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.


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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.

116 Replies to “The hypocrisy in the way Filipinos ‘welcome’ the Rohingya boat people”

  1. 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.

    1. Thanks. Annoyance with idiotic ideas issued by the Philippines’ so-called “thought leaders” never fails to induce an enhanced clarity in thinking in me.

      1. Frankly, I would much prefer “thought leaders” that celebrate every little success as opposed to those who just bring negativity and don’t deliver results.

        1. Ilda – Uhhh…by making the commitment that we’ll let the boats land and not push them back out to sea?

          ElYebay – In case you haven’t noticed, I already live in Positive Land, thank you very much. 😉

        2. @Gretchen

          I’m sorry but you are so full of yourself. You already consider that as “help”. Give us a break. Without any plan of HOW the gov’t will execute that “help”, it’s simply what they call “lip service”. Try not to exaggerate too much, okay? 😉

      2. what goes around comes around. I would imagine that you were one of those who wlcomed helped from foreign countries when the Philippines was hit by typhoon Yolanda. Each one of those countries’ citizenry could easily question th help being provided as they have their own homeless, unemployed, poverty to contend with. And now you question when it is our time to return the favor? As poor a country as we are, we all have an obligation to help. Who is the hypocrite now?

      3. benignO, you must have a great view from that high horse of yours. Pray tell, what would you have done for that ‘bunch of boat people’?

      4. Eh? I’m full of myself? I’m not attacking anyone, just saying that I’m in a positive place, anyone can be as well if they so choose.

        I’m not exaggerating, just stating facts. There’s a commitment and there is a plan. Probably not the best plan but to me, it is good enough that we said we’ll help.

        If someone comes to you in need and you say you’ll help, do you say, yes, but let me come up with a plan first? The intent is there, and with that you just figure it out if you don’t have a plan. Most plans don’t go according to plan anyway.

        I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to exaggerate at all, I did say “little success”, didn’t I? 🙂

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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?

    1. I think you miss the point that Filipinos can barely help themselves – and in fact aren’t interested in doing do.

      The boat people will be abandoned to their own devices, just as soon as the bragging opportunity is over.

      1. AS i have said in my statement regardless of our state of poverty. my point here Marius is compassion towards others where in the benignO has displayed lack of character by stating what is already obvious. we are a third world nation and poverty is high but that should not keep us from doing what is right . we do live in a just and HUMANE society don’t we? Not everything should be tainted with politics. it is the Philippines as a people doing what other nations should have done. not because of the opportunity to be showcased, but because it is right.
        think about it.

        1. poverty is high BECAUSE Filipinos never do what is right. Again: poverty is the inevitable outcome of immoral acts. I’ve lived there long enough to observe people creating their own poverty, by repeatedly doing things that guarantee they will remain poor.

          Frankly, I suspect the Rohingya don’t know what they’re letting themselves in for.

        2. you say you have lived here long enough? and you suspect? obviously all you have are speculations and misconceptions about Filipinos and the “bunch of boat people” as the author called them.

        3. I agree with Mark – helping them is the right thing to do regardless any argument. It is the humane thing to do.

        4. Of course it’s the right thing to do. Unfortunately, Filipinos are in no position to help them, are they? Will they be taught to speak tagalog, given an education, and set loose to improve the economy?

          Of course they won’t. Like everyone else, they’ll be hamstrung, cheated, lied to, and dumped somewhere in the back of beyond to beg or scratch out a living.

      2. There are enough examples within the Philippines of how Filipinos make it an entire way of life to NOT do what is right. Simple thing as stopping to let a pedestrian cross on a zebra-striped pedestrian lane is already beyond the capability of the average Filipino motorist.

        So if I were you, I’d think again before assumping that “we do live in a just and HUMANE society”. Perhaps in our imagination, yes. But in reality, the facts say otherwise.

        1. with all due respect, you have your opinions and I have mine benignO. maybe you need to get off that chair of yours and experience life outside the comfort of your home. in case you do maybe you need to think twice about what you write, or the way you impart your opinions in your blog. if you hate the way the “average” Filipino acts like you said, maybe you should move to another country where everything is perfect and goes just like the way you want it. we don’t live in a perfect world, everybody knows that, but you can make it better. the only problem is, you need to act, and not just TALK about it. BTW, in case you don’t know, we used to have a refugee camp somewhere in Bataan if I remember right. Vietnamese people used to be taken there. so this isn’t the first time the country did this. and there was no internet that time to glorify the deed. it was simply us giving helping hand.

        2. Hey Mark, this blog is not called “getrealphilippines” for nothing. You say something about getting out of the house and experiencing life, you think these bloggers haven’t done that? How do you think they are able to write this kind of stuff? They have gone out, and they are simply stating facts that are all too obvious. Yes it is everyone’s responsibility to help those in need, but what the author is pointing out is this is all for show. If the government really wanted to help out, they could have started with their own countrymen, then that would be better news to the world. Less poverty, less corruption, a better race. But what did they do instead? “Yup, let’s help some boat people, the international media would love us for that. Never mind the Filipino poor, they never make the headlines anyway.” And that comment you said about moving to another country… Well, that’s the typical Filipino mindset who would rather get out than do something to make things better. Sure, there might be nothing that can be done right now to improve the Philippine situation, but what these bloggers are doing is to open your eyes to see beyond what’s being reported by the media. It’s about time that we stop believing lies the government is pushing on us. It’s time to “get real!”

