Filipino ‘heroics’ in the Costa Concordia disaster in Italy lauded

Almost on cue, Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was quick to praise the Filipino crewmen of the ill-fated Costa Concordia which capsized off the Tuscan coast of Italy on the 13th of January while carrying more than 4,000 passengers.

Soon after the incident, President Aquino said, “You are men and women of courage, heroism and dedication. We commend you for showing to the world the best traits of the Filipino seafarers.”

The Philippine embassy in Italy also reportedly received “positive feedback” on the “Filipino crew’s brave acts manifesting competence, professionalism and humanity, even under extreme pressure”. Not to be outdone, the Catholic Church through the efforts of “Filipino priests at a local church in Rome” made their mark on the back of the tragedy by offering a “Thanksgiving Mass” attended, of course, by Philippine Ambassador to Italy Virgilio Reyes Jr who, by the way, also “personally assisted the Filipino crewmembers when they boarded their flight home”.

As of a 23rd January report, 13 of the Costa Concordia passengers are confirmed dead and 24 remain missing.

The Philippines’ prowess as a seafaring people, however, is not as admirable as we are made to believe by the media, the Church, and the Depart of Foreign Affairs. The country is a consistent host to some of the worst civilian maritime disasters in modern human history. From 1987 through to 2008, for example, a single Filipino shipping company — Sulpicio Lines Inc (SLI) — was a common denominator underlying the preventable deaths of at least 10,000 people at sea. The causes of these disasters have remained fundamentally the same over the 20-year run of Philippine sea disasters that involve not just SLI. In fact, they follow a template

Ill-maintained passenger ship oversold and overbooked with only half of its passengers recorded on ship manifest cleared for departure by corrupt Philippine Ports Authority and Philippine Coast Guard officials caught in open water as typhoon strikes”¦

And while, at present, an entire society is transfixed upon the media-hyped impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona the allegations of whose crimes present a monumental challenge to substantiate even for the combined resources of a mob encompassing 188 Filipino congressmen and a cabal of both “online” and traditional “journalists”, the direct links to obvious negligence of tragedies that kill tens of thousands of ordinary Filipinos remain an obscurity at best.

Indeed, look no further than the way the media sensation being created around the Corona impeachment distracts Filipinos from the rot of a lack of results around economic progress under the Aquino government, or how the promotions gimmickry of the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign whitewashes the wasteland that has become of the Philippine landscape after decades of abuse. These are no different to how the holding up of the “heroism” of Filipino crewmen who were, for the most part, simply doing their job masks a fundamental lack of basic senses of courtesy, civic duty, and personal accountability in a nation scrounging for every morsel of substance to prop up their vacuous sense of “national pride”.

Perhaps the showbiz approach to building a country will get us somewhere in the way cheerleaders pump up a stadium of fans. But when the whooping and high-fives die down, there is still the small matter of reality to face and deal with.

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18 Comments on “Filipino ‘heroics’ in the Costa Concordia disaster in Italy lauded”

  1. life is a journey.

    life is short.

    with sulpicio lines, your journey will be short.

    Sulpicio Lines – Proud To Be Pinoy!

  2. Tlgang tama ang Pilipino kay Tito Noy, pinupuri ang mga bagong bayani ng ating bansa, ang mga OFW. D tulad ng iba dyan, napaganda nya daw ang ekonomiya pero ang totoo, OFW pa rin ang nagpanatili ng ekonomya ng bansa. Hindi na tatalab ang panloloko nya sa taumbayan.

    1. So, mag OFW na lang ba tayong lahat at wag na pansinin ang mga dapat gawin sa loob ng ating bansa dahil OFW lang ang bubuhay sa atin?

      Hmm… junk food meals again?

      1. to everyone else who may read my comment:

        I am not bashing what OFW’s do, just how it is being presented that OFW are the lifeblood of our nation and that we should stick to it as our guns? C’mon, that is just wrong. Because it just focuses on having manpower (be it blue/white collar jobs/tradesmen) to leave this country because the country is not able to provide them opportunities as it the government is not going to pave the way for it? That would be just sad!

        1. agree on that one bro…been there myself…ever wondered how OFW’s help our country when they do not pay taxes? over 20 years i was an OFW and not a single cent went to the govt coffers…i was tax free all that time…always did send dollars home but not all the time through the banking system (where, as far as i understand the dollars goes to the central bank reserve) but sometime had to send the dollars through other ways which means it does not get accounted for (probably went to the Binondo Central Bank)…but still you are absolutely right, i never cared for the bagong bayani tag…did not do it for the country…did it for my family and myself…no opportunities for nurses except call center job…geez

        2. Its true that OFWs’ are the lifeblood of the Philippine economy. Their 18-20 billion dollar annual remittances is about five percent of GNP and this amount has 5-10 times multiplier effect and acceleration of money.

          Most domestic businesses are geared towards them: shopping malls, real estate developments, banks and remittance centers, etc.

          Without the foreign exchange remittances from abroad, the 1987 Asian Financial Crisis and the 2008 Global Financial Meltdown would have successively tanked the Philippine economy.

