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OFWs remain as our heroes

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 6 months ago


OFWs remain as our “heroes”



Councilor Peter T. Laviña


Privilege Speech, March 11, 2008



Madam President, colleagues …



In the editorial of the Business Mirror today, it laments the fact that “allowing too much political noise” referring to the NBN-ZTE scandal “comes with one danger” that of “overlooking such basic issues such as” in this instance “the national budget.”



Indeed, the Senate probe and the protests over the scandal, has diverted the nation away from many fundamental issues. Luckily, in the case of the national budget, the Appropriations Act would be signed today and this issue would be put to rest.



But, Madam President, a host of more other important issues beg our attention, and “too much political noise” indeed has relegated these to the back burner.



Take the case for example the title of our nation’s modern day “heroes.” I firmly believe that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) remain as our genuine national heroes. They have kept our economy afloat, and they continue to send remittances that help our development. And yet, in spite of their talents and toil, we neglect their fights and plights.



And here comes some church leaders, opposition politicians and even civil society groups hailing Joey de Venecia and Jun Lozada as our country’s new “heroes.”



I beg to disagree with them, Madam President.



These two are fake heroes. They are more like mercenary whistleblowers to me than heroes. These two are part of the massive corruption that is the NBN-ZTE. During their hey days with the greedy gang at Malacañang Palace, they enjoyed all the perks and pomp. Because of falling out – according to one Senator  – “pinag-aawayan ang kanilang kita” – they spilled the so-called beans.



They would have been heroes had they revealed the anomalies from Day 1. But, no. They crossed to the other side – almost two years - only when they lost out in moderating their greed.



It is truly lamentable that many others have been exposing numerous scandals in government, plain concerned citizens, members of media, militant cause-oriented groups and well-meaning politicians. But, how come they were not billed as heroes.



In the case of the NBN-ZTE, it was journalist Jarius Bondoc of the Philippine Star who first exposed it. And Congressman Carlos Padilla, first to reveal it at the Lower House. But, church leaders, opposition politicians and civil society groups have not hailed them as “heroes” and paraded them in streets, altars and campuses.



I believe it is high time we call a spade, a spade.



The real heroes to me are our OFWs.



Madam President, the Philippines will host on October this year the Global Forum on Migration and Development. United Nation member countries would convene in Manila for this important event to help address problems besetting global migration, particularly labor migration.



A parallel conference would be held among civil society groups engaged in services pertaining to migration and development.



A Mindanao-wide consultation, one of the preparatory activities towards the global forum, would be held here in Davao City on June 20.



This would be a good occasion, Madam President and dear colleagues, to show our concern for our OFWs, the genuine heroes, and showcase our various programs to help them.



Unfortunately, not much is being said or written about this important international event. And only because the nation is tuned in to the telenovela that is the NBN-ZTE scandal.



I am not saying, Madam President, that we put a stop to the Senate probe or to the many street protests. What I am saying is let us focus too on other issues at hand. And more importantly, let us not be too generous in according to just anyone the title of “heroes.”



Indeed, there are many “heroes.” But, some are just fake.



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