The now infamous pronouncement coming from a certain Filipino Catholic bishop that overpopulation is good for Filipinos and the world comes at an interesting time when reports of how some Filipinos working overseas as nurses and caregivers have gone bad.
Bishop Gilbert Garcera of the Diocese of Daet, the capital of Camarines Norte, believes overpopulation has been advantageous to the Philippines and to the world because it has increased the number of overseas workers and migrants who could send remittances back home while taking care of ageing people abroad and spreading the Christian faith.
Unfortunately, spreading the Christian faith seems to be not part of Filipino-born nurse Blaze Binder who reportedly spent her leisure time taking photos of herself next to dead or dying pensioners in the Swiss aged care facility she works in, posting these on her Facebook page then asking her followers to guess if that pensioner was dead or alive. Ms Binder also moonlights as a dominatrix and also advertises her “services” on Facebook.
Then there is the report of Filipino nurses caught on video molesting bedridden patient in the United States. The video also allegedly showed the two of them “other sexual acts with each other while touching the bed-ridden victim.”
So much for that Christian mission of taking care of the world’s ageing people Bishop Garcera envisioned as God’s call to the Filipino people.
Quite unfortunate that a handful of bad apples would taint that noble sector of Philippine society that takes up the nursing profession for the purpose of seeking employment overseas to contribute to the Philippines’ flaccid economy. But then, there is something to be said about the notion of seeing nursing as a ticket to overseas fortunes.
Nursing, after all, is a calling. It is not the easiest nor the most glamorous of professions. Yet it is rewarding work for those to whom being a nurse is regarded as a personal vocation.
The trouble with the way the nursing profession is regarded in the Philippines is that it is seen by many Filipinos more as a stepping stone to a financially rewarding job (by their standards) overseas. As for the rewards to the soul or to a sense of non-financial personal fulfillment that real nurses seek, it is likely that the proportion of Filipino nurses who harbour that ethic is shrinking by the year as the fortune seekers in that profession (those who become nurses for the wrong reasons) utterly swamp the dwindling number of those who enter the profession seeking their vocation.
This is a disturbing trend. As the citizens of affluent societies age, demand for aged care and nursing services will increase. But with a shortage of local talent filling those roles already looming, these societies will increasingly rely on the Third World for such professionals many of whom will be in it mainly for the money.
Hopefully, governments of affluent countries will recognise the risks posed by foreign Third World nurses on its citizens and step up efforts to boost domestic capacity for producing this much-needed skill within their respective populations. Australia, for one, in its national training plan recognises the coming crisis arising from the serious shortage in healthcare professionals highlighted in government forecasts.
Australian Nurses Federation federal secretary Lee Thomas said the forecasts were extremely concerning.
“The federal government must find solutions to the growing demand for nurses by investing in training for new nurses,” Ms Thomas said.
HWA was set up by the Council of Australian Governments to manage planning and reforms to the health workforce.
The United Kingdom which is also a big employer of foreign nurses is taking action to curb its dependence on foreign talent.
[…] the Royal College of Nursing’s South West Regional Director Jeannette Martin said: “Effective long-term workforce planning now is essential to ensure that the UK has the right level of nursing staff without having to recruit from overseas.”
But Bishop Garcera’s proposal that the Philippines step up to its duty as the caregiver to the world’s aged by embracing overpopulation will likely infest humanity with impoverished nurses desperate for a shot at the Filipino dream of overseas employment. “We should stop looking at poor people as a problem,” says Garcera who believes that the impoverishment of the Philippines is part of God’s “plan” for Filipinos to “take care of other nationalities by inducing migration and working abroad.”
[Photo courtesy Mail Online UK.]
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