Thursday, September 6, 2007

"Bagong Bayani" (New Hero), a farce, political theatrics???

Every day, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, you can witness the huge arrivals and departures of the so- called "bagong bayani" or new heroes . This is what the government of the Philippines called those Filipino expats or OFWs working in different fields abroad, in short, "dollar earners." The high volume of dollar remittances that OFWs sent to the country, prompted the government to coin an ambiguous label to all overseas Filipino workers.
On line dictionary, defines, Hero as follows:
1. In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods.
2. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life: soldiers and nurses who were heroes in an unpopular war.
3. A person noted for special achievement in a particular field: the heroes of medicine. See Synonyms at celebrity.
4. The principal male character in a novel, poem, or dramatic presentation.

Now, based on the above definition, which one applies to us expatriates? I think we have to add a number 5, such as, "a person who send dollar remittances to his country." And this is exactly what our government wants us to do. Otherwise, there is no use to call a guy a hero unless he sends dollar thru bank remittances. How about "door to door" services? Perhaps, it is not included in this category and I am sure you will not be called a "hero," simply because remittance here is to an individual and not thru banks.

The question arises, what does a "hero" gets in return for helping our economy grow?

Before going further, let us have a flashback since you departed as well as in your first vacation. I have not experienced in my life going back and forth the international airport that someone ever told me personally that I am a "hero". I read the word only in the newspapers. I believe, majority of the expats have the same feeling with me on this issue, except for those guys especially nominated and awarded this honorable distinction in various "bagong bayani" selection categories. But for the majority, I have no idea what the government has given in return. But as an OFW, I kept paying the OWWA, POEA and Insurance fees and reduced travel tax for family members.

Returning OFWs could not escape the rising prices of basic commodities and a country in turmoil over political feuds, and a sick system. Once, an economic giant in the Far East, but now ranks at the bottom and economy in shambles.

The only solution, perhaps, is total overhaul of the political system. People should always be reminded that if we want a change in our system, we have to install a fresh, qualified and highly educated "servant" to occupy our political chambers. Forget about this "padrino" or "compadre" system, if we would like our country to restore its credibility and economic prestige once we possessed. Change will come only if we have courage to remove all those in power serving their own interest. My advise to these old folks, why not give chance to younger generations of political "heroes."? You are more than old enough to stay. Leave your futile years behind and enjoy your remaining life. We have vast reserve of untapped resources of talented professionals ready to take over and reign for the love of country and not for the love of one's self. It is a shame that we shall serve our country for money. Our sublime right of suffrage should be preserved and guarded, not to be tarnished with a 100 peso bill distributed on Election Day.

Note: Above piece is a personal blog only.