Our Contributor, Dennis Horner has some powerful things to say about the Philippines. We remind everyone his opinions are not automatically those of the webmaster, site owner or any other contributor or comment maker.
There is a lot of buzz at the moment on the Expat Yahoo Groups about a Brit and his wife being held in jail for nearly 2 years. The alleged crime is illegal recruitment, which is aligned to human trafficking and that is tied to nearly half a billion dollars of US foreign aid and is being used to leverage action from the government. Meanwhile, the expat and his wife are being held in a municipal jail. Imagine an overcrowded cell with little ventilation and no porper sanitation. You sleep on cardboard or plywood and you have to pay P10 to use the toilet. Food is disgusting so those with family and funds cook their own brought in from outside.
Imagine losing an eye to untreated diabetes while being held on remand? Imagine having to send your kids off to stay with a relative of your wife who believes you have to be guilty because you are in jail! No presumption of innocence in this country and not much due process either.
When your case is heard the complainants fail to show… every time over 18 months yet the case is still not thrown out of court! Is it because of connections between the authorities? Some misguided idea if a Kano is involved it has to be a conviction? Do they need convictions at any cost to keep the foreign aid?
Meanwhile, there is no excuse for the disgusting, primitive conditions the prisoners are held in. The state has a duty of care to them while they are being held. Apparently this is a non-bailable offense. Employees of the business owners were held for months but finally released on bail and the expat wasn’t an owner, just an employee. Meanwhile the parents suffer every time they have to send some cash to help their son because most of it is stolen or misused. The attorney just keeps asking for more money.
The only excuse for the poor conditions is the culture of the Philippines. Unless you are one of the ruling elite, you are nobody. Justice is only for those who can pay, this is the Third World, remember. There are decent, honest and hard working government officials trying to fight the corruption and do what they can, but they are outnumbered and outgunned.
If you are thinking of retiring to the Philippines… think again. This can happen to anyone. trumped up charges are a common occurrence to extort money from foreigners and locals. The blog owners brother in law was falsely accused of raping a 13 year old. A non-bailable and capital offence. He fled because if he had gone to jail he would still be rotting there. There were ten witnesses who swore he never left their sight the entire time the alleged crime took place. The witnesses saw the girl wander off with a man and a bottle of rum earlier. She said she scratched her attacker and said where in detail, yet not a single mark was on the BiL’s body. The parents wanted money. They are ignorant, poor and basically trash. The police smelt money because the BiL has two sisters married to Kano’s. However one was an LAPD Sgt and the other a former Military Policeman and both smelt a rat. The ex-LAPD Sgt went there, arranged the witness statements the imbecilic local cops refused to do as they just wanted a payment, and sorted out a lawyer. In the end they had to pay the parents of the ‘victim’ to sign a release, yet they still ask his parents for money regularly. Worse were other neighbours and so called friends who all smelt a chance to make a peso and tried to get money too.
(Editor’s Note: Basically this is true, it did happen and there is sadly more to it that is even worse for the system here)
If you want a vacation in a stinking, poorly run, lousy and disease infested armpit with vile, corrupt officials risking your liberty and safety, then come to the Philippines. Sex is easy to get and cheap, so too the booze. Don’t feel guilty, the local big shots treat the poorer people like their feudal vassals too. It is the Land of Lip Service and it is a sad joke. The saddest thing is telling the truth like this is a crime over there. It hurts their pride so much they react like petty little kids.
The good news is the new President is trying to change this. He is genuinely doing a lot to stop the systemic corruption that is so much a part of Filipino society. The team of public servants he has put in place are fighting hard to make those changes and I have seen written proof they are doing their best. I doubt they will make much of an inroad in this term and if he is re-elected, in the next but hopefully they will do all they can.
The Philippines has too many great people to let it stay such a festering sore on the world. Most are overseas trying to make enough to send home because the rich few rule everything and keep things that way because it suits them. Happens all over the world, it is not just a Filipino thing. If you can get out, you do. If you can’t then you are too busy keeping alive to try and fight the system and the powers that be. Too easy to disappear or die. Or simply have someone make a false accusation against you and you disappear into the jails and court system, forever.
You can either do the sensible thing and sever all ties with the Philippines. Find a chat mate online from another country for instance. Or you can decide to support the efforts of the President and his team. I love the Philippines and the Filipino people, but I will not pretend for a moment it is anything but a basket case of a corrupt sewer like country. I got my family out then went back for a vacation and I doubt we will be back again for many years to come. There are nicer, cleaner, safer and better run tropical countries in SE Asia to visit with better infrastructure and cuisine. There are better places to retire to, to visit and so on. Once you have your Filipina why remain if you can function in your own country? I sincerely hope by the time I am ready to retire, the President and his team have turned the country around and made it worth retiring to.