        3. Wow.. so much of an eye opener. But just because you have all the facts straight doesn’t mean we can do nothing good at all.

        4. @Karen, it’s not about doing nothing good, it’s doing good with no intention of bragging to the world (or other ASEAN countries for this matter) that you did something good. As I said, this was simply for show. Everyday, you see the poor in the streets. What has our government done to uplift the status of their lives? If they really wanted to help, they could have started in their own backyard.

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

  7. 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 that type of nation. That we should be able to help our own. If anything, YOU who wrote this piece, is what’s wrong with Filipinos, you who never see the positive and lurk in the darkness of your sad and desensitized way of thinking. That’s unfortunately, the Pinoy others see, able to spin something positive to a whole new level of negativity.

    1. Don’t you find it bizarre that this “celebration” of “what we are capable of doing” only comes whenever the object of said “celebration” is something the international community is aware of?

      I coined a term for that Pinoy trait: pakitangtaoism.

      There’s a whole world of poverty and suffering happening within the Philippines. Where is this effort to develop the capability to address all that is not noticed by the rest of the world? Where is the celebration of this more obscure but equally pressing domestic concern?

      1. “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”.

        funny how you could reduce them to a “bunch of boat people” like their lives have no value at all.

    2. Did we even end up helping? We didn’t. But so many Filipinos were so quick to pat themselves on the back and proclaim our society better than the rest in the region. That’s just wrong. We shouldn’t judge other countries for their tough stance on human trafficking. It’s a different world we live in nowadays. The refugees wouldn’t have gone on that rickety boat if it weren’t for the human traffickers who promised them a safe passage in the first place. The situation is sad but we have to find a way to stop human trafficking otherwise, this will keep happening.

      For all you know the Philippine gov’t only offered to help because they know the boat was too far from the Philippines and it would have been difficult for us to do so anyway. For all you know when it comes time to actually help them, the Philippine government wouldn’t really know how to help them just like they don’t know how to help the poor Filipinos living in wretched existence in the Philippines.

      1. This is not the first time that our country is helping. Have you guys even read the other article?

        These issues are difficult to address. I used to be very negative about politics but these are tough situations. These days I try to not attack the people in power – they are just as human as any of us, some are trying their best, some have no clue where to start.

        Instead of nitpicking, why don’t we focus on finding solutions or even doing something – anything – to help improve the system? Change is not going to happen overnight. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Maybe we need to change our collective mindset to actually see change happen, or initiate something ourselves. Maybe the problem is us. And the answer lies within us.

        Complaining about the politicians not doing anything? Who put them there in the first place?

        You didn’t vote for them? Then why don’t we try and enlighten others so that they make the right choices at elections, and hence, get politicians that create results?

        I know, it’s easier said than done and if we can’t even put in the effort ourselves, even at the tiniest level, to help drive that change, then all we’re really doing is complaining. And I admit, I myself haven’t taken action so I’m no better.

        As for the refugees, I think you are confusing human trafficking to be synonymous – they are completely different. Put yourself in the refugees’ shoes (or probably lack thereof). Yes, lots of Filipinos are living in poverty but at least we have freedom and we can feel safe in our own homes. This is something we largely take for granted. The refugees (as I understand it) did not have these rights – they had no choice but to leave their homes, as their lives were at stake.

        Yes, we should help our own, but poverty is not something you can solve overnight. Again, these are two entirely different problems. One needs a more complex solution than just providing food and shelter. Didn’t the government help provide food and shelter to Filipinos in times of crisis? Helping the refugees does not mean we are turning our backs on our own people.

        Let’s put it this way: if one night, while you’re helping your poor brother with his career prospects so he can have a better life, and there’s a man at your door, dying of starvation and asking for shelter, what would you do at that moment?

        1. @Gretchen

          Did I say “this is the first time that our country is helping”? No, I didn’t. What gave you that impression? We helped the Vietnamese and the Jews who were displaced by wars in the past. This issue with the Rohingyas, is less about those displaced by war but more of the result of the work of human traffickers who cash in on folks who want to jump the queue on immigration processing.

          You are mistaking me for someone who doesn’t want to help. I don’t have an issue with helping. What I have an issue with are people like you who are so quick to tell the whole world that Filipinos are so kind and generous to the downtrodden. If that were actually true, then none of our compatriots would be eating pagpag. And people like you are so quick to say how proud you are for offering to help compared to other countries who were reluctant. Gimme a break. You are just so desperate to get validation that you cling on to the mistaken belief that Philippine society is “humanitarian” compared to others. Do you have any other evidence to prove that aside from this recent event with the Rohingya refugees? And did we actually end up helping? No. So stop patting yourself on the back. Does the Philippine government even have concrete policy on how they will help? No. It’s just bahala na mentality again at work.

