We Need to Listen to Non-Filipinos Regarding Slavery
We, Filipinos, seem to use "culture" often as an excuse. Even in basic education, former secretary Luistro concocted the idea that science and math are not universal:
"... If we look at the old education system, a lot of the subjects included are very alien to Filipinos, especially the sciences and math. I think that’s why in the past several years, we have rated very low in those two subjects, science and math. I think the old curriculum was not really enmeshed with essential elements of the Filipino culture. We have to ask the question: How does a Filipino naturally think?"And in this particular case of modern slavery, a Filipino magazine's reaction sums up what most Filipinos felt after reading comments from Westerners regarding the essay, A Story of Modern Slavery in America.
|Above copied from Scout|
Worth noting is the fact that after the above article was posted, it was soon revised "to reinforce the fact that the author and Scout don’t condone the Filipino culture of indentured/forced servitude in any way." The first comment on this post, however, makes it clear what the Scout's article is really about:
Ashley Tugade Tucker
Months ago before the Atlantic's article, Mong Palatino posted in Global Voices the following:
|Above copied from Global Voices|
One of the placards above says "Stop over charging agency fees". These migrants not only have to leave their families behind and work as domestic workers abroad, but are also required to pay exorbitant fees to agencies in their home countries. Palatino cites in the above article a study that claims that there are about 9000 individuals treated as slaves in Singapore, but the numbers from the Philippines are much more disconcerting:
|Above copied from The Global Slavery Index|
In the specific report on the Philippines, the following is stated:
Modern slavery exists in the Philippines in all its forms, however the issue of forced labour for Filipinos working abroad is a significant concern. The most recent survey on OFWs by the Philippine Statistics Authority suggests that one in every two Filipino women working abroad is unskilled, and employed as a domestic worker, cleaner, or in the service sector. These sectors represent some of the highest industry risks for modern slavery. Walk Free survey data revealed that roughly 69% of those reporting exploitation experienced the abuse within the domestic labour sector. Within those that reported forced labour, 25% reported that it occurred overseas, whereas 75% occurred domestically, suggesting that modern slavery is a serious concern not just for OFWs but also within the Philippines itself.In a comment on the previous post on this blog, Masters and Slaves Among Us, I was told (in all caps), "PLEASE DO NOT EXPOUSE THAT SLAVERY IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE PHILIPPINES." I then gave a simple response, "Slavery is alive and well in the Philippines." The above report supports this notion.
Human rights are universal and we should not use neither culture nor history as an excuse. Slavery is a crime. Slavery requires action, not just tears or emotions. We need to acknowledge fully that slavery is wrong, no "ifs', "ands", or "buts". And, "yes", we need to listen to non-Filipinos regarding slavery.