It is exasperating to note that whenever there are calamities, man-made or natural, around the world, there is always a Filipino’s safety and welfare to worry about. As if the country doesn’t have enough problems already. They are holding well-paying jobs abroad and fattening our foreign monetary reserves. But when trouble erupts and they have to be repatriated, there is nothing much waiting for them here.
Take for instance the bloody revolts happening around the Arab World. Thousands of Filipinos are employed in these oil-rich countries and the financial security these jobs has afforded them is something they would naturally refuse to relinquish easily, despite the dangers these problems are posing. So, are these uprisings worth all the pain and discomfort OFW’s are going through as collateral damage? Looking at it through our perspective, to say it is inconvenient is an understatement. More than fear for their lives, OFW’s fear for their livelihoods the most. On a larger scale, our economy is at stake, for we know very well how much the influx of foreign currency is helping us stay “liquid” and thus, floating.
Setting aside cynicism, conspiracy theories and usual suspicions that the US is behind all these uprisings, it is, I believe, worthwhile to consider how political change might benefit these Arab countries. What seems common among their situations is the fact that these countries have all been either under dictators, monarchs, oligarchs and tyrants for decades and therefore deserve a much freer and better governance just like everybody else, just like we did when we finally gathered enough willpower to depose Marcos. This is their one true chance towards freedom and we should not only sympathize but support them, regardless of the outcome, and negative effects on us.