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MabuhayRadio

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May 25th
Home Sections Womens Section The Woman Leaders of the Philippines Must Protect their Fellow Women
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Sections - Women's Section
Tuesday, 04 September 2007 07:14

A "Women's Section" Makes Its Debut

Today, the www.mabuhayradio.com revives the "Women’s Section" that the same editor published in the now-defunct www.yimby.com and the www.bobby.reyes.com. We will reprint the pro-women articles that we published before in the hope that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her Administration do something drastic about the exploitation of Overseas-Filipino woman workers, especially those who are forced into working in foreign countries as bar girls, hostesses, entertainers, prostitutes and what not. It is a sad spectacle when the Office of the Philippine President was and continues to be occupied by woman Presidents for 13 years (and counting) of the past 21 years. How can a woman President tolerate the exploitation and abuse of Filipino women? Here is an essay that this editor published in March 2001:

President Arroyo Should Remember Flora Contemplacion in Saving other Filipino Women

 

(Editor's Note: These are but excerpts of an essay that the author published online and in some Filipino-American publications in March 2001 during the early days of then acting Philippine President Gloria M. Arroyo's administration. It was also an appeal on behalf of Filipino overseas workers to President Arroyo, who did not bother to acknowledge it.)

The Singapore government hanged Filipino overseas worker, Flora Contemplacion, a domestic maid, on March 17, 1995.

Many Filipinos and Filipino Americans blamed at that time President Fidel V. Ramos. People said that the Philippine Embassy in Singapore did nothing to help Ms. Contemplacion when Singapore authorities accused her of killing another Filipino maid and a 4-year-old Singaporean boy. The Filipino nation forgot that Fidel V. Ramos was not yet the President when Ms. Contemplacion allegedly committed the May 1991 killings.

Filipinos should put the blame on the administration of Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino. She was then the President when the incident happened. Aquino was still the President when a court in Singapore tried and convicted Ms. Contemplacion. A Singaporean public defender handled her case. He advised her to plead guilty by reason of temporary insanity.

President Aquino could have emulated President Ramon Magsaysay. The Magsaysay administration sent to the United States a Filipino lawyer, Estanislao Fernandez, to defend a Filipino woman, Lydia Dean, who was accused of killing her American husband. Atty. Fernandez became famous as a result of the trial of Lydia Dean, who was consequently acquitted. Incidentally President Magsaysay died also on March 17th when his presidential plane crashed in Cebu in 1957. Perhaps his and Flora's common death anniversaries might serve as reminders for the Filipino national leaders to protect at all cost Filipino women who are domiciled or who work abroad.

I said in my political novel, One Day in the Life of a Filipino Sonovabitch, (Asiangeles Press, December 1993) that Filipinos called President Cory Cojuangco-Aquino "a Filipino version of Wonder Woman." I wrote in Chapter XIX, page 177, the reason people dubbed President Aquino the Filipino "Wonder Woman." People said that, "She always made you wonder whether she knew what she was doing."

I wrote a letter to Mrs. Corazon Cojuangco Aquino when she became President of the Philippines in February 1986. I submitted my unsolicited advice that - as the first woman President - she could do something that would not only restore the dignity of the Filipino woman but also prevent Filipino women from exploitation and even death in foreign lands. I even related that matrons in England adopted the term "Filipina" as a new English word for maid. I said that it was high time to put a stop to the exploitation of the Filipino women.

In 1986 I urged President Aquino to order the Philippine Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment and other Philippine government agencies to bar the departure for overseas destinations of Filipino woman workers. I suggested to President Aquino that perhaps the Philippine government should allow Filipino women to work abroad only if they were nurses, physicians, dentists, medical technologists, dietitians and other professionals for the healthcare or medical industry. I said in the letter that as a general rule, foreign hospitals and healthcare facilities treated woman medical professionals with utmost courtesy and paid them well.

Perhaps my letter never reached President Aquino in 1986. Perhaps a functionary in her office threw my letter into the wastebasket or dustbin of history. But had she acted favorably on my unsolicited advice, perhaps Flora would not have been in Singapore in 1991.

 

Flora Contemplacion was not the first Filipino contract worker to die overseas. There have been reports of Filipino "Japayuki" bar girls who disappeared in Japan and could not be found. Police authorities presumed their deaths in the hands of the Japanese Mafia that controls the operation of geisha bars and prostitution. Filipino foreign brides have died in the States of Washington and Texas in the United States at the hands of their estranged American husbands.

 

Perhaps Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the second Filipino woman to be elected as the President of the Philippines will do something now for her fellow women. The Filipino Fourth Estate and the Overseas-Filipino press will be observing the so-called 100-day "honeymoon period" with President Arroyo. Hence, I will not even dare criticize at this point President Arroyo for apparently continuing on with the practices of the previous administrations in letting Filipino women work abroad without providing much protection and support. We will give her enough time. But perhaps Flora Contemplacion may remind the Filipino nation of the need to protect the Filipino woman overseas workers. And let us keep our fingers crossed and pray that President Arroyo will not even try to do a poor imitation of the Filipino Wonder Woman. # # #

 



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Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2008 02:15
 

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