Thursday, May 22, 2014

Excerpts From My School Mandated Reflections: Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar

The seminar’s poster-subtitle is “Avoid getting into illegal recruitment situations and learn more about the proper procedures in looking for jobs abroad. This seminar will be given by authorized representatives certified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).” Its rationale is noble and is befitting to those who have no common sense and or intentionally deprive themselves of the habit of being updated with “glocal” events. I’m not upset with the speaker, Phica Ripco (not his real name to protect his identity), I think he did a fantastic job, and his intention, of ensuring that we are informed for the sake of keeping us safe was altruistic. 

What I have a problem with is the government who instituted this rule. This move is a highly paternal and or maternal move of a state which has been consistently ranked in Transparency International as one of the "most corrupt" nations on the face of the planet. The nexus between these two factors, corruption and paternalism/maternalism of the state, lies with the institutional or bureaucratic maleficence generated by the symbiotic relationship of these deadly elements. Evidence? It lies in history books and the internet. The list can go on. The Economist recently ranked the Philippines as one of the countries with the "weakest institutions" thus hampering its ability to become a full-blown developed country.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Judge of the International Criminal Court once said that the POEA exit clearances are "unconstitutional" because as guaranteed by the constitution our right to exercise freedom of movement can’t and shouldn’t be impaired, albeit with exceptions, but only when it’s in the “interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law,” as stated in Section 6, Article III of our 1987 Constitution.  It is not the business of the government to attempt to extend its reach beyond its jurisdiction, beyond its borders, for when one leaves this territory it’s her or his responsibility to fend for himself or herself. 

It’s of course common knowledge to every local how Kafkaesque Philippine bureaucracy can be. This continued abuse of the government and of its power must cease, as it only empowers corrupt bureaucrats. 

I was baffled that many of the people in the audiences were shocked to learn things they should already know by now, as a member of a civil society, I kept on thinking how it’s their duty to know these things, does it really have to get to this point wherein the government has to arbitrarily punish those leaving the country with substandard and generalized information so impertinent as enough to constitute betrayal in the realm of its purpose? I think the POEA should be abolished and the money re-channeled instead to our devastatingly poor public education and health system and infrastructure.

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