How OFW/OF Nations Can Save Filipinos From Themselves and Their Leaders

by Bobby Reyes

Photo by Sweeden Velado of Peoples Television Network (PTV), Philippines via Wikimedia Commons

Part VI of the “ReVOTElution of H.O.P.E.” Series

Global Finance ranked in 2019 the Philippines as the world’s most dangerous country. “It rates the Philippines above countries like Guatemala and El Salvador, which suffer from extreme national disasters and low-economic development. Even Yemen, a country which is currently a war zone, is only second to the Philippines. Meanwhile, countries such as Syria and Iraq do not even make it onto the list. All of this prompts the question of credibility.” Please read a reaction from WhenInManila.com, an online magazine in the Philippines.

It is easy to understand, nay rationalize, the rankings of Global Finance on the safest countries. The Philippines is allegedly the capital of “extra-judicial killings” (EJK) in the world. Metro Manila also happens to be the capital of homelessness, perhaps in the entire universe (even if there is extra-terrestrial life). On Dec. 30, 2020, I wrote about the top five cities with the biggest homeless population in the world. And worse, several Filipino Presidents have been dubbed “some of the biggest thieves” in the history of Planet Earth.

Yes, the OFW/OF Nation must save Filipinos from themselves and their leaders. How? Because they can, asset-wise (that is, human-and-financial resources). Please read on …

It is public knowledge that the Philippine economy is kept afloat by the remittances of Overseas Filipinos (OFs) and Overseas-Filipino workers (OFWs). As Googled, “In 2019, Overseas Filipinos (and OFWs) sent back (U.S.) $32.2 billion to the Philippines.”

“The President said that in 2002, the Overseas Filipinos remitted more than $10-billion and 70 percent of it came from the United States.”

Here is additional proof: I reported that “on May 17, 2003, then-Philippine President Gloria M. Arroyo spoke at the brand-new Queen of Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles, California. She addressed a motley crowd of Filipino Americans and Overseas Filipinos, many of whom were American citizens. She thanked the Overseas Filipinos for helping the Philippines by their remittances and shipments of Balikbayan boxes. The President said that in 2002, the Overseas Filipinos remitted more than $10-billion and 70 percent of it came from the United States.”

The said remittance total per annum is one example of the “interdependence” relationship between the United States and the Philippines. Because a bulk of the remittances to the Philippines come from the hundreds of thousands of Fil-Am medical professionals, many of whom have six-figure annual incomes.

Ergo, the first step in saving the Philippines is to “reinvent” the education of Filipinos. “Critical thinking” must be adopted as the nucleus of Philippine education. The OFWs and OFs must invest in the “reinvention” of Philippine education. And reeducation of all Filipinos, especially those in government service.

In my Facebook Timeline on July 3, 2018, I proposed that we must push “Social Engineering” (SE). The result of doing the SE is the teaching of subjects in “Socially and Environmentally Responsible Governance” (SERG) and “Sustainable and Environmentally-responsible Economics” (SERE). It is not taught in high schools and colleges in the Philippines. And for stakeholders, especially foreign investors, a “Socially-responsible Investment” (SRI). This is why I have invited Prof. Dr. Scott Tigre (Tibayan) to join us in launching the SE as a component of our electoral vision.”

“I proposed that we must push “Social Engineering” (SE). The result of doing the SE is the teaching of subjects in “Socially and Environmentally Responsible Governance” (SERG) and “Sustainable and Environmentally-responsible Economics” (SERE).”

What right do the OFWs and the OFs have in demanding compliance of the “SE,” the SERG.,” the “SERE,” and the “SRI” as components of positive changes in the Philippine economy and governance? An analogy is akin to the parents of the bride paying entirely the expenses of their daughter’s wedding (as practiced in the United States). The parents do have a say in so many decisions needed to be made — from the costs of the bridal entourage’s attire, venues of the ceremony and reception, menu, and other needs. After all, it is the bride’s parents that are bankrolling the wedding event. If the bride and groom do not want the said parents to have a say in the wedding, then the engaged couple should pay for the costs.

The four slogans (acronyms) would have been part of my platform on education had I run (again) for governor in the 2019 election. But my Sorsogon-based political advisers said that I needed PHpesos 150-million (approximately U.S.$3-million) to win. Because I had to “buy” votes. I backed out because I refused to do what was/is an illegal election campaign practice. It did not matter if the Trapos (traditional politicians) had been doing it. I always wanted to win any contest, honestly.

As you have read Part III of this series, we discussed nursing school and a college of entrepreneurship founded by an OFW, Dr. Rusty Balderian, in his hometown of Tabontabon (Leyte). It will be easy to organize the suggested “College of Social Engineering” (CSE) with the participation of Dr. Balderian and his faculty members. We can require all the candidates fielded by the “PAYONG” (Philippine Alliance of the Youth and Organizations for New Governance) to enroll in the CSE. It can be taught via the so-called “distance education” (as done via the Internet or social media). And even if some of the candidates lose, all of the students aspiring for elective-public positions must finish the suggested course in two years. Then if the OFW/OF-led slates win the 2022 elections, we can mandate that all Filipino government employees, including our men and women in uniform, take the online courses at the proposed CSE.

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