Thursday, April 03, 2008

Overseas murder

It happens with such regularity that I'm beginning to wonder if we're ever going to break this disturbing pattern. Efforts to save Vecina from death will continue, so says this article from GMA News. It fits right up there with so many others. Is anyone keeping track of how many and why? Isn't anyone getting tired?

This is the pattern:
  • Filipino goes to work in another country;
  • worker kills a citizen of that country or a fellow Filipino;
  • worker is arrested by local authorities;
  • Overseas Worker Welfare Administration provides legal assistance (optional);
  • worker is tried, convicted, and sentenced;
  • furor and tears in the Philippines because of lack of government oversight;
  • president or vice-president visits country to ask for clemency (optional); or
  • where available, blood money is paid (optional);
  • depending on outcome, worker is repatriated or executed;
  • rinse (from memory), and repeat

By the way, it is never the worker's fault as the worker was either: raped, abused, or swindled.

Or, in this particular case, insulted.

In the present case, the maid killed the six-year old son of her employers and slashed and stabbed the elder brother and sister. Surely in our own country that counts as a heinous crime for which the victim's family would be screaming for blood. Why one standard abroad and another standard in our own country? But then the article helpfully adds: "Earlier reports indicated she reacted violently to insults hurled at her by her employer's family."

Perhaps before we even send workers abroad, we need to ensure their emotional and psychological stability? Perhaps our workers are not prepared for the culture shock that meets them when they go abroad? They think they've escaped poverty here in the Philippines, only to find themselves in an alien land where their dignity is worth even less.

But of course, such a proposal would never fly. After all, it's yet another added burden for the New Hero. Far better to fly our government officials back and forth to beg for mercy and to wring our hands and think of ourselves as victims.