The author an expat named RT Cunningham took notice of what appeared to be an inaccurate use of the word perceived in describing the immigration officers in the Philippines. He categorically stated the obvious that the immigration office is not just perceived as corrupt but they are actually corrupt, to quote:
I know I've mentioned it before, but I hate politics. Most of the political articles I've read over the past year didn't interest me and didn't affect me one way or the other. Navigating to the top of the second page of this blog, however, caused me to focus on a few words of the first paragraph of "WEG, A Boom or Doom on RP Tourism?":
…that this Act is more likely to corrupt what is an already perceived corrupt government immigration office.
Perceived? It IS corrupt! When I was doing my immigration paperwork, after my first arrival here, my paperwork kept getting shuffled to the bottom of the stack until my wife slipped some money in with it. There were people who'd been waiting 3 days to get their paperwork through because they either didn't know about this "bribery" or they refused to pay it. It took me 1 day because of what my wife did — I didn't know she'd done it until AFTER we were on our way home. I didn't condone it and I still don't. Corruption breeds corruption.
I believe most of the frequent traveler to the Philippines will agree to what RT Cunningham said because of having experienced it first hand and not just some hearsay or observation with corruption. I do share the sentiment of not condoning corruption because corruption is like breeding mosquitoes in the gutter of the tropics biting you senseless especially when you ran out of mosquito repellent.
It bugs you at the onset but as it worsens it has dire consequences such as what we are seeing in the endless scandals that graced the dailies. Just like virus carrying mosquitoes it can kill and help in marginalizing quite a number of people that has grown in number rapidly as corruption worsens while shrinking the already vanishing middle class.
The middle class are struggling to maintain their once “comfortable” income sliding in value vainly surviving the ever increasing price of basic commodities even though the Peso was appereciating. Majority of the middle income groups are forced to migrate to seek greener pasture or suffer just like the poor majority of the people. These are all due to corruption and mismanagement that goes with the territory when you have corrupt people at the helm.
If the intention was to acclimatize (not the warm humid weather, I suppose) as soon as you set foot in the Philippines then yes in a bad way and surely gives the country a black eye while the traveler a few hundred dollar lighter?
If expats and foreigners are treated in this manner how much more do you think Filipinos suffer in the hands of these corrupt officials? Case in point of how this has gone out of hand is the shabby treatment of “Tet” an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) and daughter of Supreme Court Justice Artemio Panganiban no less. This time the culprits are the POEA/OWWA personnel to quote the article penned by Justice Panganiban:
Last Dec. 15, she came for her annual visit. A week after, on Dec. 22, she and her brood left for Bangkok and flew back here on Dec. 28, with the intention of returning to New York on the early morning of Jan. 2, 2008. Prior to her departure for Bangkok, she applied for the clearance required by the POEA from all OFWs who are returning to their places of work. Why she needed this clearance, in the first place, is beyond me.The incident ended up well with the justice daughter getting her clearance with Secretary Brion taking care of the problem personally. Mr. Panganiban being a gentleman and of good breeding naturally is showering the cabinet secretary with accolades for a job well done while at the same time wishing for this kind of incident to get resolve without cabinet level intervention. He is also wondering how others are treated like those OFW that are not well connected and they are the majority so imagine the hassle they subject them to and how they bleed them with hard earned depreciating dollars.
In any event, two POEA/OWWA personnel at the Naia told her that, to obtain her clearance for her US trip, she had to fall in line at their "Edsa office" upon her return from Bangkok. Tet carefully explained that she was coming back to Manila at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28 and leaving for the United States on Jan. 2 at 7:55 a.m. The intervening days were all non-working holidays, which made falling in line at the "Edsa office" impossible. Her simple explanation was shrugged off uncaringly by the duo. "Wala kaming paki," (We don’t care) they chorused. They also refused to give her a clearance application form.
My daughter is normally soft spoken, rule-abiding and rarely agitated. But, from her friends, she has heard of horror delays caused by POEA fiascos at Naia. She had to be back at her ADP office in New Jersey on Jan. 3. Her boss would accept no excuse. So, I decided to bring the matter to Labor Secretary Arturo Brion.
Indeed but that is exactly what is happening because we allowed and condoned corruption for so long that no one is immune anymore even people in high places respected by their peers and community will have to go through what may have become the “official” unofficial SOP. …. Failure to come across and you get the run around as experienced by RT Cunningham and Tet the daughter of Justice Panganiban no less is just sick, REALLY SICK.
This is exactly the reason why we need to launch the Campaign Supporting Good Governance in Pampanga and the One-Dollar Moral Crusade Against Graft & Corruption hopefully see a response similar to the Malu Fernandez and Teri Hatchers' Desperate Housewife episode exploding like wildfire in the online Filipino Community. It will painstakingly get there especially when people realize how the forces of evil are ranting and raving like those saber rattling throngs of ultra xenophobes of the perverted Bin Laden type religious numb nuts demanding death to a British school teacher for the Mohamed Teddy bear Incident.
Oh, I almost forgot check out Untwisted Vortex
Update on Justice Panganiban's Article:
Pedestrian Observer is a Philippine socio-political blog. It was very colourful and full of relevant and thought provoking articles which were well-written and detailed. Despite having a black background (which I normally dislike) the design worked very well as there were so many brightly coloured pictures. There were no sponsored posts or adverts on the blog.