Are Filipinos really Oppressed?

While ruminating on some other facets of Philippine dysfunction, I observe that Filipinos claim that they are an “oppressed” people.

The poor of the country for example say that they are oppressed by the rich. Some liberal or anti-Catholic or anti-religious groups would point to Carlos Celdran’s case as showing that they are being oppressed by the Catholic Church. There are those saying that China, Malaysia, and other countries (including the Illuminati and other supposed secret world agendas) are oppressing the Filipinos. Soon, it will turn out that everyone says they’re oppressed by everyone else in the Philippines.

Thing is, are Filipinos really oppressed?

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I don’t think so.

I think Filipinos are imagining themselves as oppressed in order to get special treatment.

One of the funniest incidences of “oppression” is when a Filipino in Australia wanted a local woman to take down her car’s plate. The plate had the name “Kiki,” which was the local woman’s nickname. The Filipino complained about being “offended” by the name, because in Tagalog language, it means the women’s genitals. However, the complaint was denied (rightly, in my view), and even the local Filipino community discouraged the complainer. Needless to say, this was an out-of-place brow-raising by someone not in their element (In Tagalog, umaasta na wala sa lugar). Well, the Filipino in this scenario may not think of themselves as oppressed, but some might. Sorry, if you’re offended by a local being themselves in a peaceful manner, it’s not oppression at all. It’s more like opportunism.
In another blog article, I wrote that Pinoy Pride initiatives rise out of the imaginary notion that Filipinos are under attack. But way I see it, they are just attacking themselves. Filipinos are the ones declaring themselves inferior, and then imagine someone else saying it, like a foreigner. Based on this schizophrenic fear of a delusional enemy, they embark on Filipino Pride programs to try and push up their image. But these programs may involve covering up or denying the mistakes of the Filipinos. Thus, they actually end up pulling themselves down further.

Sometimes, even the supposedly oppressed themselves become the oppressor. A Filipino nurse, Jonathan Aquino, was caught slapping an elderly Alzheimer’s patient in the US, and was promptly jailed for it. Now if this is your idea of an “oppressed” person, then you probably have a delusionary mental illness.

I recall being told in grade school about Filipinos being banned from a certain shop in Hong Kong. “Filipinos not allowed.” Surely, some will raise hell over this, calling it “racism” or “oppression.” But my teacher explained that most of those caught stealing from the shop were Filipinos! Thus, what will the shop owner conclude? That Filipinos are mostly thieves? Even if that is not the shop owner’s thought, he will just avoid the risk by banning Filipinos altogether.

Is this being oppressed or stupidity?

We have women’s groups like Gabriela in the party list slots in Congress upon the impression women are marginalized. I disagree. If women are marginalized, we would not have had two female presidents in this country. We also have a lot of female businessmen and leaders in the country. I heard that business and work opportunities for women in the Philippines are better these days. So how could they claim to be oppressed?

I agree with fellow blogger Paul Farol when he claims that the poor are no longer being marginalized. Instead, it is the middle class that is being marginalized, thanks to laws that take the hard-earned money of the middle class and give it to the lazy among the poor who disdain work and seek dole-outs. This can be seen in the policies of the RH Law and CCT, and more. Thus, the dysfunction of Philippine laziness is compounded rather than solved. Add to that the poor money-handling habits of Filipinos, whether here on home soil, or abroad.

Sometimes it pays to distinguish between claiming to be marginalized and asking for special favors. But perhaps the “marginalized” themselves are unable to know the difference — or pretend to not know.

Perhaps these days, with a democratic system being used in the country, we would expect Filipinos would apply it properly and take the right steps to bring themselves out of hardship. But, no. Filipinos are still in hardship… as if they embrace it. Of course, there is the natural hardship life brings. But Filipinos are actually inviting and keeping hardship on themselves with the choices they make.