        2. I initially thought against replying but I want to clarify a few things. Not for validation, but to offer a different perspective – which after all, is the purpose of this blog.

          Ok, so it looks like we agree on a few things: that human trafficking should be stopped, that we should help our own impoverished people, as well as provide assistance to displaced people that ask for help.

          In my view, these are all different issues with varying causes and solutions. Sure, they’re related, but they’re not one and the same.

          The issue being addressed here IS with the Rohingyas. Focusing on just human trafficking is akin to berating the smuggler while ignoring the dying man he brought to your door. It’s a different discussion altogether.

          Sure, there are those who try and jump the immigration queue by getting on a boat. Then there are the genuine refugees are so desperate that they think they have better chances of survival by getting on a rickety boat than by staying in their own country.

          There seems to be incorrect assumptions that by agreeing to help, we are adding more dependents and ignoring our own. Patricia’s article states a few times that we have little to offer, that we have our own problems to solve, and that the Rohingyas are likely not intending to stay here anyway, they just need a place to recover before they make their way again.

          To be honest, Patricia’s article didn’t strike me as pompous – I thought it was quite objective and that it addresses both Filipino strengths and weaknesses. In fact, I read the article again and it states that Filipinos are celebrating the fact that we’re not turning the migrants away (as per earlier media reports). Foreign countries and the UN are commending the Philippines on the decision because while everyone knows the government has a lot of faults, in this case, it is doing the right thing. Regardless of whether or not other ASEAN nations did the same, it was the right thing to do. That, in itself, is reason to celebrate, especially when we’re only usually made aware of all the things that are wrong with our country. Then again, as the saying goes – no good deed goes unpunished, which is the reason why we’re having this discussion.

          In the above article, however, I’m still trying to look for any constructive criticism that’s supposed to be “groundbreaking and insightful”, as per this blog’s mission. All I see is the kind of negative thinking or even colonial mentality that doesn’t inspire change, and instead hinders it. It just feels like the sole aim of the above article is to shoot down the Rappler article, without even considering the content. If I missed a different purpose or point, please feel free to enlighten me.


          “Do you have any other evidence to prove that aside from this recent event with the Rohingya refugees?”

          I think you’ve already answered your own question 🙂 :

          Your words: “We helped the Vietnamese and the Jews who were displaced by wars in the past.”

          I’ve actually met one of the Vietnamese refugees in Palawan who afterwards moved on to Australia. Lovely man – and he is very grateful to and thinks highly of our people. Maybe we should start thinking highly of ourselves to realise that if we can make a difference on other people’s lives, we can make a difference in all our lives and drive change.

          Most Filipinos are aware of our faults as Filipinos – we don’t need reminders, although blogs like these are a constant reminder of that. It’s been going for 15 years – and I’m curious – has it helped in your purpose, whatever it may be?

          If not, maybe a better catalyst to improvement is to believe that we can become better, even if it’s a small step such as saying “yes, we’ll help the Rohingyas”.

        3. @Gretchen

          Just read my article about the Rohingya refugees and the reaction of Filipinos like yourself to the issue. Here are some excerpts:

          “The sad saga involving the Rohingya refugees eventually ended with Malaysia and Indonesia accepting them into their shores. Meaning, the Philippines didn’t end up providing the aid they offered after all. But this fact did not stop a lot of Filipinos, including the so-called writer to laud the entire Philippine society and even credit the “happy” ending to Filipinos. Evangelista also believes the Philippines had “some influence in the sudden reversal of positions” of Malaysia and Indonesia’s stand on the refugees. In other words, she thinks we shamed our ASEAN neighbors into becoming more “humanitarian”.

          This only highlights the truth about some Filipinos — that those who are desperate for any kind of validation from the outside world magnify little gestures, albeit symbolic in nature, ten times just to prove that we are a compassionate people who are just waiting for our destined greatness. The said article also generated a lot of highly emotional and irrational comments like “Indeed, Filipinos are one of the most loving and generous people on earth. I’m proud to be born a Filipino!”. I could not help but think of the poor and destitute in the Philippines who have not felt the love and generosity that this commenter was talking about.

          It was hard not to shake my head in disbelief at how easily some became delusional just by a single event that we had very little participation in. They were quick to lap up and document what they probably thought was an opportunity to shine on the world stage. Evangelista succeeded in doing that by putting Filipinos above other people from other societies. She wrote as if Filipinos were better than our ASEAN neighbors because they initially said that they were unwilling to accept the refugees. To be sure, she was judgmental in her assessment of other countries’ tough policy on human trafficking. It is something the Philippine government should seriously think about if they really care about the condition of the migrants who end up in far worse condition after resorting to paying human traffickers just to jump the immigration queue.

          The write up and the reaction to it made me realize that some Filipinos would not think twice about putting others down just to feel good about themselves – a kind of self-righteous act which is the opposite of being humble and compassionate.

