Filipinos as foreign bullies’ delight
“Gina-tonto,” would be how Ilonggos might describe the way Filipinos are being treated, bullied, made to look like fools in their own territory by foreigners. In Filipino, “ginagawang tanga.” “Tonto” is Spanish for fool, crazy or stupid. Incidentally, in Spanish, too, is how Ilonggos curse the insufferable “hijos” who are bullies themselves and who bring shame to the mothers and fathers who begot them.
Filipinos are a delight to bullies because Filipinos allow themselves to be bullied. To say it in Filipino, “tiklup-tuhod” (on bended knees) right away. TH (trying hard), in colloquial lingo, to please.
Our leaders have been treading on eggs these past days after the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who must have been delighted that he was treated by his hosts as if he were God’s gift to this woebegone country.
Consider the news headlines in the aftermath of that visit: “Probe won’t hurt PH-China relations, say senators,” which refers to the unprecedented rise in the number of Chinese workers entering the Philippines that needs probing. On the same page: “Defense chief sees no security problem with China biz park.” Several pages away: “Lorenzana: Seas ours but PH military weak.” And to sound reassuring: “Xi in letter, tells Duterte: Our tree will bear more fruits.”
Those are all in one day’s issue of the Inquirer. Don’t blame the messenger, blame the newsmakers who are bending backward, falling all over themselves (the onomatopoeic word for it in Filipino: “nagkakandarapa”) to be accommodating, to not offend while at the same time reassuring those of us with furrows on our foreheads.
All that while Filipinos are constantly being stunned (“sindak” is the operative Filipino word) by China’s maneuvers and the Philippine government’s “pagkakandarapa” and acquiescent position, despite stunning triumph over China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in 2016 regarding our claims to the West Philippine Sea. (The Aquino administration filed the case.)
Revealing was the differing views of presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on whose version would be used—the Philippines’ or China’s—for the memorandum of understanding on the gas exploration in Philippine territory in the disputed West Philippine Sea. Panelo said it didn’t matter whose version was used—as in, who cares?
Locsin flared up, saying, he cared, he “f***ing’” cared. Turned out his version was, in fact, the one used. Locsin must care that his version, written in elegant English, might stun the Chinese, that is, if much of its elegance is not lost in translation.
But what really matter are the results of these signed agreements, their impact on Filipinos who are constantly being bullied by Chinese power and might in the seas and on dryland.
Just recently, a documentary team from GMA 7 was shooed away by Chinese Coast Guard from Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, which is on Philippine territory.
Locsin’s reaction this time was: Filing a diplomatic protest would be like throwing paper against a brick wall.
So we wake up one misty morning to find out that the labor field is overrun by Chinese workers who were brought in as tourists with intent to stay on as workers. The alarming rise in their number began with the Duterte administration. Countless Chinese with or without work permits, criminal elements among them, are now roaming our landscape. Clandestinely, they operate online gambling, drug manufacture and smuggling, name it. Above ground, Chinese workers are stealing away jobs meant for Filipinos.
At the Senate hearing the other day conducted by labor committee chair, Sen. Joel Villanueva, jaws dropped with more revelations on the “Chinese invasion” never seen in the past—1.6 million tourist visas issued in 2018 alone. Whether the many who stay on to work have alien employment certificates is another story.
We are being invaded, overrun, taken over, and we sit back? Or with nary a peep from the man where the buck stops, who adores Xi Jinping as his conquering hero.
Some days ago, a Turkish guy who was stopped for a driving offense assaulted the poor traffic officer and threw his weight around like a bully on the loose, trying to petrify with fright those around him—until the cops came. All caught on video. Turned out he was driving without a license.
What have become of us? Bullied na, doormat pa.
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