Filipinos’ misguided sense of patriotism is tearing the nation apart


The disqualification cases against Senator Grace Poe’s candidacy for the Presidency in the upcoming election due to her questionable citizenship status has caused quite a stir in Philippine society. It has divided the sentiments of the Filipino people. While she has many supporters, there are people who call her a traitor supposedly because she abandoned her Philippine citizenship after taking up American citizenship in the past. Even after she renounced her American citizenship and regained her Philippine citizenship status, her critics still do not want to cut her some slack. They still refer to her as an American and they are not sure where her allegiance lies. They doubt that it is with the Philippine flag. It doesn’t help that her husband and children still have American citizenship.

Grace Poe: Willing to abandon the United States in order to 'serve' in Philippine government

Grace Poe: Willing to abandon the United States in order to ‘serve’ in Philippine government

It would be hard for Poe to convince some Filipinos that her loyalty now lies with the Philippines because a lot of them have a misguided sense of patriotism. For one, they think that anyone who migrated to another country is unpatriotic. It doesn’t matter to them what the circumstances are. To some, a person who decided to abandon his or her Philippine citizenship is a person unwilling to “sacrifice” or “suffer” along with the rest who stayed behind. In Poe’s case, for example, she said she was compelled to take up American citizenship because of love. After marrying an American citizen, she said it was her duty to support her husband and family in the US. Whatever her reason, she is now back in the Philippines.

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The notion that Filipinos need to stay in the Philippines to be considered patriotic only makes sense if the person actively participates in nation building and is not apathetic to the issues plaguing the nation. The truth is, a lot of Filipinos who live abroad care more about what is going on in the Philippines compared to the millions of Filipinos who live in the Philippines but ruin it and don’t even care about how public servants are mismanaging the country. A lot of Filipinos only care about keeping track of their favorite celebrities from their favorite noontime shows.

Besides, some people seem to forget the fact that the Philippine government itself encourages Filipinos to seek jobs abroad due to the country’s reliance on remittances from overseas Filipino workers to keep the economy afloat. In other words, the Philippine government’s economic policy itself contributed to the growth of the Filipino diaspora – the migration or flight of millions of Filipinos from the Philippines. The deteriorating public infrastructure in the country and appalling services from both government agencies or privately own companies have also forced some Filipinos to seek better living conditions overseas. It’s not just those from the poor or middle class who do that, even those from the elite members of Philippine society have been doing it for decades.

While I still think that it is too premature of Poe to seek the Presidency after only three years in the Senate, it is actually unfair of her critics to keep questioning her allegiance. After all, she has already acquired her Filipino citizenship. In fairness to her, she already “sacrificed” a lot by abandoning the US — a country that offers a superior standard of living and a system that works for the majority of its citizens — just to “serve” the Filipino people. Millions of Filipinos would do anything to live in the US but she chose to come back to the Philippines. That should say a lot about her eagerness to work in the Philippine government. What her critics should be questioning is her loyalty to President Benigno Simeon Aquino. She seems soft on him despite knowing he is incompetent. But I digress…

Some also say, aside from being the daughter of a former celebrity, Poe’s popularity has to do with Filipino colonial mentality, that her having lived in the US gives her an edge over some of her rivals. Her critics think that just because she lived abroad doesn’t mean she can act like a Miss-Know-It-All. I find those who say that a bit petty. It is quite natural for anyone who has lived in a country like the US to acquire First World knowledge and attitudes and would want to apply it to the Philippines. There should be nothing wrong with that.

The problem with a lot of Filipinos is they are averse to new ideas particularly if the ideas are coming from Westerners. They think that Filipinos who have left the country and foreigners alike do not have any business giving “advice” about the Philippines. Never mind that Filipinos who live abroad can think outside the box or may have better, tried and tested ideas for the country. Likewise, Filipinos who live abroad still have relatives and friends in the Philippines they want to help live better lives. Like Filipino migrants, foreigners do have the right to give advice to Filipinos because, more than likely, they come from countries that provide assistance when the Philippines experience natural disasters. In other words, Filipino migrants and foreigners do get affected indirectly when the Philippines is in crisis.

Successive Philippine governments have encouraged millions of Filipinos to seek work overseas.