Perhaps Filipinos are saying that they are oppressed in order to draw pity, and thus, waiting for someone to give them dole outs for it. This is the flaw called Sense of Entitlement, something that columnist Cito Beltran hammered to bits eloquently in his article titled Ours is not a Beautiful Mind. Indeed, the Filipino mind is not beautiful, because it is dominated by pride, envy, sense of entitlement and other terrible flaws that may very well be the true causes of our national ails.

I do notice in other countries is that some people who were historically oppressed still insist that they are oppressed. But the thing is, despite some remnants of discriminating thinking still present, it is accepted that they have better opportunities in recent times, so they should play their cards right. And if they don’t, they will only become like their oppressors. For example, in South Africa, Apartheid ended in 1991 and celebrated oppositionist Nelson Mandela became leader for a time, but it turned out that his government was riddled with corruption too.

But this is the Philippines. We have our own class of bigotry, which is called KSP.

Filipinos should drop the idea that they’re oppressed by others in the world. They’re not. They’re oppressing themselves with bad values, bad tradition, laziness, lack of thinking, sense of entitlement and other deadly faults. Thus, the country remains dysfunctional, as Dick Gordon described, and we won’t get out of being dysfunctional unless we learn to accept our own faults and work to improve ourselves.

48 Replies to “Are Filipinos really Oppressed?”

  1. Am I oppressing Filipinos if I agree entirely with this article?

    Come to think of it, I cannot own property, cannot own my own business, cannot acquire citizenship… is this to stop me oppressing the Filipinos or am I being oppressed? 😉

        1. True — I’ll admit the requirements can be viewed as unnecessarily burdensome. You have to really, really, reeeally want to be Filipino to go through this.

        2. Under Section of 4 of the Revised Naturalization Law, the following persons cannot qualify for Philippine citizenship:

          “Persons… who have not evinced a sincere desire to learn and embrace the customs, traditions, and ideals of the Filipinos;”

          Huh? There are weird requirements in our laws. Aside from the Penal Code, Civil, Code, Family Code and Labor code… damn EVERY law in this country needs to be changed.

      1. Maybe the philosophy of some Filipinos is, oppress first before they oppress you. Sort of a preemptive strike. But in Filipino hands, there’s no combat intelligence (i.e. proof of plans to oppress them). They just like to win even if there’s no battle happening.

        1. It isn’t a preemptive strike. It’s supposed to be a preventive safeguard. Sort of like stacking the deck in your favor 😉

          The law forbidding foreign ownership and the related legislation is another ill-conceived attempt at ensuring that Filipinos ARE NOT OPPRESSED. The roundabout Pinoy logic posits that foreigners should not even be given the opportunity to benefit from what is perceived to be the patrimony of the Philippines before Filipinos (who are entitled to it) get a chance to do the exploiting. Hence the onerous nature of the legislation that we now recognize prevents the entrance of economic opportunities and investment capital.

          Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

        2. Putting it bluntly — its CHEATING. You’re fixing the game against your opponent before even inviting them to play. And you wonder why the players you invited cry foul :-\

        3. @ Johnny Saint – agreed!

          In a fine example of the Law of Unintended Consequences, the restrictions on foreign ownership in the 1987 Constitution – enacted just as China was repealing such legislation – have the effect of depriving the Philippines economy of the capital that is needed (like most developing economies, the Philippines cannot form the capital it needs fast enough) and thus forcing Filipinos to work overseas…where they can be exploited without the protection of Filipino laws, trades unions, etc., and the value added by their labour does not benefit the Philippines.

    1. Andrew not only do you have no ownership rights to your home, property and business interests this includes me but you’re expected to give alms to the masses at each and every spot or place you do business with, visit at park your car and many Philippino people agree that you should give alms its your duty to help supplement those that get paid so badly after all you’re a greedy foreigner.

      Watched a true drama on TV last year a married Philippine lady with kids was moonligting on her husband doing the online porn and she met an American man and they got real close and then she got cancer and so the American man was paying all her bills in the hospital and taking care of her kids and then the lady is in her final moments of death the American man and her little daughter walk out of the hospital room and the little girl see’s her real father standing there and she goes right to him and the American man is confused and the girls says he’s my father and I love him, OOh boy the whole screwed up true story drama was about this family and not how the American man got screwed out probably all his savings and money and also he ended with no family that’s the real story but no it was about this poor Philippine family, there was no comment about the American after that scene.

  2. What was the name of the female singer who did a duet with Elton John? The song Don’t Go Breaking My Heart went to #1. Pinoys are always victims. They look at any international comedy show and get in law suit mode whenever a pinoy is mentioned. Look up BBC Harry on Paul Sept 26 2008. Pinoys wanted to take down the BBC , get the mayor of London involved. Just sheer hysteria over a comedy show. Pinoy can’t be stoic or secure so might as well be a victim.

    1. Elton John and… another Kiki. haha. Nice one.

      Perhaps Filipinos abroad saw that all they need do is to sue and they’ll get money if they win. Heavens, you don’t even need a real outrage, fake outrage is enough to call for a lawsuit… and money in the end.

    2. …that’s because pinoy don’t really have sense of humour…to appreciate real humour you need to be able to think and to have some empathy. What passes for humour in Philippines is almost your face…childish

  3. Filipinos are oppressed by our own Government. By corrupt public officials. Missing public funds nobody know where it went. There are 1.2 million overseas working abroad why? OFW are being mistreated or even killed overseas and our Government don’t do anything about it. When Foriegner say Domestic Helper it is already picture in their mind a Filipina, eventhough most of them are College Graduate, why? No job in the Philippines. The minimum wage in the Philippines is low compare to other country like Hong Kong or Singapore. Why is the big question.

    1. Hmmm. I had earlier removed that line where I implied that government oppression is yet another misconception. I would say the voters are oppressing themselves by electing the wrong people. Or by not voting when they should.

      1. We’re under system built by Europeans, that’s oppressive enough as it is. With no identity of self before pre-colonization history since Spain holds secret of many of our artifacts. Man whoever you are, you’re a bitch.

    2. dont forget the church who are also opressing the people, togather with the goverment. There are about 10 million working overseas and all their tax money goes to another country while most of their money goes home to pay for relatives who then dont work. The inimum wage here is low due to the greed of the ones higher up who keep all the money, its same everywhere in the world but not at all to this extent.

  4. I’m an Australian with filipina wife. I have learned that while in Philippines I have no right to complain about anything..poor service, being ripped off…even my house being burgled…the pinoid response…”go back where you belong”..”this is not your place”.The police response to a neighour’s house being burgled….”our plate is empty sir”…”why are you here sir”….If any of this crap was applied to pinoid in my country you would hear the howls around the world from aggrieved pinoid. I have moved over the years from liking and sympathy for filipino to a dislike and mistrust…

  5. Thanks for a great article chinof…sometimes I find myself saying “and OA naman” at the way some Filipinos react when they feel their ‘pride’ is being trampled upon. Dante regarded pride as one of the seven deadly sins, and he might as well have had the pinoys (which I feel is still a separate breed from Filipinos) in mind. Geesh, even the recent Vatican conclave did not escape this distorted pinoy pride when I watched some pinoys being “disappointed” when the good cardinal tagle was not elected as pope. Can these pinoys just drop their regionalism and remember that we are all the same under our mother church? I love cardinal tagle but ‘to everything there is a season’ and obviously now is not yet his time. The lead up to the conclave was like watching American idol whenever some fil-am was a contender.

    However, I find myself nodding the most when you mentioned that it is the middle class who is being oppressed and marginalized. I have been saying, and feeling, that for the longest time. And now more than ever. Whenever the gov’t needs to pull up the revenue, they bring out their dog Kim Henares to sniff out more ways to tax the middle class off their hard-earned money. They won’t run after the missing container vans. It’s too much hard work, and the rumored owner was a campaign contributor. The gov’t won’t get it from the lower class for obvious reasons. The middle class have the means to slowly bleed but haven’t the clout of the oligarchs, or the upper 1 percent, and we’re too busy working to attend rallies and even go to the polling booth on Election Day.

