not watch the news anymore. it's just so depressing. it's embarrassing to admit, but i weep over news reports of what's happening around us.

  8. it is a harsh law that they are bound to implement. the evidence itself has sealed their certain death sentence without regard to the circumstances. that's how the law was written in china.

    somehow i hoped that international clemency or diplomacy would have altered their doomed fate or at least mitigated the penalty, but this has all happened for a reason.

    we can now only pray for strength for their grieving loved ones and that their deaths would not be in vain.