          The truth is, most Filipinos have become so accustomed to the sight of beggars and homeless people in the Philippines to the point that they have become desensitized to the poor’s wretched plight. It is a real mystery why despite the kind and generous image we try to portray to the outside world, we fail to walk the talk when it comes to our own people. Some would say that the situation of the poor in the country has become out of control that it is not easy to “help” them. Some simply blame the corrupt public officials who they say are robbing the people. Never mind that Filipinos routinely vote for corrupt public officials and allow them to abuse their power with impunity while in office.

          Whatever the reason, the wretched existence of the poor in the Philippines is a stark reminder that most Filipinos are usually apathetic and indifferent to their predicament. Having said all of the above, I am of the belief that being generous to the poor will not solve poverty in the Philippines in the long term. Charity is good when needed but it doesn’t fix the root cause of the problem. The citizens’ participation in nation building is vital to stop the country’s spiral to degeneracy.”

      2. For all your ‘for-all-you-knows’, you seem to have forgotten the ‘bunch of people in a boat’. These are refugees at end of their ropes, trapped between the boat of death and the deep blue sea, up until a few weeks ago when the Philippines offered them refuge when other countries refused to take a definitive stand. Do you think the Rohingyas care about your politics or your conjectures?

      3. OMG I don’t think we’re speaking the same language at all.

        Anyway, the only reason why I even bother posting on here is to just give a different perspective for Filipinos who happen across this article.

        Honestly, I don’t think Evangelista said “we’re better than the others”. To you, it is “as if” she is. To me, it does not. And I don’t even know her. Frankly, I felt the quality of her writing is quite objective, I didn’t feel any bias. Again, that’s just me. You’re welcome to your own opinion as well. Let’s agree to disagree, shall we?

        I do agree with your statement: “Charity is good when needed but it doesn’t fix the root cause of the problem. The citizens’ participation in nation building is vital to stop the country’s spiral to degeneracy.” My point was that poverty and refuge have completely different root causes, yet this seems to still come up the same in the conversation and the difference has yet to be addressed.

        “Some simply blame the corrupt public officials who they say are robbing the people. Never mind that Filipinos routinely vote for corrupt public officials and allow them to abuse their power with impunity while in office. ” I agree with you as well on this. I think this is due to the poorer Filipinos not being able to see the consequences and the future – having the misbelief that the politicians giving them money on election day will actually help them improve their lives. Who can blame them if they’re suffering?

        The truth is that we are all responsible for our own futures and we become what we choose to believe. If you focus on the negative, then that’s fine. I respect your views.

        I choose to believe Evangelista, I choose to believe Anderson Cooper and what he saw of the Filipinos in Tacloban. I choose to believe that the Filipinos are amazing people – not perfect (but then again, who is)? I choose to believe that we will prevail and that the Filipino people will eventually see the corrupt politicians for what they are. I choose to believe the improvement in the economy and the improvement I’ve seen thus far.

        And you’re welcome to believe what you will, and as this blog is supposed to have the mission to provide different views, I hope you will welcome other perspectives as well. 🙂

        1. @Gretchen

          Frankly, I felt the quality of her writing is quite objective, I didn’t feel any bias.

          I’m sorry but are we talking about the same person? Patricia Evangelista has a long history of writing biased articles and propaganda against PNoy’s political rivals. She wrote a scathing article about Presidential candidate Dick Gordon before just because she didn’t like his views. He even called him a jackass for being frank and because she couldn’t handle the truth coming out of Gordon’s mouth. She didn’t like the way Gordon was critical of Philippine society. Evangelista is also into using ad hominem attacks. In her article about Rohingya, she referred to Senator Peter Cayetano as a “chinless senator”. If you missed it, you need to read her article again.

          No, objective is not the word I would use to describe Evangelista. The fact that she dedicated an entire article highlighting how “compassionate” Filipinos are compared to others says a lot about her own bias against other neighbouring countries. She’s irresponsible. She promotes emo mentality – the kind of mentality that keeps the majority of Filipinos from getting real and moving forward. Popular columnists like Evangelista should be blamed for the bad choices the voters make during elections. She was one of the members of media responsible for helping an incompetent public servant like PNoy get elected into the highest office in the country.

          If you focus on the negative, then that’s fine. I respect your views.

          The word negative is subjective. What’s negative to you could be viewed as positive and being proactive by other people. To become a successful society, we need to accept our strengths as well as our weaknesses. We can’t simply focus on the “good” just to feel good about ourselves. We also need to see where we are getting it wrong so we can work on fixing it.

          I choose to believe that the Filipinos are amazing people – not perfect (but then again, who is)? I choose to believe that we will prevail and that the Filipino people will eventually see the corrupt politicians for what they are. I choose to believe the improvement in the economy and the improvement I’ve seen thus far.

          Amazing at what, exactly? Please be specific. Filipinos will only prevail if they take matters into their own hands. You can’t keep blaming everything on “corrupt politicians” because people like Patricia Evangelista help put them in power and then turn a blind eye to their corrupt practices while in office.

