Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Philippines Is Held Hostage By Its Own Heroes... Part I

This (rare) political diatribe will be in two parts. Of course, I could expand beyond politics and talk about even more "heroes" we ought to go over, but outside of Manny Pacquiao, nobody really comes to mind....

.:When The Philippines Is Held Hostage By Its Own Heroes:.

This is a brief series I am writing to talk about the kind of peculiar situation the country finds itself in when its "heroes" are pushed to the limelight. We can define what it means to be a genuine "hero" in varying ways, but rest assured that anything I bring up here, I wouldn't be alone in the opinion of referring to them as "heroes". If anything, a majority of people would share this value judgment.

Unlike other people though, I am far less forgiving of mistakes done by our so-called heroes. Being a hero is not an excuse for doing something wrong. As someone who specializes in Ethics, I am rather adamant about this fact.

.:The OFW Hostage Drama:.

I know I'll stir up a hornet's nest here, but I don't care. You see, ever since Flor Contemplacion, the Philippine government has been falling over themselves trying to save any OFW that happens to get into trouble, bar none.

I don't begrudge OFW's who would work for their family. At the same time, I don't condone them being mistreated by their employers. Nonetheless, the mistreatment they go through is never enough reason for them to get away with murder. Marilou Ranario's guilt was incontrovertible, and yet we went ahead and tried to pull her out of the fire.

People go to these other countries in hopes of making money for their families. They know there are inherent risks, and it should be obvious that they represent the Philippines wherever they go. If they are being maltreated, allowing that is the government's shortcoming. But if they commit a crime, it should be clear to them that they must face the consequences of their actions. For the government to have to go out of its way to save these people from the consequences of their actions, they should be protected more from the onset to prevent having them in a situation where they feel it's "kill or be killed".

Besides, why are we letting people who kill their own ward get away with it? May Vecina killed her own ward, and by mere virtue of their being Filipino, we turn a blind eye to the justice system? Is this fair?

.:A Double Standard:.

While we raised Hades over Desperate Housewives last year as Filipino doctors were supposedly denigrated, none of us so much as batted an eyelash over our own racist statements in our own news program, QTV 11's Sapulso, where the reporter quipped that Mexicans are fat because of the food they eat. This was in the same episode where I showed up in, so I know this episode all too well.

So why the double standard, Philippines? We can dish it out as much as we want, but we can't take it? If we are truly earnest about standing against racism, why do we tolerate our own countrymen who throw around racist statements like these? Because it's a joke? Well, wasn't that line from Desperate Housewives a joke?

There's a double standard at play here. We protested Nicole's rapist supposedly being sent back to the United States after the hoopla over the Subic Rape Case. We refused to let Daniel Smith get away and being sent back to U.S. custody because we believed this was a denial of justice for Nicole.

So, let me ask, Philippines: why the Hades are we letting our own murderers get away with their crimes?

Rape is a horrible thing. But so's murder. For us to just turn a blind eye to a Filipina's crime because she's Filipina while in the same breath condeming the United States for doing the same for one of their own is a brazen act of hypocrisy.

Are you ready to cast the first stone then, Philippines?

.:Fawning Over Our "Heroes":.

When 5 Koreans were kidnapped by the Taliban, they apologized after they were rescued. They realized it was a major inconvenience for a government, and being the way that they are, they did not feel particularly entitled to their protection, particularly when they went to Afghanistan against government advice.

Meanwhile, we praised Angelo dela Cruz for his "bravery" in the face of his Iraqi captors.

Quite a difference in mood and tone, don't you think? This is also in light of the fact that Angelo dela Cruz was allegedly working illegally in Iraq. How about them apples?

We are cultivating a ridiculously disturbing picture of our "heroes" here. All because of their economic gains, we are willing to let them get away with crimes, we applaud their courage, all without even noting that there wasn't really anything exemplary about them other than the fact that they are doing what they should be doing, to begin with.

We should protect our citizens from abuses in and out of this country, of course. But when they go out of line, when they commit crimes, it should be painfully clear to them that they have to deal with the repercussions of their actions, and the government shouldn't ever have to coddle these people when they should've known better.

The fact that we are willing to look the other way for these people all because of the economic gains they bring us pretty much shows why the Philippines has been looking the other way despite our less-than-stellar government acting the way it does. If GMA can make our GDP increase every year, it's okay for her family to steal from the country, huh?

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