There is a lesson to be learned regarding the massive deportation of illegal Filipino immigrants from Malaysia. And it concerns the whole country1. We can't say anything much about the deportation per se because, apart from the reported maltreatments that the deportees are receiving, the Malaysian government is only implementing and following its laws. Something our country, as a whole, has to learn.
Many cause-oriented groups have voiced their reactions, regarding the Malaysians' treatment of the illegal immigrants and as of this writing, I heard that a women's group is going to stage a picket at Plazoleta Gay, probably to show their reactions against alleged sexual abuses of Filipinas by Malaysian cops. Many of us like that. Hurt us, and we stage a rally. Hurt us, and we torch a flag. Hurt us, and we take to the mountains.
I wonder then. What if all these reports were false, that we were mistaken in thinking that the Malaysian people would ill-treat Filipinos, even those who encroached illegally upon their motherland? What will we put on our placards then? What will we scream as we march along our dirty streets? What will we write on our papers and columns? Nothing. There would only be (if we were wise enough to realize our errors) guilt and humiliation. And our globally-renowned democratic voice will be silent as we wait for each deported Filipino to arrive on our shores, our heads bowed and our hands wrung together as we greet each other in mute welcome.
We were abused, yes, but that doesn't erase the fact that we were wrong. Around 80,000 sins and mistakes.
We have to start learning the value of our laws and the equally important value of following and implementing them. Maybe then, we would earn the respect of other nations. We always thought ourselves as the downtrodden, as the world's stereotyped babysitters, helpers, and, worse, prostitutes. There has to be a reason why we are treated as such.
They abuse us because even in our own country, Filipinos similarly abuse ourselves. There are even those who would boast to foreigners that they could weasel their way around the law, as if the Philippines was an easy woman whom one could bed by a few light touches on the hips. Believing this, some visitors to the country have even helped themselves to someone they heard was an all too willing female. The Philippines, too, has illegal immigrants, and our country has yet to show the discipline, similar to that of Malaysia, in handling such cases.
The Filipino illegal immigrants built thatched houses in Malaysia. Some “enterprising” Koreans have put up illegal schools around the country. They ship trespassers back to their place of origin. We kidnap foreigners. They beat offenders with a cane because that is their law. Us, we park SUVs on sidewalks because we don't respect ours.
A lawmaker said mendicancy brought about crime. Some would arguably say that poverty is the real cause. Nevertheless, should we wait before the country is less poor before we start following and implementing our own laws? Yes, the deportees were abused; but it wasn't entirely all the Malaysians' fault.
H2G2 entries about the Philippines
H2G2 links about Malaysia
Related BBCi links:
News story from 2002: Philippines probes migrants' plight