Halo Halong Pinoy

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A World without Filipino

Imagine a world without Filipinos
Abdullah Al-Maghlooth Al-Watan, almaghlooth@alwatan.com.sa
from arabnews.com

Muhammad Al-Maghrabi became handicapped and shut down his flower and gifts shop
business in Jeddah after his Filipino workers insisted on leaving and returning
home. He says: “When they left, I felt as if I had lost my arms. I was so sad
that I lost my appetite.”

Al-Maghrabi then flew to Manila to look for
two other Filipino workers to replace the ones who had left. Previously, he had
tried workers of different nationalities but they did not impress him. “There is
no comparison between Filipinos and others,” he says. Whenever I see Filipinos
working in the Kingdom, I wonder what our life would be without them.

Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Filipino workers — 1,019,577 —
outside the Philippines. In 2006 alone, the Kingdom recruited more than 223,000
workers from the Philippines and their numbers are still increasing. Filipinos
not only play an important and effective role in the Kingdom, they also perform
different jobs in countries across the world, including working as sailors. They
are known for their professionalism and the quality of their work.

Nobody here can think of a life without Filipinos, who make up around 20
percent of the world’s seafarers. There are 1.2 million Filipino sailors.

So if Filipinos decided one day to stop working or go on strike for any
reason, who would transport oil, food and heavy equipment across the world? We
can only imagine the disaster that would happen.

What makes Filipinos
unique is their ability to speak very good English and the technical training
they receive in the early stages of their education. There are several
specialized training institutes in the Philippines, including those specializing
in engineering and road maintenance. This training background makes them highly
competent in these vital areas.

When speaking about the Philippines, we
should not forget Filipino nurses. They are some 23 percent of the world’s total
number of nurses. The Philippines is home to over 190 accredited nursing
colleges and institutes, from which some 9,000 nurses graduate each year. Many
of them work abroad in countries such as the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Singapore.

Cathy Ann, a 35-year-old
Filipino nurse who has been working in the Kingdom for the last five years and
before that in Singapore, said she does not feel homesick abroad because “I am
surrounded by my compatriots everywhere.” Ann thinks that early training allows
Filipinos to excel in nursing and other vocations. She started learning this
profession at the age of four as her aunt, a nurse, used to take her to hospital
and ask her to watch the work. “She used to kiss me whenever I learned a new
thing. At the age of 11, I could do a lot. I began doing things like measuring
my grandfather’s blood pressure and giving my mother her insulin injections,”
she said.

This type of early education system is lacking in the Kingdom.
Many of our children reach the university stage without learning anything except

The Philippines, which you can barely see on the map, is a very
effective country thanks to its people. It has the ability to influence the
entire world economy.

We should pay respect to Filipino workers, not
only by employing them but also by learning from their valuable experiences.

We should learn and educate our children on how to operate and maintain
ships and oil tankers, as well as planning and nursing and how to achieve
perfection in our work. This is a must so that we do not become like Muhammad
Al-Maghrabi who lost his interest and appetite when Filipino workers left his
flower shop.

We have to remember that we are very much dependent on the
Filipinos around us. We could die a slow death if they chose to leave us.

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