          The ‘Bagong Bayani’ tag could be looked upon as successive governments’ collective guilt (for not providing enough jobs in the country) and collective shame (for the fact Filipinos have to leave their country of birth).

        3. @Phil Manila

          I would agree that with these OFW remittances, it allows for a consumerist economy. Where one expects the other to continuously spend in order to “keep the ball rolling”. It gives those OFW families to have spending power.

          However, I must also point out as you did, that the continuous “marketability/salability” of the OFW as a greener pasture has had its downside/repercussions.

          The ability we, as a country, had in terms of potential in the call center industry was (I believe) a stop gap measure for job creation. It was an immediate remedy (and at least allowed for more local jobs while the other jobs were still on the way).

          However, I am still wondering, why has not our government focused on developing on agriculture of the country? Why has the focus shifted to land conversion for property development? (Again an entirely different but still relevant issue)

          There is no skills/technological development for the regular “joe” farmer to acquire the modernization he needs to keep up. Have you guys seen TEDTalk?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GEMkvT0DEk&feature=plcp&context=C3bae899UDOEgsToPDskIEuCk-zyXhAH_Wpq4c1aYl

          This was a talk that gave an overview on how to make you own DIY Equipment. These could be built at a fraction of the cost (instead of buying one).

          The potential it could give to our local farmers would give them increased productivity and at least open them to growing their business.

          Cheers!

        4. Its bcoz Gloria Magnanakaw Arroyo keeps appointing lawYers in d agriculture sect to help her do corruption in government. Gnyan ang laki ng sungay nya.

        5. @vincenzo

          How about her predecessors? How about PNOY? What is the plan for agriculture? I sure as hell don’t know?

          Sisi ka lang ng sisi, ang tanung, si PNOY anu ginawa?

          Hulaan ko ang sagot mo.. “Gagawin niya ang dapat niyang gawin…” Yun lang diba? Walang konkretong plano. Ibig sabihin ganun din. Tsk tsk tsk.. Stop with the MSG. Makakatulong sa pagiisip mo, ok?

        6. @Joshua R

          ..but sometime had to send the dollars through other ways which means it does not get accounted for..

          As long as you sent it through a remittance facility (ie Western Union) even if its not a traditional banking system, it will be accounted because all foreign transactions are

          pegged in greenback and it translates to basically the country’s dollar income being coming from outside and not out of selling goods. Same here, I don’t care about the

          Bagong Bayani tag but I am proud to be a contributor to the country’s dollar economy (remittances account to ~12-13% GDP) . Free tax is just a bonus and I wouldn’t

          mind if the government will impose income tax to overseas workers. They do that in other countries like US & Canada. But with regards to the bankability of our foreign

          workers, here is a couple of observation out of my experience:
          1) Depleting opportunities – host countries have the tendency to localize job-sourcing by developing the local labor force on-the-fly. At a turnaround of let’s say 20 years, the

          local labor force – with the help of the imported ones – develops self-sufficiency which signals the cut on foreign worker requirements. This is true for the middle east countries

          like Saudi Arabia , Bahrain and some African countries.
          2) Growing competition – no doubt that Filipinos in the past have dominated the imported labor market. But we seemed to have reached now the platue on the trend

          such that recently, jobs used to be given to Filipinos were instead offered to cheaper and yet equally competent Asian brothers like Burmese(Myanmar),Vietnamese, &

          Thailand. The only remaining edge for Pinoys is the language advantage but recently here in Singapore labor sector, there was a proposal to remove the English

          speaking requirement for maids and instead focus on the individual’s adaptability.This endangers the Pinay maids losing job to cheaper Indonesians and

          Bangladeshis. Lastly about the platue, after it, there is no other way but down. 🙁
          Item #2 synergizes with #1 which further reduces the opportunities outside the country. With the manufacturing giant like China gobbling all the consumer markets, it iwill soon

          be difficult for the Philippines to compete in this area because of the increasing cost of our labor. I think the agricultural sector is one area wherein we can have stronger

          foothold just like Vietnam & Thailand (where substantial percentage our rice come from). But this of course require us to go back to the basics of ploughing the filed..

  3. The Filipino crewmen were only doing their job right. They should be praised for doing so. But that doesn’t really make them heroes.

    And the point raised by Ahehe is right… when will the Filipinos bring home their good behavior abroad? As long as its in the Philippines, we are free to be assholes?

    1. @ChinoF

      same question i’ve been asking..what’s the difference between a filipino in the philippines and abroad? abroad we are the epitome of law-abiding citizens but once we step back on philippine soil, we change to some kind of berserker and disobey as many laws as we can…yes, bring home that discipline that you show abroad…bring it home to the philippines and maybe it will help our country to be better

  4. Noynoy Aquino should had said: ” You are men of courage and dedication. However, I was not, because like the Captain . I was unavailable to be contacted, in the Luneta Hostage crissis.”
    Nakita siguro ang ginawa ni Noynoy Aquino ng Captain of the ship…kaya tinularan lang niya…abandoning the ship and crew to save his life…

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