HUMAN CRISES STEMMING FROM SEIGE IN AIRPORT IN BANGKOK“An estimated 6-7 million Filipinos, a good 10% of the population, live and work abroad. Most are in the Middle East, although large numbers work in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Western Europe, and elsewhere.”
WHY IS “PONG” STILL IN KUWAIT?
On Friday morning last week, I was surprised to see a Filipino friend of mine, Pong, still in Kuwait attending church with his friends.
Although it was nice to meet Pong again on my day off from work, I was certainly not expecting to see him on the last Friday in Thailand. Let me explain! Pong had been planning to fly the prior evening (November 27) to the Philippines.
Sadly, Pong and thousands of others of his Filipino countrymen (working all over Asia and Europe) had been booked on a Thai Airways, Kuwait Airlines and other Asian flights via Bangkok to Manila in November and December 2008. The Suvarnabhumi Airport near Bangkok is the 13th largest airport in the world and the second biggest in south and southeast Asia.
However, a week ago, several thousand political fanatics financed by some very wealthy anti-government bigwigs in Thailand have taken over this largest of airports in Southeast Asia in recent weeks.
Possibly, more than one million people will have been stranded within before the Airport Sieges ends (hopefully some time) in December 2008.
Just as over millions of other Filipinos (Pinoys) leave their homeland each year, Pong has had to abandon his home and family for a steadier and more lucrative job than the suspect-, almost always-corrupt, and under-performing Southeast Asian government of the Philippines affords most of its citizens.
Because so many Filipinos are forced to work abroad, one quickly has to admit that a large portion of the Filipino economy each year depends on the infusion of Filipinos’ labor in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Australia, and North America.
Because, as a whole, Filipinos have better English skills than do some other South Asian peoples, such as the Bangladeshis or Indonesians who come to the Middle East, the Pinoys have developed a market niche in some global communities, such as the wealthy Gulf States.
This has enabled and encouraged the Filipino government to occasionally defend its victimized workers abroad more diligently in the Gulf Region than Indian nationals have experienced in recent decades.
For example, the government of the Philippines has recently stated that no more Filipinos will be allowed to work in the Persian Gulf till Gulf countries as maids until wages are improved for the Filipina than has been the case to-date.