Sunday, July 22, 2007

RP Consul: My fellow Pinoys, shut up and take it like a bitch

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read this story about RP Consul General Wilfredo Maximo telling the Filipino community not to participate in a boycott of Juan Guerrero's businesses.

Maybe I'm oversimplifying the problem, but let's see, if you are a foreign worker you can't vote, you could lose your job and have to go home at any time, and nobody on the Hill has your interests in mind. EVER.

Considering the status of most overseas workers, a boycott seems like a pretty good way to get your message across. It says, "Hey, Juan, go ahead and screw us...because we're going to screw you right back."

The only people to be hurt by this boycott are Guerrero and his employees. There will be no net loss of jobs, because unlike the boycott of Jollibee, there are plenty of other businesses that can perform the services offered by Guerrero. He does not hold a Monopoly on baking bread, arranging travel plans, or sending money to the Philippines.

I find it appalling that the so called leaders of the Filipino community aren't willing to stick out their necks for the people that they are supposed to be representing. Not only that, Maximo took it a step further and accused the people fighting for a living wage of blackmail.

I don't want to be accused of misquoting him, so here is what he said:
"I believe that a thoughtful and healthy debate on the issue is the way forward. Pressure tactics like boycotts through text message campaigns are a form of blackmail as it is an attempt to impose one's views on others under threat of drastic action”
Pardon my French, but are you fucking kidding me? That somebody would dare call a boycott a "pressure tactic" and "a form of blackmail" is sickening.


It is also sickening that anyone would ever consider legislatively forcing people to stay in the CNMI for five years after receiving their non immigrant visa. That smacks of indentured servitude.

...and indentured servitude is bad.

How can these guys seriously claim that the abuses happened only in the past and that the impending Federal Takeover is rooted in vengeance when the minute overseas workers try to speak up, using a time tested method of non-violent protest, they get shouted down and accused of blackmail? Is it really reform if we are replacing one loop hole filled system with a system of legislated indentured servitude? And is it really reform, when instead of actually trying to solve the problems facing the CNMI, we are now paying $30,000+ per month to lobbyists and propagandists?

I'm waiting for your answer.


dengre said...

On point

Like the Montgomery Bus Boycott, withholding dollars from the businesses that are oppressing you is always a good tactic.

The same type of stories one reads about this "text message" boycott, one could read in the papers of the American South during the years of segregation.

The louder the old guard screams, the more effective the tactic must be and hence the reason to quote folks like the RP Consul who only care about the money being sent to the home country.

Of course the real leaders of the workers are never quoted in the papers.

Nice post.

Anonymous [#006] said...

In the 1960s, were there any African-American employees of the boycotted bus company and diners? And if so, would they lose their jobs and be deported?

Here, the longstanding Filipino employees of Juan Pan's companies will be the first victims of the boycott.

The consul is evidently concerned about those workers, but the starry-eyed green-card seekers are apparently much less concerned about their kababayan.

If the idea to grant an unbargained-for benefit of "habitual residence" to those workers who have contributed so greatly to our local society and infrastructure is such a splendid idea, it should stand on its own merit rather than on economic coercion -- the same thing the "Pirates of Saipan" are accused of doing.

Do two wrongs make a right when it's for a good end? (!) Or perhaps the just thing to do is not so clear as a prudential matter after all.

By the way, dengre, one can live ON Saipan, but one would live IN the CNMI. You live on an island, not on a commonwealth. Also, that woman mentioned in your blog who's lived in the CNMI 26 years whose son is a U.S. citizen Marine can have him petition her for a green card as soon as he turns 21.

In fact, even without any federalization at all, most of the U.S. citizen children will be able to petition their contract worker parents in a decade or so as they come of age.

Alien spouses of FAS citizens aren't allowed in the rest of the U.S. either unless they've been naturalized as FAS citizens and actually resided in the FAS for five years afterward. Compact § 141(a)(3). Why "fix" this only for the CNMI but not the rest of the country?!

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

You are right. They weren't deported.

They were lynched.

Envelop Ideas said...

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."
Mohandas Gandhi

Unfortunately the RP Consul is on the wrong side of history!!

Anonymous said...

He is a disgrace and a traitor to his people. Like many fatcats over there, he exploits his own people.

Saipan Writer said...

#006. A boycott isn't wrong. It isn't one of "two wrongs" that don't make a right.

There's nothing inherently immoral about taking your money and your business to companies that act morally, to companies by owners that act morally. In fact, it would be wrong to do otherwise.

Juan Pan has made money from the aliens he's employed. He's not providing them jobs for their benefit, but for his own. Same with the nurse business he had, where the hospsital paid him more than it paid the nurses doing the work there. And now arguing that no one should boycott his business because it will hurt the poor employees? The employees are already hurt, and Juan Pan wants to keep them hurting, is arguing in D.C. that they should be hurting. That's why he's the target of the boycott.

It's in his personal and financial interests to keep alien labor cheap, and without rights. And he's arguing for that as a leader of the community, as a man who has done good, who has been active in the campaign to raise money for the Red Cross. He needs to hear the truth, and feel the boycott, because he is a basically good man who has forgotten his beliefs about our shared humanity with all people, and gotten mixed up by his business practices.

It's especially important to call him on this point. And to boycott his businesses. (Too bad my own joining of it won't make any difference. I almost never buy Herman's products.)

Jeff said...

Well said and dead on, Jane!

Anonymous [#006] said...

Saipan Writer, you are a basically good woman who has forgotten her beliefs about our shared humanity with all people -- most importantly right now including Juan Pan's current employees, and gotten mixed up by your social and political views.

Expendable employees? Tough luck!

Shame, shame.

bradinthesand said...

sheesh, i thought you knew your stuff to, ne. a boycott only effects half of the employees. to be truly effective you have to include a girlcott.

Anonymous [#006] said...

See Jayvee L. Vallejera, "Boycott schmoycott," Saipan Tribune, Friday, July 27, 2007. He says it much better than I can. In a small community like Saipan, this is a silly, counter-productive idea. No man is an island.

Anonymous said...

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition on Humankind "the human race" Boycott "[Charles C. Boycott 1897 England agent in Ireland who was ostracized for refusing to reduce rents.]: to refrain from having any dealings with."

If we do it to one individual, why not do it to Uncle Sam as well. All those years of abuse that remains to be heal with all the damages done through WAR. Think about that, then you could consider yourself as humankind.