Ever wondered why you, the Filipino migrant worker, are being asked to leave a western country? What do you think is the real reason as to why you are being deported despite working so hard to earn your place here?
I have asked myself these questions several times since landing here in Canada. In my pursuit of answers, I spent a great deal in the library and came across several books on politics, economics and even history. The reality is painful. Literally, my tears fell uncontrollably as I read the first few pages from Karl Marx’s literary works. You are no longer a human. You are a commodity that is easy to buy and easy to dispose. It’s as simple as that. Tanggap mo ba?
The world of economics is vast and difficult to navigate, but the simple truth is that huge inequalities are created by international institutions that promised growth and prosperity. In the 1980’s, free market ideology was widely preached and has lead to all countries opening its trade barriers for everyone. Supposedly, a country can import their products into another country and vice versa, but what has happened, and what continues to happen is while developing countries such as the Philippines accept imported goods, such countries cannot export their products into western countries so easily. As a result, the division of wealth has become so skewed that it has made rich countries richer while poor countries even poorer. While western products enjoy larger markets and earn more profit from importing their goods in our country, our local products end up competing with major corporations.
Hanggang ngayon, nakikipag-kumpitensya pa rin ang sarili nating mga produkto sa mga gawa ng dayuhan. “Double standards” ang patakaran na kung saan pwede silang mag-import ng produkto nila para kumita sila ng mas marami habang tayo, hindi nila pinapapasok ang produkto natin sa bansa nila. Ang masaklap, hindi pa maintindihan ng madlang masa ang nangyayari sa kasalukuyan. May tawag nga tayo diyan eh: “Sosyal” daw kapag imported. “Chaka” daw pag lokal lang. Sa tingin mo, sino ang nalulugi? Sino ba talaga ang totoong chaka? Sino ang kumikita? Sino ang yumayaman kapag bili tayo ng bili ng produktong hindi naman Pilipino ang gumawa?
Given this fact, there’s no doubt as to why we cannot create sustainable jobs in the Philippines. There is no financial growth because our small market is no match against the unequal policies that govern international trade. Our financial, natural and human resources are depleted already. Wala man lang sila itinira para sa Pilipino. Wala ng natira, ni singko. Wala ka na nga pera, wala ka pa maayos na trabaho.
That’s what brings us here– abroad. Everyday, 4,000 Filipinos leave the country to search for jobs elsewhere, hoping to bring some quality of life back home. But what we don’t realize is that we are our own “products and services”. The Philippine government has allowed us to become commodified human laborers that have sold ourselves to be used by corporations and private employers to help them earn more profit or cut their losses from cheap labor. That’s us! The government has allowed this to happen because we bring in remittances from all over the world. Pati pala tao, produkto na din. Produktong mahirap iangkat ngunit madaling itapon.
Whether we like it or not, whether we agree on this or not, it is safe to say that almost all of us have felt a loss of self-respect, self-esteem, loss of independence and loss of control over our lives. Most of us have had to deal with depression and homesickness. We have lost our personal and civic life that we once enjoyed when we were free people back home. These days, we are bound by contracts and are faced with constantly changing immigration policies that intimidate us. Such is the plight of the Temporary Foreign Workers. Deportation is coming very soon for 16,000 workers in Canada. Kasama ka ba sa bilang? Aba, humiyaw ka.
If such is the case, are we going to tolerate it? If we know that this system is unfair, why must we endure it? Does this system think we are less of a human that when we are deemed useless, we must be deported? And after contributing much of our physical labor, not to mention taxes and pension plans, do we deserve such fate? No fucking way.
I think that Canada has forgotten that its “citizens” were once immigrants themselves. These folks must have forgotten that their parents and grandparents were from other parts of the world and came here as workers who searched for a better living. What makes us so different from them that we have to leave the country after four long years of hardwork? Why can a Canadian citizen enter any country freely but a person from a third world country cannot? Why?
Mangga ka ba? Baka naman kasi saging ka…?
Dare I ask these questions. Dare I say what I think. Maybe some of us are still lost when we talk about international policies or free trade, but the bottomline is that we are humans. We are all humans with the same needs– water, shelter, food, security and livelihood. Why must these things be constantly denied to us just because of our country of origin? Why must there always be a dominant race that controls what is for us and what is not for us? There is no need for deportation. We came here to work and be useful. We have proven long enough that we can contribute to the economy and society. We are humans and not commodities. We should not be treated like mangoes or bananas that can easily be thrown away once it has served its purpose. We cannot be sent away just because of numeric or financial values. It is absurd and should not be tolerated. Ever.