retirements and selling birthrights.

I want to own a house by the beach—preferably a cove. The thought of being awaken by the sound of the waves kissing the shore, or walking barefoot on fine, white sand, or witnessing spectacular sunrises and sunsets day in and out is just pure bliss.

I still have to settle where in the Philippines I will situate my haven, although I already have locations in mind.


Semestral break is nearing its end and I am catching up on TV (other than DVD marathons). As I was flicking channels, I chanced upon what seemed to be documentary about retiring in the Philippines in one of the government-owned networks.

Apparently, one of the present government’s thrust is to promote retirement in the Philippines targeting the “foreign market”. This means that the government is active in inviting foreigners to migrate in our country and permanently reside here (which also means influx of dollars in the Philippine economy). The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) under the Bureau of Investments is the agency concerned in the processing of Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV). This gives foreigners the privilege to stay indefinitely in the Philippines with all the benefits and comfort—including owning properties, practicing professions, access to public schools for their children and many others.

No matter how much dollars this may bring in the Philippine Economy, I still find this alarming, absurd, and abhorrent.

This perhaps explains the Korean phenomena that everywhere Filipinos are there are twice or thrice the number of Koreans too. Statistics show that Korean migration has tripled in only a year's time. All along I have been surmising that they have only wanted to get educated in our schools, I never realized that they have really intended to reside in our homeland.

The opening segment of the documentary featured a Japanese national, with his wife, who has purchased an entire island in Cebu. Within this island, the locals depend on the livelihood provided by the couple. Another segment showed a Korean couple residing in a retiree’s village in Tagaytay. They own a house and employed two house helps and a driver—all Filipinos. Another Korean family in Makati employed themselves a Filipino chauffeur. This migration might have resulted to employment to some of our countrymen, but it is just very saddening to realize we are still servants to foreigners in our very own soil—and we even happily oblige. Has our hospitality really gone overboard? I understand how most Filipinos render services in foreign countries as medical staff, domestic helpers or teachers. But I cannot comprehend why even in our own homeland our fellow Filipinos allow themselves to be treated as inferiors. Have we really lost our sense of dignity that we are willing to trade anything in exchange of money? Has “poverty” really pushed us this far? Has discrimination became our comfort zone that we allow this even in our own backyard? Or we are simply sick mentally carrying in our heads the perspective that foreigners are our salvation?

The Korean family which I previously mentioned included two children who are given by PRA the privilege to access our public schools. I held out a smirk. How dare us allow children of other nations to public schools where in fact we cannot even provide quality education to our youth? How in the world will be allow another student share a book with a Filipino child, if we cannot even provide books for each student? Will they also fight for a chair against the other 60+ students? Worse, if these kids go to college, are they also allowed to go to UP, when most of our Filipino youth even haggle their way in against those from the elite, private schools?

Going back to the Japanese couple owning an entire island in the south, how come they were allowed to own property as vast as that? In the long term, if all these retirees will be allowed to do such, will there still be enough land mass left for the Filipinos? Has our government forgotten that millions of Filipinos does not even know what a land title looks like? Or are we really selling our country piecemeal? Mahilig talaga tayo sa tingi.

Has the Filipinos turned out to be greedy in the course of industrialization that all that we think about is money? Are ready to give up our birthrights in exchange of $50,000 which these foreigners pay to get SRRV? Or simply, we have just lost our sense of identity?

Juan, I refuse to be wake up one morning with chatters in language I do not know. (You’d hear them in elevators in most of the condominiums in the metro.)

Give me some enlightenment, please.

I may be sounding like an activist. I may be an idealist but I remain dreaming that the Philippines will rise in this in its glory. I love my country and perhaps that fuels my hope. If nationalism is passé, I know nothing else that would save the Philippines from going down the pit.

No comments: