POSTSCRIPT / May 3, 2018 / Thursday


Opinion Columnist

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DFA amateur hour over for Cayetano?

CAREER officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs have decided to save the premier department from the amateurs led by Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano whose management, they said, has been marked by gross incompetence.

In a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte, the career officers asked for the resignation of Cayetano and the amateurs around him, including Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola, reportedly a non-career official described as a “liability.”

The last straw appears to have been their bungling of relations with Kuwait, where 230,000 Overseas Filipino Workers stand to lose their jobs either because of the souring of bilateral ties or the knee-jerk initial order of Duterte for all OFWs there to return home.

Cayetano, a politician whose diplomatic experience is zero, appears to have “petered out” – or to have reached his level of incompetence in his career shift as the country’s top diplomat.

Many seasoned diplomats have been biting their nails as Cayeteno tried managing West Philippine Sea issues, the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court, its rejection of European Union aid, and human rights monitoring by the United Nations.

The career officers said in a letter to the President: “The diplomatic row between the Philippines and Kuwait has unmasked the gross incompetence of DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his top aides who are now a liability to the Duterte administration.

“Having no vision on foreign policy, Cayetano and his top aides miscalculated Kuwaiti reaction to the controversial rescue missions of distressed Filipino housemaids. This blunder resulted in the expulsion of our Ambassador to Kuwait, Rene (Renato) Villa, who was declared persona non grata by the host government.”

Having seen Cayetano’s fumbling, this observer seconds the suggestion that he and the amateurs operating with him be removed “to spare the Philippines from further diplomatic embarrassments.”

• Sharing thoughts of OFW families

MANY Filipino workers told by Duterte to come home have expressed concern over news that the millions of unemployed in the country continue to swell, including the 36,000 displaced from Boracay, compounded by the inflow of Chinese infrastructure and other workers.

Social media are replete with such concerns of OFWs and their families. To give readers an idea of what thoughts cross their minds, we share part of a thread from Twitter. (To save space, we strung together some consecutive tweets. Pardon the occasional rough language.)

>KimiGamora @kristinamisajon — My parents were OFWs — kaya p*t*ng*na kayong nagsasabing umuwi na lang at ang gobyerno ang bahala sa inyo. Bitch, hindi naman mangingibang-bansa ang mga tao kung may trabahong nag-aantay sa kanila.

My parents were forced to leave their already-promising professions para makipagsapalaran. Yun talaga ginawa nila.

My parents — both were accountants — started as, guess what?, store keepers. Alam niyo bang ang laking sampal sa kanila yun? But they had to swallow that pride.

They spent thousands to settle in their new “home.” Before they joined their current companies, kung anu-anong paghihirap dinanas nila.

Dati, boss sila sa Pilipinas. Pagdating sa ibang bansa, they had to work for other people. This is just one of many stories of our OFWs.

Tiniis nila yan dahil gusto nilang makapag-aral kami ng maayos. I was a college junior when I found out my parents were eating kangkong and tuyo just to send me my weekly allowance.

Tangina, iniyakan ko yan. Tapos ngayon, sasabihin ng gobyerno na magsiuwi na lang sila just to save face?

Putangina niyo. Bago kayo nagpakaCardo Dalisay diyan, sana inisip niyong maraming maaapektuhan sa propaganda niyo. Ngayon, ayaw niyong umako ng responsibilidad?

Hindi nga maresolve ng gobyerno yung illegal recruitment which is a BIG FACTOR explaining why countless Filipinos still suffer at the hands of these abusive employers.

You added fuel to the fire. Binastos niyo yung host country. Hindi umiral diplomasya niyo.

KAYA UTANG NA LOOB — enough with this knee-jerk kind of governance. You’re doing the exact same thing in Boracay. Wala kayong matinong plano. WALA.

Dami pang nagsasabing mga DDS to learn how to “live within your means.”

Akala niyo ba mayaman lahat ng OFWs? Nanay kong OFW namatay, ayaw tulungan ng OWWA (pahirapan mag-claim ng death benefits), baon sa utang.

It’s not all roses and rainbows for OFWs. Stop with that nonsense.

With minimum wage and rising prices in goods, services, and utilities, you think you can entice them to stay here?

Lahat sila, titirik ang mata sa gutom. Aalis rin sila.

Yung sa Boracay, t*ng*na 320 pesos for 30 days! T*ng*na makatao ba yun? Anong kakainin nila, iilang butil ng bigas araw-araw?

Is that what you plan for the OFWs too? Better yet, where dafaq are your plans?

>Paolo Perez @iampaoloperez — Government policy na tong OFW phenomenon since Marcos. 10% of our GDP comes from remittances. They’re not really providing realistic solutions to this problem. More of the same bravado shit.

>KimiGamora @kristinamisajon — How will this brilliant government provide jobs to everyone na pinapauwi nila. Nagtataas rin prices ng bilihin at serbisyo. T*ng*na mga walang plano.

>Angelo M @c4lidor3 — Nabigyan na kaya sila ng pagkakakitaan?

>KimiGamora @kristinamisajon — Questions, questions, questions.

> ايدوين ر @edwinromeoclark — Madali lang nmn kc sabihin nila un eh. Ngaun pag nasa Pilipinas kana, #NgaNga. #naduterte kna. Tas sasabihin ng pangulo “nung cnabi kong magsiuwi na kau (OFW sa Kuwait), maraming trabaho dito, naniwala nmn kayo?” Patay na.

>KimiGamora @kristinamisajon — LOLOLOL always saying things in jest. Hanggang 2022 yan kuya.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of May 3, 2018)

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