"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

GMA administration scoff at Filipino deaths in defense of Hanjin

The Philippine Daily Inquirer recently editorialized a sad rash of 19 deaths among countrymen working in the Hanjin Heavy Industries' shipyard inside the Subic Bay Freeport as "unusual and a legitimate source of public concern."

In a response that has become typical of our exceedingly shameless, corrupt government, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde instead admonished during a press conference that Senate investigators should handle the matter with kids' gloves otherwise it might lead to the closure of companies concerned.

It's perplexing how distorted our government's sense of morality has become. Instead of coming forward with compassion and concern for the victims, officials who are supposed to represent our people's best interests are making their presence felt on behalf of these foreigners. Instead of seeing to it that justice and fairness is assured, those we enable to occupy positions of trust and authority are making clear that priority is for them who exploit our people and spit on our country's image and integrity.

What's a paltry 19 Filipino deaths anyway?

The editorial is correct in pointing out that Remonde's statement was not a knee jerk reaction but that as palace spokesman he reflects the position of President Macapagal-Arroyo or her administration on the issue.

"If the executive branch is uninterested or unwilling to investigate the matter, then it should at least allow the Senate's own investigation in aid of legislation all the room it needs." Instead, the editorial added, "a presidential palace without any qualms about aggressively asserting its prerogatives wants to crowd the Senate."

It was also learned that in 2008, Malacañang preempted government sanctions against Hanjin (after three workers died in one accident) by saying the Korean shipbuilder, one of the country's largest investors, was not even liable. As it turns out, Hanjin uses a multi-layered corporate setup that results "in the insulation of the mother company, HHIC-Phil Inc., from liability arising from employee injury or death, or from collection cases by unpaid suppliers."

Then there was that haughty letter from the Korean ambassador to the Senate last December that PDI noted was a distinct threat: "The possibility that [Hanjin] may be an object of a Senate inquiry could generate substantial and negative repercussions."

In short, these Koreans enriching themselves using our country's people and resources want that they should not be made accountable for any wrong they commit, if any, just because it would impact the Philippine economy. The ingrates seem to have forgotten that during the Korean War our PHILCAG was among the foreign armed forces selflessly helping save desperate Koreans from perdition.

To access the PDI editorial in full click here.

Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.

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