          What improvement in the economy? Again, please be specific.

    3. 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.

      please see the ending note of this article.

      while it is true that there are millions living in poverty, will it change for the better if we didn’t help? Fact is, the author is implying we should have left these people to die because we are too “poor”.

      that just shows the writers “poor character” as well. Im sorry to say this article left a bitter taste in my mouth.

      fault finding and whining won’t get you anywhere.

      1. You mean the fault finding and whining you did several comments ago. That’s sweet.

        Remember this isn’t a news website. This is a blog composed of opinionated writers. The writers have no obligation to cater to your sensitivities. Of course you could either visit blogs that conform to your opinion or do a blog of your own instead of telling people here how to present their observations/opinions.

  8. 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, religious reasons, ISIS) or as gold diggers or maybe even both.

    Italy cant handle that much refugees. So what is happening? Once those refugees are brought to mainland Italy they will roam Italy trying to get to Northern Europe (France, Germany, England, Denmark, Netherlands).

    Do we want to share our “meal” with them? Yes, no problem. As long as they will return back to their own country within 6 months or so. Why as long as they return back to their own country? Because most of these people are low educated or not educated and they will bring in a culture that doesnt match ours at all. And when they will be allowed to settle down in Europe they will bring their entire family over to Europe.

    With the above I am presenting the general but overwhelmingly majority sentiment of the European people.
    You are welcome in every single European country as long as you will contribute to the economy.

    The EU wants to try to keep those boats from leaving Lybia (and other points of departure) so that human traffickers are basically getting “unemployed”. Personally, I think the EU sets it focal point on the wrong party. The traffickers are just means (middle man so to speak). Its better to stop the refugees from wanting to leave their country. But how?

    There are already new routes via Turkey to Greece. And I wont be surprised if a new route will open from Morocco (Africa) to the Canary Islands (Spain) or from Morocco (Africa) to the exclave of Ceuta (Spain) (close to Gibraltar).

    Bottomline: I guess and think the sentiments in Europe are exactly the same as in the Philippines. Maybe for different or maybe for the same reasons.

  9. 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.

      1. I didn’t say that criticism is about negativity. What I’m saying is we usually fail to appreciate the things that are being done “right” because our senses our clouded by some presuppositions, that lead us to always criticize.

        Like what he said in his blogpost:

        “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.”

        No one even said that helping these people “will change the truth about the country they had failed to build…”

        Wow…that escalated so quickly.

  10. 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 brothers? Hell no.

    We’re not all politicians or economists or leaders making big decisions. We are all human beings though. I think this is why we have a migration problem all over the world. Because when refugees ask for help, people choose to be human first before anything else. The fact the problem remains only means we have yet to find a solution (by addressing the root cause of why there are refugees in the first place). It does not mean we should start turning our backs to people in dire need.

    Filipinos are bombarded with so many freaking issues like poverty and corruption, sometimes pushing my brain to war with my heart, but at the end of the day I know that the decision to offer refuge to the Rohingya is right.

    If I were the one greeting the Rohingya, no matter how critically I look at things from every prespective, no matter the consequences, dirt poor and likewise suffering Filipino that I am, I would’ve done the same thing, the humane thing. I would’ve opened my arms in welcome.

    I’m aware my comment is emotion-ridden, but I figured this opinion piece by benign0 deserved a response from the heart which is what was lacking in the first place. Then again, we’re all entitled to our opinions.

    1. Dear Irenem
      When I plan my vacation, I like to plan everything upfront (flight, hotel, weather forecasts, money, clothes, traditions and culture and what not), knowing I will return back home in 3 weeks time.
      But now, I am leaving my country for good (as boat person/people). Dont you think, even more in that situation, I would prepare everything. Like which country will welcome me and treat me as human being? Because, I will expect and know not every country will welcome me with open arms.

      BTW: those Rohingyas are a minority muslim group in a overwhelmingly buddhist country. And those buddhists dont like those muslims. Welcome to peacefull religions.

      1. In dire situations, i don’t think people would still have the luxury of choice on where to land and who to live with…these people have been out for months, with no food and water. Anybody who would welcome me and address my current hardship…either long term or short term, is help well appreciated.

        1. Lyco,
          of course.

          But what I understood is that one or more boats with Rohingyas were refused by Thailand and Indonesia. Resulting they were at sea for about 3 months (!) and about 10 (maybe more) of them died.

      2. You expect them to plan their itinerary when their situation calls for them to just do something to survive?…Man, are you ever so dumb!

        I am signng out of all these negativity.

  11. 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…

  12. The point of this article is not that we should not help boat people whenever we can. It is that, when we do help, that we do so with magnanimity rather than with the salt of pompous self-righteousness that Patricia Evangelista seasoned her article with. That is the point many people here missed.

