Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Absentee-voting and dual citizenship laws:
failure from conception

In their hope to earn some "pogi" points among Filipinos working or living abroad, our legislators enacted two laws. One law would give overseas Filipinos the right to vote. The other one would allow them to reacquire their Filipino citizenship. Hopefully, those "pogi" points would also translate into votes for those who sponsored the bills.

In their patronizing attitude, our legislators and government leaders could not understand why there is no beeline towards our different embassies. Our 'kababayans' are not queuing just to get registered for the 2004 elections or to become Filipino citizens again.

But would you, if you were in their shoes? You have left your beautiful Philippines and loved ones behind because of economic necessity or political reasons. You have seen that you will not get anywhere in the Philippines. And you have a growing family or a bigger extended family to take care of.

And you have realized that it is the brand of politics our leaders are practicing that is causing all the misery in the country.

Now that you are abroad you are sending dollars home. In fact, according to Bangko Sentral statistics, overseas Filipinos send home around $8 B dollars every year. That is one-half of the Philippine Gross International Reserves.

Still you feel that $8B is not making any impact on our economy directly. Because of corruption and profligacy, much of the dollars are just sent back abroad to pay off part of our external debts and you get devalued pesos in return.

Will you still have the stomach to take part in the country's politics? Or even be proud enough to reacquire your citizenship?

Our OFWs have already voted with their feet.