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Mar 30th
Home Columns Reinventing the Philippines Restoring the Dignity of the Filipino (Part Two)
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Columns - Reinventing the Philippines
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 01:51

Restoring the Dignity in the Filipino Mind (Part Two of "Reinventing the Filipino Psyche" Series)

Right now the Filipino mind and the framework of the national soul seem to be on their lowest level of despair. The Filipino feels like he is at the nadir of hopelessness. Many Filipinos and even Overseas Filipinos feel that the country is not going anywhere and nobody can lead the country and her people to their promised land of socioeconomic opportunity. It is not hard to understand why many Filipinos and their kin abroad feel so pessimistic and downright cynical about the political and economic conditions in the country. 

Many citizens and former citizens of the Philippines think that it may be impossible to undertake socioeconomic reforms in the country, which indeed seems to be mired in perpetual poverty, endemic corruption in government circles and even in religious organizations, rebellions from Muslim separatists and communist insurgents and what not. And the national policy since the 1960s was to finance government spending with foreign borrowings and depend on the remittances of its foreign workers and expatriates to pay for the foreign debts. Alas, the various Philippine administrations simply mortgaged the future of the coming generations by getting foreign loans that now estimate to exceed $70 billion. Right now the first six to seven billion dollars of Philippine exports simply go to servicing the foreign debts (payment of interest alone). In short, had the Philippines been a household in America, it would have filed for bankruptcy protection a long time ago. Nevertheless, countries cannot resort to the protection of bankruptcy courts.

No amount of pep talk or psychological persuasion can lift the Filipino heart and soul if his frame of mind borders on the impossible. Is the task of redeeming the dignity of the Filipino and his labor the equivalent of Mission Impossible? Has the Filipino sunk to such deficiency in worldly wisdom, informed judgment and confidence that the only solution is for the people to migrate to foreign lands?

Eight-million Man Solution(s)

Many Overseas Filipinos think that not all is lost on the Filipino and the Filipino semblance of a nation. Many other Filipino expatriate writers like me have been saying, there are Overseas Filipinos, numbering more than eight-million strong. These Overseas Filipinos are the solutions to the socioeconomic ailments of the Philippines. If given the chance, the Overseas Filipinos can rebuild the country, remake it so that the Philippine economy can grow better and faster. The expatriate Filipinos can make their home country's businesses bigger and better. Yes, indeed no country can prosper without a strong middle class. In the case of the Philippines the only problem is that its middle class is domiciled in foreign countries, the list of which rivals the composition of the United Nations. The question is how to persuade the Overseas Filipinos to bankroll economic activities in the Philippines, instead of merely sending foodstuff and token money remittances to their kin?

The Overseas Filipinos' Economic Clout

Everybody agrees that the Overseas Filipinos have ample economic resources at their disposal. The more than three-million Filipino Americans have been estimated to earn anywhere from $40-billion to $50-billion per year. For according to the 1990 U.S. economic census, Filipino Americans have the third highest household per-capita income after the Japanese American and Indian (Asian) Americans.

Moreover, the Filipino Americans have proven that they can do better if given the opportunity to perform. In the fields of health care, nursing homes and the hospital industry, more than 700,000 Filipino-American professionals work as top-rated nurses, physicians, dentists, radiologists, medical technicians, dietitians, accountants and highly-skilled workers. The medical workers are some of the highest-paid and well-admired employees in the United States. In fact some of them become the deans and doyens of their respective offices, wards, emergency rooms and/or surgical or intensive-care units.

To read the next article of this series, please click on this hyperlink:
How to Get Back the Dignity of the Filipino (Part3)

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