For years, Filipinas fell to their deaths. Balancing in ledges of skyscrapers without any harness on, they would clean windows because the master ordered them to.
Like the tragic angels that they were, circumstances in our country forced them to leave their families and offer themselves up to the Gods and Goddesses of Aching Loneliness and Danger.
And their daily companion was this ache– to have their arms around their children, be a mother to them—know their joys and the sorrows, their triumphs, their defeats.
To hover over their brood– cooking their favorite chicken adobo in a way only moms can, to see them off as they set out on their daily trek to school and then to welcome them in a loving embrace when their day was done. To whisper to them her love and to have them whisper back to her their love.
And for her to be their home, their sanctuary, their constant. Their anchor.
And for them to be her home, her sanctuary, her constant. Her anchor.
And yet no matter how hard they and their spouses worked, the day came when they saw that to even just provide for their daily means, in order for them to be the strong shoulders their children could lean on and for them to be the strong arms that would carry their children so they could see a bigger view of the world and their part in it,
and for them to be the one to help weave their children’s dreams into reality, the day finally came when they saw that they would need to be unmoored and to look to distant shores to make all that happen.
And for years we saw it and we heard of it.
How they were treated no better than slaves. How their passports were kept under lock and key by their amos so they couldn’t escape. Escape what? Hunger, maltreatment, rape, not being paid their wages. Not being paid, period.
And for years, coffin after coffin of our kababayan rolled into our airports.
We were a nation down on our knees, weeping tears of rage and grief for which we had no words for. And our arms were chained and we had no way of defending them, our kababayan.
But I knew this pain never left us. It was simmering and it was just waiting for the day when we could strike back at the heartless bastards we called public servants who cared nothing for them.
Who only valued them for the remittances they could bring home to keep our economy afloat because these thieves in office stole so mightily from us.
And they cared nothing about giving back to our compatriots who had offered themselves up as a living sacrifice for family, for country.
Far more than any oppressive nation, the biggest oppressor of the Filipino had become these traitors who had taken an oath to serve us and then turned around and did just the opposite.
And this duplicitous lot, these greedy heartless bastards would call our OFWs ‘our modern day heroes and heroines’ because this was shortcut for ‘we don’t care to do our jobs so we put you in the firing line’.
And yet when they were in real trouble –as they always were—this government that made a grand display of appreciation for them, turned their backs on them. With their noses in the air in fact.
And so the stories that made us seethe in anger continued and we had no idea how they would end.
In fact, we had accepted it as our lot. Our new normal.
I remember hearing the Ayalas talk about how to capitalize on our OFWs. It made my hair stand on end because I was of the mind that the diaspora was patent and clear proof of our failure as a nation. That the aim was to build a strong economy and then bring them home.
If you had to leave to provide 3 meals a day for your family, then clearly we had failed in very real and monumental ways.
And I remember Noynoy say, “Filipinos leave their country to work abroad because they want to, not because they have no opportunities in their country. “ And if he had any hair, I’d have pulled it off him.
So I saw it: a government so lost, so bereft of their true North that it would put in harms’ way its own citizens and do so without shame, without guilt.
And quite suddenly, Rodrigo Duterte came into power and he has put himself between the OFWs and the countries that would try to harm and disrespect them.
Quite suddenly, there is a hand that will catch those Filipinas falling to their deaths because in Hong Kong, his government has unilaterally muscled a new condition in the contracts of Filipino helpers that makes cleaning the exterior of windows illegal.
He has told them, in no uncertain terms, this shit has got to stop. Clean your own fucking windows,you ninnies. (Ok, that’s just me doing some interpretative dancing)
While he is still rebuilding our economy so that no Filipino has to leave to earn a decent living, this President is causing exploitative nations to take notice of the Filipino and he is demanding that they be treated with care, with dignity, with respect. That they are not cheap commodity you can treat any which way you want to.
Because see that crazy loon who kisses the flag any chance he gets? He’s crazy in love with us. And you wouldn’t want to mess with him.
A first from any sitting president, right? A FIRST!
And so you ask me,
why do you continue to support this President? And THIS, my dear friend, is one of a couple hundred reasons I do.
I see his heart clearly.
And it is crystal clearly for the Filipino.
*Photo from HK Sun*