August 09, 2006

3 in 10 Filipinos would migrate

SINCE 2002
Survey records ‘lowest level of hopefulness’

By Joel Guinto

AN independent survey has recorded “the lowest level of public hopefulness in the Philippines since July 2002,” with 21 percent of Filipinos seeing the country as hopeless and 32 percent undecided.

Still, 49 percent continue to see hope.

The results of the July 2006 Ulat ng Bayan survey by Pulse Asia Incorporated also showed three in 10 Filipinos, or 30 percent, would migrate given the opportunity with a slightly larger percentage, 37 percent, shunning this option, and 32 percent undecided.

“Pulse Asia undertakes Ulat ng Bayan surveys on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort,” the research firm said in a statement releasing its latest findings.

The survey was conducted from June 24 to July 8, when the serial filing of impeachment complaints against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and continued military restiveness were among the major news events. (Originally published on the web site, Aug. 9, 2006. Click blog title for the rest of the story.)

DO you feel hopeless?

I can sense the hesitation in you.

Do you feel hopeless, because everywhere you turn, there is rampant graft and corruption? From the lowly kotong traffic aide, to the taxman, and the legislators being dangled more pork barrel funds if they vote against the impeachment of GMA, and GMA herself who is getting sick because she can't stand herself and her lies?

Do you feel hopeless because what you earn can no longer support even the smallest of your expenses? Basic clothes, food, and rent. You've even drastically reduced your entertainment longer going out as much, drinking with your friends and such.

Do you feel hopeless because our nurses, teachers, accountants and other professionals are fleeing in droves, moving to other countries to earn higher pay to support their remaining families here? Does this mean the imminent collapse of our health care system and the steady erosion of the educational competencies of our youth?

Do you feel hopeless because no one seems to be doing anything about our wretched lives, and we are content whimpering and whining about our desperate country, not knowing what to do anymore except tighten our belts some more, or like the rest, just throw in the towel and leave?

What is troubling about this Pulse Asia survey is not how many actually think the situation here is hopeless or otherwise, but how many are seemingly undecided about what they actually feel! What is this? We don't even have an opinion about the whole matter? Are we too poor and hungry we can't even think straight anymore?

I know how you feel. It's really no longer just a question of money. Like in 1996, when the economy went bust, the peso plunged and we had problems paying off our debts. It is not just financial desperation that we are facing but an unsure future...where is the country headed? Where are going? Are things going to change? Are we going to change?

A former professor, now based in Canada, recently told me that he didn't leave the Philippines, but was running away from the government. Here was one Filipino who had a good job, was paid well and was accomplished in his field. But I empathize with his reasons for leaving. He has a family and has to think of his kids' future. He was brave enough to start all over again in some strange foreign country just for the sake of his children. How many more brilliant minds like him will leave? This worries me.

I too had left the Philippines. This was in 2004. I sold most of my stuff, thinking I was no longer coming back. But the expat's life was not for me. I returned to an even bleaker situation than when I had left. But like it or not, I have to stake my future in this beautiful country of ours. This country has a lot of potential, if only the powers that be can nurture it instead of blindly robbing taxpayers. This country has a lot of resources that only need to be properly harnessed and cultivated. And only if we have the discipline to follow the laws so we can demand the same from our leaders.

Personally, I am one of the 49% who are hopeful. I can only believe things will turn around. I know this government won't last. And this hopeless situation will not be forever. We waited a long time before succeeding against Marcos. This is nothing. We shall overcome. Soon.

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