    The sort of cringeworthy emotionalism in how Filipinos regard the Rohingya plight which then is used as bases for a practical evaluation on how to act on the matter is the potent opium Filipinos use to deal with the humiliation of being a nation that utterly failed to live up to its potential. This is what this article aims to highlight — and how a consistent display of this sort of emotionalism comes across as nothing more than sad hypocrisy.

    Note how those who disagreed with this article (in whatever way they interpreted it), usually had only one thing to say: that we be “positive” despite the negative facts about our society. In short, they are saying — let’s just ignore the facts here and focus on what makes us feel good.

    1. I must agree.

      It should be:

      “Ah, these people need our help! Let’s go help them then!”


      “We’re helping these people because everyone else is too busy/not Christian enough/too hedonistic to help them. Because we’re a righteous people and better than everyone else, we should help these people even if we can barely feed our children.”

      1. Even with helping others, Filipinos really have to make a scene, don’t they?

        “Hey look, we’re going to help them! Look at us! Look at us!”

      2. The pomposity of the Filipino psyche, how cruel of us Filipinos. Our magnanimity is like an X & Y equation, directly proportional to our pride and big egos.

    2. there you go again making assumptions. that’s all you ever do. that’s the problem with you benignO. you only see the negative side of things and assume the rest. the rest of us who are compelled to say that we should help already acknowledge how we as a country stand. it’snot about feeling good. you always try to shove your thoughts to every ones throat. and you have the gall to personally attack the author of another article. how brave of you considering you are using a pseudonym. i guess that is how you er raised.

      the thing you don’t realize is you are part of the problem. and in this garbage you wrote, YOU are the problem.

        1. no argument will be good enough for you because you are blinded by your disgust in anything and everything about the Philippines and the Filipinos.
          in your point of view, everything that does not conform to YOUR standards DEMANDS for YOUR criticism. and only YOUR opinion SHOULD count… except for those that share your sentiment.

        2. Lol! And so now you see why the “positivism” that people like you espouse is so hollow — because it is not underpinned by objective argument in its favour.

          Kawawa naman ang Pinas. All it has to defend its “pride” and “honour” are people like you who have nothing to work with towards achieving that end. 😀

        3. so you’re the “expert” . you seem to have the answers for everything. I guess you just can’t accept the fact that some of us don’t actually agree with you. and you should always have the last word on everything.

          you call us “hollow’ for at least trying to to do and condone what is right. at least we are not self-righteous.

          and for your information, doing something good actually makes a person feel good. you should try it sometime.

          Kawawa naman ang Pinas. All it has to defend its “pride” and “honour” are people like you who have nothing to work with towards achieving that end.

          And for my ending comment on your last remark:

          to what end are you talking about?

          unlike you I have a regular job and blogging away ranting like a lunatic is not my bread and butter. that low blow you just did to “people like me” that is just what somebody who lacks objectivity would say.
          either we agree with you or not doesn’t really matter does it?

          I’m not surprised really because i know this is the only means for you to speak your narrow mind; and to that note… I pity you. you are nothing but a frustrated journalist-wannabe who couldn’t, wouldn’t and never will be. you should reflect on your last comment Sir. I highly recommend it.

        4. Hmmm.. I still don’t see any argument in your comment above. Maybe that is why Pinoys are so chronically impoverished. They expend so much energy but show so little useful output from all that huffing and puffing.

        5. who says I’m arguing? I’m done arguing with you many comments ago because i found it pointless to do so.

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

  14. 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 to fight the oppression and the dangerous leadership in their country. Should they leave their country, it should be to find a way to help their country get out of the dump it’s in. It’s a fact that their migration brings problem to the country they are migrating into but more so, they leave their country to ruin by leaving it in the hands of people who don’t care for its own people. If they continue to be like that, their children and their children’s children will pretty much suffer like them.

    1. All i can say is why not let the rohingya stay here? Once they have a taste of true “pinoy hospitality” and have a glimpse of the local poor life, they’d be clamouring back to their boats and search for other lands.

  15. after reading this up to the last comment i must congratulate myself for staying sane. Indeed i just survived a whirlwind of opinions. LOL

    1. Ad hominem

      Attacking your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument.

      Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hom attack can be to undermine someone’s case without actually having to engage with it.

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

        1. Hello again mark nice hearing from you too. By the way, thanks for the link but it’s already redundant.

      1. Hello WR. i just showed them where you got your Ad hominem definition. you could have at least tried to put it in your own words.

  16. 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 mirroring of who Pinoys are and what PHL is. It is frustrating when the one commenting is an OFW, who I could only imagine spend all his/her waking hours, and even his/her sleep and dreams, towards quality consciousness and zero defects. Never mind those who have not been outside of PHL, where mediocrity, bahala na, pwede na yan, is way of life; they won’t know what quality is all about even if you explain it in a classroom. Quality as a way of life has to be observed.

    Patricia’s article is very symptomatic of the very small-mindedness in PHL. Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and even Myanmar have their own reasons for not helping the Rohingyas, but that does not make PHL any better because we are willing to help. We should not be making a big deal of the little we could do. For one, we might even fuck up our own good intention as we did during Yolanda (imagine all the tons of food and drinks that came from local and foreign aid that went to waste and all the million cash from foreign donations that could not now be properly accounted for). Yes, no question, we have to help these refugees, but imagine if we could do it with quality. No need for trumpeting our deed, no need for Pinoy Pride, for a quality deed will speak for itself.

