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When maids are kept like chattel

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Filipinos may or may not be surprised to learn that it’s not just Hong Kong Chinese who maltreat their servants. In the United States, Filipinos have been known to keep their own kind like chattel. Back in 2007, for example, news broke that a couple in Milwaukee surnamed Calimlim kept their maid hidden for nearly 20 years in their home, having taken her to the United States on false pretenses.

Posted: February 13th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

A new social class?

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Let’s juxtapose these recent stories and ask if they’re all connected: the dire straits of the survivors of the earthquake and typhoon disasters; the scandalous exploitation of overseas Filipino workers by embassy officials in the Gulf states that Lila Shahani and Walden Bello have been pursuing; the violent eviction of informal settlers at North Edsa; “Binay-gate” at Dasmariñas Village; and the Vhong and Deniece show at Bonifacio Global City. What links all of them?

Posted: February 2nd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Is so-called Filipino resiliency a sign of fractured psyche?

Much has been said about Filipino resiliency. Overseas Filipino workers demonstrate this trait daily, working long hours abroad to be able to remit earnings home to estranged families.

Posted: January 19th, 2014 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

‘Masel tov,’ Osang

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You don’t quite expect to see “Masel tov, Osang” on a Filipino’s Facebook page, but there it was.   “Masel tov” is a Hebrew (and Yiddish) greeting that can mean “Good luck” or “Congratulations.”  And Osang is a nickname, in this case, for Rose Fostanes, a 47-year-old Filipino woman who has worked half her life [...]

Posted: January 10th, 2014 in Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Wishing for POEA, Owwa to be truly ‘OFW-efficient’

I am a registered nurse working at Wollongong Hospital in Sydney, Australia. I came back to the Philippines last Dec. 14 for my annual vacation and to finish certain paperwork required by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa), both in Parañaque.

Posted: January 5th, 2014 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Round yon virgin…no mother, only child

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When I was a child, I wanted to see snow fall in December, like all the Christmas songs say it does. I wanted to see a winter wonderland, to experience lovely weather for a sleigh ride.

Posted: December 23rd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

No danger of a bubble

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A few analysts have been expressing doubts about the sustainability of the ongoing high growth of the Philippine economy. Taking a page from what happened in Thailand in 1997 or in China in the last two years, these doubting Thomases are spreading the “bubble” talk. They say there could be a bubble in OFW (overseas Filipino workers) remittances; or in the business process outsourcing sector; or in real estate. Let me treat each one of these present engines of growth.

Posted: December 20th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Saudi-watching, China-watching

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The numbers are almost incredible: An estimated 1.5 million Filipinos work in Saudi Arabia, 20,000 of them undocumented or irregular (the preferred terms to “illegal”). That’s equivalent to the total population of the city of Manila.

Posted: November 7th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

A rock musical on OFWs

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Last Sept. 7, I was literally swept off my feet by the musical within a play titled “Lorenzo.” I fully concur with Archbishop Socrates Villegas who wrote in the introduction to the booklet describing details of the musical that: “Every Filipino must watch this. It sets our sense of patriotism afire again as we hear Lorenzo declare ‘I am a Filipino… I am a Christian.’ It makes us proud that we are Filipinos, whether living in the Philippines or toiling in distant lands.”

Posted: October 18th, 2013 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Crunch time

It’s now alert level 4 for Filipino workers in Egypt, the highest alert level in the Philippines’ four-tier overseas emergency alert system, as the situation in the Arab country continues to deteriorate. Level 4 means evacuating some 7,000 Filipinos out of the war-torn country is now mandatory, with the Philippine government providing free repatriation services.

Posted: August 23rd, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Shameful

Nothing drives home the depth of shame one is feeling than the urge to cover his or her face and be unrecognizable to the world. But to do this act not in a foreign country but in one’s own, among fellow citizens and countrymen, suggests not just a sense of humiliation but also of abject degradation. So what would drive three overseas Filipino workers to shroud their faces in heavy veils and respond only to their first names when they faced a joint hearing of the Senate blue ribbon and labor committees last Thursday?

Posted: August 16th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Opinion piece on party-list row ‘misplaced’ Placewell

The Inquirer, on July 21, 2013, carried an opinion piece titled “Are either Revilla or Napoles defenders of OFWs?” (Global Pinoy, 7/21/13) written by Susan Andes aka Susan K. The article dragged into the OFW Family Club Party-List controversy the name of Placewell International Services Corp., in the process casting aspersions on it.

Posted: August 9th, 2013 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

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