Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mean, Bad, Awful. And that's the good part.

This is horrible. It is bad enough we are in this mess. What a world we live in!
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20430153/

4 comments:

Jason said...

I just finished reading that and then saw it mentioned on your blog.

Did you see this one also?
http://digg.com/world_news/Testimony_kidnapped_people_forced_to_work_on_building_US_Embassy_in_Iraq

Joaquin said...

I have seen that. there was talk about that issue here, though you might be surprised initially.

a few points. first, the company in question is a Saudi construction company called "firstkuwaiti", though they ARE being subcontracted by the US state department. Second, he stated that the Filipinos spoke no English. This is not possible. Third, the Filipinos are contract workers for this Saudi company. Since about 2004, when there was a Filipio construction worker taken hostage in Iraq, Gloria Arroyo declared Iraq off limits for Filipinos. That has not stopped an influx of Filipinos to Iraq through clandestine means (visas to "Dubai", etc.), because as you well know, their need for dollars outweighs their need for personal safety. They are putting it all on the line to make money, and it is sad, but not the fault of the US government. (at least directly, considering the problematic historical past of the Government of the United States and The Philippines).

The US, as "prime contractor" has a responsibility to evoke any kinds of regulations on the construction of the buildings as they want, but the fact that they are contracting out the work, the very essence of that would have to remove direct responsibility from clandestine hiring practices and contract disputes from their subcontractors. Otherwise, there would be no reason to contract out the work in the first place. The Filipino workers boarded an aircraft in Kuwait, and from there, were brought to Iraq. I find it next to impossible to believe that any of them did not understand what was going on. And the testimony revealed that they were "smuggled past" US security to the work site. As to the "appalling work conditions" let me be blunt. What the gentlemen described, "no shoes, no safety harness, 30 feet off the ground on scaffolding, 30 to a trailer" is about 1,000 times better working conditions of construction workers in the Philippines. As you know, I was involved in the scaffolding and construction business. I have seen what goes on here. To the uninitiated, it is a shock.

I am not condoning any of this mind you, just responding to what I have heard, and what I know. Another key issue, is that the Arroyo government can do almost nothing about his problem, because her farcical "improving economy" is purely based upon the remittances sent back home from Filipinos working abroad, or Overseas Contract Workers.(OCWs)

In the end, if these workers manage to survive the war going on, they will be back home, "heros" to their families, to their country, and directly responsible for any successes GMA can glean from their contribution to the economy here.

Filipinos OCWs are often the doers of the world's dirty work. There are horror stories from OCWs from all over, mostly from the Middle East (Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait). It is no picnic out there, and my hat is off to them. One woman (domestic helper) was imprisoned for accidentally sitting on a Koran that was placed on her bed. I routinely tell my classmates here, better to be here, and poor, than being a slave in a foreign country, getting your hands chopped off, etc.

Alvin Almeda said...

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Joaquin said...

nice site alvin