    This brings me to GRP, this site itself. It attacks PNoy, Mar Roxas, Binay, Grace Po, Duterte, etc and just about everything and anything Pinoy. Is that being negative? If it has no basis, yes. But, if they do have basis, aren’t they doing a service? I don’t know these people, but I am not interested in personalities, I am interested in ideas. We somehow have to get rid of mediocrity, Pinoy Pride, mendicancy, etc., and any idea along this line, we should be interested. But just to cut the chase, if this site is able to bring the discussion, for example, to talking about Raffy Alunan, Gibo, Gordon, Bicol’s Salceda, etc, or people who are more qualified to being a CEO than those mediocre and questionable characters being presented today for 2016, would that still be negativity, or is that “negativity” something that is needed today? Maybe that is what GRP wants. It looks like an impossible dream, but trying is already a start towards quality consciousness, I would say. I hope more would consider looking at the substantial paradigm shift being proposed by GRP.

  17. I agree with Ms. Evangelista’s statement “All I know is that if the cost of generosity is high, the price of our refusal will be much higher still.” I don’t agree with her implication that we are better than the others in generosity. If we could only imagine the problems that will be caused by thousands of uneducated immigrants pouring through our borders. Let me cite an example. Kosovo was once Serbian and is the cradle of their culture and civilization, but with the help of human traffickers and NATO bombs, now it is an “independent” country filled with Al-Qaeda linked militants and organ traffickers.

    I also agree that what the government is doing is just “pakitang-tao” since they could throw away relief goods in a garbage dump and keep millions of pesos in banks meant for Yolanda victims.

    Hey look everyone! We are helping and we are so much better than the others! But actually our government would not lift a foot to help them in reality!

  18. “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.” – I think the author of this article himself should heed this advise. He pretends to care about Filipinos and yet finds it hard to celebrate being one.

  19. i really like how people just put negative things out there because they can.

    and ignorant enough to generalize how all filipinos are based on how majority crosses the pedeatrian lane.

    right… basically for you if 1 tries to do good it doesnt matter because 10 others are bad? i feel sorry for your negativity… maybe be more constructive.

    1. Indeed, it is convenient enough to excuse yourself from being associated with the bad behaviour of 90% of your compatriots. But then when there is a good thing done or achieved by the 1 percent exceptional Filipinos, every Pinoy and her dog then jumps onto the ‘Pinoy Pride’ bandwagon in the hope of some of that goodness rubbing off on them.

      Selective nationalism…

      Pinoy nga naman talaga
      Parang Aso
      Matangkad lang kapag naka-upo

      1. And also pinoys love to make it a point that their “mere presence” in any endeavor was somehow a “significant factor” for the success of individuals, group, company, foreign corporations, talent shows…, or any historical event.

        Hindi posible ang mga ito kung wala ang mga pinoy.” cough.. cough!

    1. don’t worry, you have ample backup in the fb page of this site. but still, good luck.=) i have a feeling youd still be lingering here despite your apparent “disgust”.=)

      1. im speaking for myself. i don’t need backing up just to prove a point. im not the one working with a group in defense of my POV.

        but thanks angelo. I also don’t believe this is a contest for me to win. there is no need to wish me luck. and my “apparent disgust” have been stated. so no need to write it up like it’s something I just hinted.

  20. It is also funny How all of you keep saying pinoys are this and that. even going to the extent to address pinoys as “they” like you aren’t.

    at least you all show consistency in blurting out your disgust in Filipinos and not realize you are part of the problem.

    it’s amazing really how better you think you all are than the rest of us “average Filipinos.”

      1. don’t get me wrong. I understand you all have good intentions, but by the way you convey your message to your readers… in a manner of speaking yes.

        I’m not implying you change anything. but at least try to give readers a modicum of respect by considering valid points which don’t agree with your POV’s.
        I know it hurts when you get a taste of your own medicine; but it happens.

        1. “but at least try to give readers a modicum of respect by considering valid points which don’t agree with your POV’s.
          I know it hurts when you get a taste of your own medicine; but it happens.”

          yeah, sort of what happened to you. the authors already gave you the chance to present a valid counterargument to debunk what was written that you happened to disagree with and all you ever did was attack the authors for saying what they did. ir wont be long now until your comments find themselves to the trash bin or not presenting anything new or contructive to the discussion. leave the emo mode at home, my friend. or at the very least,give yourself a break by ignoring this site.=)

        2. “but at least try to give readers a modicum of respect by considering valid points which don’t agree with your POV’s.”


