Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lack of trust in government keeps families apart

Learning & Innovation – October 12, 2006
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Lack of trust in government keeps families apart

At the Seminar for Developing the National Consulting Industry, participants were asked to do a SWOT analysis of the current state of the consulting business here. It is with pride that the participants identified proficiency in English as one of strengths that differentiate us from consultants in the region, in particular.

In the same breadth, there is sadness in the fact that we are fast losing that important competitive edge as our neighbors in the region are scramble to learn English as their second language. There was also a side discussion about the tens of thousands of Filipinos around the region, and even in the USA and Europe, teaching English in schools and special training programs.

In the same vein, do you wonder why our electric current was not immediately restored after Milenyo? Where have all our linemen gone?

Meralco has set up an Accelerated Lineman Training Project Team headed by Marlon Manaois under their Human Resources Development Department. Marlon says, “Meralco linemen are being pirated by foreign electric companies. There was just an increase this year, and most of them went to the USA, but it was just for a 10-month contract. Most of them are back now here, but not with Meralco. We have no right to hold them so we made this new team that I now head and a new training camp beside EL Development Center in Sumulong Highway, Antipolo. We don’t really have a shortage of linemen, only a lot of restoration work was necessary.”

Most of our mining and metallurgical engineers are everywhere in the world except here. And there are very few enrollees in that department even if our mining industry is now in operation.

I finally watched the Kapamilya TV show, “Deal or No Deal” last week. One contestant said she is taking up Nursing because she wants to go abroad and earn big money. I have this romantic notion that you take up Nursing or any medical course for the altruistic privilege to take care of your fellow person in need of tender loving medical care. Hindi pala.

Are all these things happening because of globalization? Or is the world really, really now recognizing the Filipino talent and work ethics. Or do our English skill and “bahala na” attitude embolden us to venture out of the country for the proverbial pot of gold.

This brain drain is hurting all of us. And it hurts the OFW and their family even more. Has anybody calculated the enormous social costs of mothers and fathers leaving their spouse and the care and development of their children entirely to the hands of one parent or relatives, or friends? I bet the cost will far exceed the money they earn.

One of the favorite work stations of our OFW is Taipei, Taiwan where they enjoy good pay and the esteem and respect of their employers. However, these OFW are complaining about the substantial “broker’s fee” that they have to pay their recruiter here and in Taipei every month for three years which is about their contracted work tenure. They say that this fee represents about a third of their pay. Seeing them lugging those overweight baggages to bring home to their loved ones here brings tears to my eyes. You know, everything is expensive in Taipei, even those goods made in China are much cheaper here. They do a lot of sacrifices and manage their money very well while in Taipei so that they could send more money and bring home pasalubongs to their family and friends. On Sundays at church, they just sit down there and cry their hearts out missing their family so much.

Do they really need to work abroad? My favorite taxi driver has the last say, “Wala pong pag-asa dito sa atin ang mga katulad naming mababa ang pinag-aralan at wala ring puhunang magnegosyo. Wala na po kaming tiwala sa gobyerno. Talaga pong itinutulak kaming palabas ng bansa.”

(Moje consults on organization and human resource development and could be reached at

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