    And this slow bleed is causing the middle class to dwindle down to become part of the lower class or the poor, to be more specific. This is reality. I’ve been hearing too many families pulling their kids out of private schools bec they simply can’t afford it anymore. Maybe this is part of bs and his lp minions’ plan to perpetuate themselves in power.

      1. I still entertain some hopes of the middle class expanding; the middle classes represent the best hope for the nation’s future.

  6. Here’s something I forgot to include that’ll ruffle some feathers, but I’ll raise it. I think even gays in the Philippines shouldn’t portray themselves as oppressed. They’re not. Gays become famous celebrities, can be filthy rich, can get well-paying jobs, may generally be thought of by women as more fun to be with than heterosexual males… they also have advantages.

    1. i agree…in fact i really believe that our society has been more embracing of them than other, “more advanced” society. in fact, i have a friend who is an lgbt advocate, and among them, it’s those who choose to hide or remain in the closet (like a certain matinee idol rumoured to be doing so) that they cannot tolerate.

    2. You have let yourself down there, simply because a few token gays (or women) can get good jobs or to power does not mean that they are not still oppressed. It is like saying because the were black slave traders and black celebrities in the 17th century or the first ” slaves” sent to the Americas wee poor whites meant that black people were not oppressed. Look to the facts and figure of the majority of a group before declaiming.

  7. Chinof’s article literally shows the kind of pathetically undisciplined majority of Filipinos are, and becoming even worse.

    “Perhaps Filipinos are saying that they are oppressed in order to draw pity, and thus, waiting for someone to give them dole outs for it.” Chinof hit the bull’s eye on this.

    Every time a Filipino does something, much more related to business, it’s impossible to be complete without any “hidden agenda”, and a wily one.

    I sincerely believe that when the late Marlon Brando made the comment “those wily Filipinos…” he said it based on personal experience. He stayed in the Philippines for quite a while shooting the Apocalypse Now movie.

    Filipinos reacted violently demanding for Mr. Brando to apologize, as habitual to Filipino culture. When criticized they are quick to condemn the concerned person who made the remark, but always refuse to check their conduct and hate to ask themselves: “what’s supposed to be done” to correct their discrepancies.

    There’s a very old adage: “If you are wrong be still the same. Speak the truth and bear the blame”. This is despicable to most Filipinos because they are brought up by their parents with the illusion that they could never be wrong? They are taught by their parents to be irresponsible about their conduct.

    Talking about the Catholic leadership, they statistically claim that “majority” of the population are under their stewardship. Just look at how the Philippines is considered a huge toilet – almost everywhere it smells urine. And look at how people “imprison” themselves in their houses with all the steel grills up to the roof.

    Garbage bins could not even be placed in public places for people to place their garbage because it will be stolen. Which makes the Philippines a huge garbage dump as well.

    What then is the Catholic leadership doing about their people? Mind you, they are good at meddling about government affairs but they can’t even see the worsening values of “majority” of the Filipinos.

    1. Thanks for reminding us about Marlon Brando’s comment. This has happened many times. Foreigners tell us about the “pimple on our face,” but we instead score them for noticing our “pimple.” We have too much pride that we refuse to take criticism. Thus, we remain “Asia’s sick man.”

  8. Let’s have a Kiki :p

    Seriously though, “kiki” is a sound with different meanings in different cultures. It could mean a girl (Australian), a penis(French), a vagina (Filipino), or a sassy party (US), sex (Spanish), or the name one calls for a pet (also French). Kiki is also a feminine given name in Swedish. Heck, there is this phenomenon called Bouba/kiki effect.

  9. This might be a very late comment and most of all a bit out of the context being discussed here. This is not a comment. However, please allow me to share my appeal to those contributing to this forum what we can contribute to the Philippines as a nation.

    I sincerely believe that most, if not all, who are sharing their views here have the capabilities and resources to help in disseminating to their neighbors, associates, friends and employees information that could be of great help.

    My appeal is, if we can help open the eyes of the majority of Filipinos to the reality that whatever minute resources this country have is being just squandered by the political leaders, government officials down to most employees, solely for their personal interests.