        3. the key words are TRY, , consideing valid points. in case you missed. do i have to use simpler words than this? im surprised cause you use the word mediocre a lot.
          domo should be “dumb

  21. I read it before.
    those are words getreaphilippines hasn’t lived up to.
    the only thing they accomplished is conveying their message to a large audience

    criticizing and critiquing are not the same.
    That is the bottom line.

    this was a personal attack on the author and her article.

    was that critical thinking? i don’t think so.

    was that insightful? again no. instead it promoted a level of self-loathing among Filipinos. that is where it succeeded. notice how every comment of the authors here are “ganito kasi tayong mga Filipino, “Pinoy nga naman talaga
    Parang Aso
    Matangkad lang kapag naka-upo”,
    “Kawawa naman ang Pinas. All it has to defend its “pride” and “honour” are people like you who have nothing to work with towards achieving that end”

    1. like what i said above, no one is pointing a gun to people’s heads to visit and read everything in this site. =) if this is bothering you, the door is open.=)

        1. oh my! you assumed I missed the point and not realizing you did too? you just can’t help it can you tomas? i was hoping for a gentlemanly end but yes. i DID miss the point that you resort to insult when cornered.

  22. Hypocrisy in what we see is enough to condemn all sorts of failures in our society but being humane is always the right thing to do.

  23. You people are bunch if Idiots! everything written here by the arrogant writer himself perfectly describes all the comments and commenters. I no longer am a Filipino, do you think the country where I now lived is perfect? Read with open mind and heart and do not generalize everything from your handful experience. The writer of this collumn has already made up his mind to be an arrogant prick, no amount of persuasion is gonna turn that around. If you people know whats wrong with your society I suggest you do something about it than adding more negative thoughts. By the way, if you think your many words will add up to your so called intellectual images, youre only making a fool of yourselves.

  24. hindi para akin ang site na to… masyadong matatalino ang mga tao dito. hindi nito kailanman magagawang “get real philippines” dahil ang karamihan dito pati na mismo ang nagmamay-ari ng blog na ito ay hindi totoo sa kanilang mga sarili. You cannot change the people you want to change by talking. I hope you Mr. blogger, outside this forum you have solid action to change the people you want to change. Otherwise, this is nothing but NGAKNGAK.

    Promise I will never drop by again as you are a waste of time.

  25. – do you think there should be a public voting about accepting the Rohingya?

    -I would like you to clarify some of the thoughts you have in this article.

    first – the words “they” , “failed” and “bunch” – “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.”
    – “they” are you referring only to the government? how about you? us (Filipinos)?
    – “failed” – can you fully support that?
    – “bunch” – do you know the word respect? it actually feels like they are none living things.. that if they will sink in the ocean you will just say.. “oh ok”

    emotionalism – ”
    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.” ???

    – hypocrisy – “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.”
    * are you one of those who actually help? or are you one of those Filipino who’s in a better position to help but don’t?

    * I think how we Filipinos act is not unique… Other countries might be just like us.. or even worse…

    *act*give facts*

  26. This is a funny thing in most Filipinos we love to argue and express sounding opinions but less in actions and concerns. I believe this s the greatest hypocrisy.

  27. kung ako ang nasa sitwasyon na pedeng tumulong???
    Bakit hindi?ang mga ganitong sitwasyong emergency..hindi masyadong pinag iisipan…emergency nga eh. Saka ko na iisipin yung bukas…ang importante yung ngayon, kasi kailangan yung desisyon ko ngayon, hindi bukas. Eh anu kung hindi matalino ang desisyon ko…di naman kailangang matalino sa ganitong sitwasyon…ang kailangan lang kunsensya…saka ko na iisipin yung bukas, kasi di naman ako sure kung may bukas pa. Ang impostante, pag dating ng gabi…makakatulog ako ng mahimbing. Kung sakaling mali ang desisyon ko ngayon, bukas ko na iisipin yun kapag nakakain at naka pahinga na yung mga refugees. Ganun naman talaga, sa hirap ko ngayon, kapag may nangangailangan…kung anu lang ang kaya ko yun lang naman talaga ang pede ko ibigay…sa ngayon kung lupang mapagpapahingaan at konting pagkain ang maipanlalaman sa sikmura, meron naman kahit panu. Kailangan ko pa bang pagisipan pa yan?wag na…wala naman akong titulo sa langit na pag aari ko tong lupa na to porket dito ako pinanganak.haha!

  28. An average Filipino may have an operational idea of basic values and may be able to demonstrate such value to persons whom he or she fancies, there is no law to make such compassion an obligation so that all people within the Filipino society will benefit.

    Our laws, good as they are, either lack implementation or are merely substantive when it comes to social justice. Agencies intended for social justice are inefficient because of red tape and under the table transactions.

    A good example will be the street children. Many street children roam Manila and some of them can hold a knife, can steal or can even harm an adult. Where is social justice?

    Elections? I am cynical about the elections. Every candidate, even Duterte, are either corrupt or helpless. Many people too are corrupt. They capitalize on elections by selling their votes. Politicians view them as patrons and using their money, buy their votes, a very efficient business scheme which costs us more than it costs them and which benefits them more in the long run.

    Who is to blame? Us? Them? Everyone?

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