Monday, April 14, 2008


Today is the 11th National Migrants' Sunday. I didn't know that till I attended mass in St. Christopher's Church at Zhong San Road, Taipei City (Taiwan), where a multitude of Filipino migrant workers regularly gather every Sunday.

Right now, I'm in my sister's house here in Taipei City for a 4-day mid-autumn festival break when Chinese people eat a lot of "youzi" or pomelo (suha baga sa atin) and "yuebing" or mooncake (sa atin nama'y hopia). In Hualien City, I was surprised to meet a big number of Filipino migrant workers who regularly gather Every Sunday in St. Paul's Catholic Church. But I was even more surprised to brush elbows with multitudes of Filipino migrant workers in St. Christopher's Church in Taipei City. In the vicinity, there are lots of Filipino shops selling Filipino goods, products, and food. Literally, the place has become a Sunday rendezvous for our kababayan migrant workers in Taipei. I attended the Tagalog mass at 12:00pm and since it was the 11th National Migrants' Sunday, the priests talked about the plight of the Filipino migrant workers in Taipei . He passionately counselled the people apropos the in justices and violations done against them by their employers and brokers, and about their emotional and psychological problems caused by homesickness and depression.

Honestly, I could not relate and connect to the homily of the priest. I felt so alienated from the migrants' predicament and estranged from their situations. I felt like a Filipino among Filipinos having a starkly different face in Taipei. And while I'm being generously treated as guest by my host country being a scholar of Taiwan government, the Filipino contract workers here are treated as no more than servants whose everyday existence is at the mercy of their masters.

My sister has been working here in Taipei for almost five years now as an information officer for an international agricultural research organization. She herself has been in the same predicament as I'm right now with regards to our fellow Filipino migrant workers here. In our discussions in search for the root cause of the Filipino overseas contract worker phenomena, every inch of the problem seems to boil down to the most simple and obvious reason.

Our political leaders in the Philippines have not been doing their jobs in securing and safeguarding the welfare of the majority of our people. These are the vulnerable people---those who need guidance and direction from leaders; those who depend on thinkers and intellectuals for the answers to their queries; those who are born to follow and not to make decisions. A society sprang from an band of followers and a leader while a great nation sprang from a society of conscientious leaders and obedient followers. The rise or fall of a nation can always be attributed or traced to the strenght or weakness of its leaders.

Take Taiwan for example. It is a small country, not even a full-pledged nation and always at the brink of being engulfed by its giant adversary, the Big China. It is precisely this constant and imminent danger against their sovereignty that makes Taiwan's leaders so tough and principled that they even literally fistfight in their parliament to get things done for the betterment of the Taiwanese people who in return follow their leaders through and through.

Well, the Filipino people are good followers too! Just see what is happening to our country right now---we are messing it up because we have nothing back home but rotten leaders to show our way...down.

I always follow the news in the Philippines. Nothing is new. The senate is again investigating the executive branch who is again accused of grave corruptions and anomalies They are talking the same language over and over and over again back home. When will they ever learn to really talk and speak up for the people?

And when will they ever learn to lead?!

(Taipei City, Taiwan ROC, September 24, 2007, 12:16am)