    In most developed countries every last month of the year, the eyes of most of their citizens are already focused on their government’s declaration of the following year’s budget.

    Upon declaration of their government’s annual budget most businessmen and even some ordinary citizens make celebrations (literally).

    The budget declaration of the government means new projects of new infrastructures like bridges, roads, schools, hospitals and even government buildings. Or continuous maintenance contracts for government facilities.

    However, since the beginning, in the Philippines culture nobody seems to care about this at all. The saddest thing is that perhaps nobody is even aware of this fact.

    The government is supposed to be the major source of employment for its citizens because of the never ending new development projects on infrastructures and other much needed facilities, and maintenance contracts.

    It’s sad to say that anywhere in the Philippines the malls, sidewalks, parks and whatever favorable/unfavorable place to hangout are full of “just loitering” jobless Filipinos.

    The saddest thing of all is that whatever allocated government annual budget just evaporates with almost NOTHING EVER DONE at all! And elected political leaders spend they country’s like their own and declare their expenditures by submitting their CERTIFICATIONS ONLY WITHOUT ANY SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS!

    Sincerely, this culture in the government MUST BE STOPPED! Who the heck these political leaders think they are? When it comes to telling the truth, they are the devil’s advocate in distorting it.

    My appeal to all of you is to help in disseminating this awareness to most, if not all, of the people you can possibly reach about this fact. Through this it would serve as a wake up call to Filipinos which would hopefully open their eyes and start demanding regarding new tangible infrastructures and projects that the government has correspondingly spent each year’s budget with.

    This might be just like a pebble dropped in the middle of the ocean. But we’re hoping that it would make a ripple effect, that this truth might set Filipinos free.

    Thank you in advance for your great help.

    God bless us all.

  10. “If women are marginalized, we would not have had two female presidents in this country.”

    It is entirely possible for there to be female presidents and for marginalization to still exist. It’s not an either-or proposition. It could also be argued that we had two female presidents despite marginalization that occurs in other sectors in society. Just because you have not experienced it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. To be fair, we do rank highly in the gender equality index.

    And while I do agree with your general sentiment and, being middle class myself, feel frustration due to the high taxes and dislike the sense of entitlement that pervades our nation, it is also unfair for you to entirely dismiss cases of oppression that do exist.

  11. YES! the Filipinos are truly oppressed…self oppressed that is… self imprisonment!… well most of us probably anyway…teaching something that is mind opening takes time…

  12. whoa, whoa, perhaps you yourself do not know the meaning of oppression, from your writing style it’s apparent that your perspective on oppressed philippine society is one that can be found on college history books. my advice, please do your own practical research instead of drawing conclusions from other’s opinions and sources, that means going to pending demolition sites in the metro and interviewing unreasonably evicted residents on what it means to be “oppressed” i’m sure they’ll know more about it than you do. And as for pointing your fingers at women’s rights advocates, please do your research as well, seriously, your basis for women being unmarginalized is having 2 female presidents? i suggest you interview rape/abuse victims, especially those who were raped by foreigners/foreign soldiers, that’s how true journalists do it, otherwise your articles would only be opininated and biased since you seem to base them only on pre-existing research, the way i see it, you’re just ranting/preaching.

    1. of course The vast majority of rapes in the Philippines are by foreigners I suggest you do you research too. Women are oppressed in the Philippines but that is more from Latina culture and the antiquated culture that exists in the Philippines.

  13. Let’s see, how can we not be oppressed? The North East Asian Nations (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) doesn’t even consider us Asians. A Chinese girl explained this to me. Seeing under Western Labels I’m Asian. Japanese came through called us Sub-Human during WWII. United States called us “The Niggers of Asia”. Spaniards came through and colonized and enslaved us for over 300 years. Damages of Colonization everyone wants to be or look paler by bleaching their skin. It’s so cool to say you’re half Spanish, meaning half white. Fuck this article. You know nothing about oppression. If you are White or NE Asian than yes you are capable of racism. NE Asians rule all of Asia.

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