The hypocrisy in the way Filipinos ‘welcome’ the Rohingya boat people

I cringed when I read Patricia Evangelista’s The Rohingya and the port of last resort, a piece that reeks of the sort of perverted Pinoy Pride we once again put up with that all-too-familiar uniquely-Pinoy brand of pomposity.

According to Evangelista…

We know what we are. We are the port of last resort, and have little to offer beyond a separate peace. Yet I write this with pride, in the hope that there will always be a cluster of islands southwest of the Pacific, where no ship in need is called unwanted.


What a laugh. Evangelista is referring to a people whose most powerful and influential live in communities with perimeters fortified by 10-foot high walls and its interiors patrolled by uniformed private armies far better trained and equipped than the police. Funny then that we celebrate with our renowned misguided pride the way we now supposedly “welcome” the Rohingya boat people — even as the elite among us treat their own compatriots like unwanted aliens within their own country of birth.

Out beyond our borders, perhaps, in this instance at least, “no ship in need is called unwanted”. But try to enter the gates of the tony residential enclaves that sprawl all over our cities’ prime lands and security procedure will assure that you will be presumed unwanted first before you are grudgingly allowed passage after you are “cleared”.

It seems Filipinos are at their best when in the game of building outward personas that are astoundingly inconsistent with their characters on the inside. Indeed, this timely tweet comes to mind…

“The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”

That is solid advise to every Filipino who believes that welcoming a bunch of boat people will change the truth about the country they had failed to build.

If only Filipinos and the society they comprise actually are what they pretend to be — a modern democratic and secular people. Unfortunately you cannot put all those words in the same sentence as “Filipino” without either rolling your eyes to the heavens or breaking out in a wry laugh.

The plight of the Rohingya boat people is, indeed, a tragedy. But so is the plight of the millions of Filipino poor that their fellow Filipinos are in better positions to help, but don’t.


Post Author: benign0

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116 Comments on "The hypocrisy in the way Filipinos ‘welcome’ the Rohingya boat people"

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Great. Glad you wrote this. Saw that piece too and immediately got this funny feeling about its hypocrisy which highlights the dichotomy in the lives of Pinoys as a people and as a nation, except that that I could not put coherent words to it. You just did it perfectly.


Love and charity has to have an order; they cannot be chaotic, otherwise… well, it shows hypocrisy. It should be like a ripple, like concentric circles starting from the center; you cannot give what you do not have in the first place.

But having said that, let us still help the Rohingyas.


I already held the belief that we cannot accept them due to realistic reasons – how can we accept refugees if we cannot even fix our own economy; what the yellow-government said is only to show-face to the international community.

In other words, pa-pogi lang ang ginagawa nila ABNoy.


Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.


Hypocritical humility is the highest form of lying. Honest arrogance is the lowest form self-promotion.


I think you missed the point that it is our moral obligation to help these people regardless of our state of poverty. it is what makes us human to show compassion. you speak openly yet hide behind your computer. that is hypocrisy and cowardliness. does showing apathy to these people improve our way of life?


We will soon become “boat people”, also…Gated communities are everywhere. The rich are afraid of the poor, that are too many…

I don’t think the article was hypocritical. I don’t think the writer tried to hide or dissolution anyone into thinking we are a perfect society. The writer even wrote about what’s wrong with our country, the government and society. What the article was saying is that in times when we could have turned the other cheek due to the astounding reality that you’ve mentioned here and other factors, we went the other way around. The article is trying to celebrate what we are capable of doing and to let other Filipinos know, that we can do this. That we are… Read more »

After 24 hours in Manila they will want to go straight back out to sea.

Robert Haighton
Dear guys, this is really the biggest problem on earth today, migration. In Europe we are dealing with “bootvluchtelingen” (Dutch) (English: rafters, boat people, boat refugees) coming from Lybia, Syria and other African countries. They pay a huge amount of money to human traffickers who puts them in lousy boats leaving Zuwara (Lybia) and entering Europe in the small island of Lampedusa (Italy) while crossing the Mediterranean Sea. While crossing that sea many boat people drown and hence die. Those boat people dont have any ID with them and they come to Europe for either fleeing their country (civil war,… Read more »

Dude, can’t you just be appreciative of the fact that at this time, our nation did the right thing?

It’s just so sad that in this country, if you do a bad thing, you are condemned…do nothing, you are criticized…do a good thing, you are judged as hypocrite…Man, that is just negativity at its peak.

If I were one of the Rohingya, I’d be praying that the person I’d meet once I touch shore was more like the commenter, mark. Try, if you can, to put yourself in one of those boat people’s shoes. Which of the above commenters would you choose to meet you when your boat finally reaches land? True that there are many political, economic and social effects arising from this one decision to “help.” So let’s deal with them. Nobody is saying it’s going to be easy. Does this mean we, Filipinos, prefer to help foreigners rather than our own suffering… Read more »

Maybe we need to see the positive light of this matter rather than always seeing negativity. It is through this that we start to drown in our own darkness. We always see others dirt but we never see our own. We may have little to offer but we have compassion to give. Even dogs are fed when hungry… Or some just dont have that heart. Oh how pity are those that dont have a heart spare… How can one face the Creator without putting one self to shame…


Oh yeah, Patricia Evangelista of Blonde and Blue Eyes. Pfft. I stopped reading anything she wrote after reading that classic.


And don’t forget the government pledged to welcome only 3,000 Rohingya migrants. What happens to the rest of them?

Our government may help them but they can’t stay. At most the government can do is give them their most basic needs and send them back to their country and ask human rights organizations to assist them. Even if they leave their country because it’s dangerous or because they are unwanted, their country is still the best place for them. It is not the other people who would make it the best place for them though. They have to work hard to have a place in their country, as free people, safe and not oppressed. The best way is still… Read more »
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after reading this up to the last comment i must congratulate myself for staying sane. Indeed i just survived a whirlwind of opinions. LOL

Alvin Amoguis

BenignO you know what you are, an alimango, a cancer to the society.

Quality around the world is no longer measured by percentage of defect/reject to total output. It has moved a long time ago from ppm (parts per million) to zero defect, which is now the standard. 100% efficiency is now the name of the game, or you are immediately out of business in this shrunken and very competitive world. This requires a different set of paradigm, a complete change of mentality from what “seems to work before”. From that point of view, I am still astonished at how a good many still see this site as being negative, and not a… Read more »