Successive Philippine governments have encouraged millions of Filipinos to seek work overseas.

If Filipinos do not want Filipino migrants overseas or any foreigner to meddle in local affairs, then they should also stop asking for assistance from other countries when the country is in crisis. They can’t just accept help when it is convenient and reject advice when it involves hard work. Filipinos will not grow as a society if they are not open to sound ideas coming from outside. Filipinos should quit being too proud to accept good advice just because the advice is coming from non-Filipino citizens.

In summary, some people’s idea of patriotism is outdated. They should accept the fact that Filipinos who live abroad still have a stake in the country because a lot of their loved ones are still living in the Philippines. I mean, who doesn’t have relatives living abroad nowadays? Filipinos who live abroad contribute a lot to the economy through tourism and remittances sent to their families in the Philippines. That is enough reason for them to enjoy a right to “meddle” in Philippine affairs.

So those who want to criticize Poe should stick to questioning whether she is qualified or not for the Presidency. I personally think she is not. But saying she is a traitor just because she acquired an American citizenship in the past would mean those who left the country with the encouragement of the Philippine government to ‘help the economy’ are also traitors. Now that doesn’t make sense at all.

29 Replies to “Filipinos’ misguided sense of patriotism is tearing the nation apart”

  1. Another example of misguided sense of patriotism: if you’re an English speaker, are good at it and prefer it, you’re a traitor to the country. And yet those same people will insist that you fork over your money to them.

    1. So true, Chino. It doesn’t matter what language you use as long as you are participating in nation building. Some Filipinos are just focusing on the wrong things.

  2. Filipinos are only loyal to the hands that feed them (Americans, Japanese, Arabs, Chinese, and Koreans) and disloyal to each other, because they are suspicious, envious, and condescending of one another. This is the reason why the Philippines is repeatedly a failed nation (Failippines).

  3. america will not abandon Grace Poe. because they know Pilipinos are longing for a change and it’s Grace Poe their hope. Grace Poe is a Natural born Pilipino born on Philippine soil. and she resides in the Philippines since birth before she went to US for further education. therefore, finishing high school in the Philippines qualifies her for a 10 year residency preceding ‘such’ election. the supreme court knows that. and if the SC disqualifies her, there’s gonna be a revolt by the people.

    1. “and if the SC disqualifies her, there’s gonna be a revolt by the people.” – So you’re saying that the SC have no choice but not to disqualify Poe? Otherwise, there will be ‘a revolt by the people.’ Do you mean to say that the SC should stop bothering weighing the arguments if she’s a “natural born Pilipino” or if she satisfied the residency requirements for a presidential candidate and just rule in favor of Poe because (1) she’s the hope for change Pilipinos are longing for; and, most importantly, (2) disqualifying her would mean another revolution? I asked because I don’t think I want to live in a country with a Supreme Court that decides like that.

      By the way, me and a few individuals I know are also people and I don’t think we will revolt once Grace Poe is finally disqualified by the Supreme Court.

      1. I hope she will be disqualified because she is in no way suitable or capable to fix the mess Aquino will leave behind.

    2. The Philippines is just a bad movie–with bad actors–played over-and-over again. It is the corrupt cultural values of the people (hambog [aristocratic], ingittero [envious and covetous], and makasarili [self-serving])–from the rich to the poor–that are the real culprits on why this country cannot move forward.

    3. The problem is we have a constitution to follow. Yes, she is a Filipino citizen but not a natural born. She has to prove that one of her parents is a Filipino. Thats the law, and your idol Grace should learn to follow instead of telling lies about her citizenship and residency.

    4. Implying that every non-Filipino like the Americans can be a politician in our country then. Obviously you hate following laws because your utak showbiz, drama queen mindset get the best of you retarded failipino.

  4. We can surely give the benefit of the doubt on the genuineness of Poe’s altruistic motives to sacrificially serve her current country.

    However the more pressing concern is just that – the doubt.

    I would rather give the helm of this pathetic country to a person who can provide a reasonable assurance based on tract record that he/she can handle an executive-function job of national proportions.

    We’ve tried the unqualified housewife experiment before. Look at where it had brought us.

    Don’t know about you guys but I prefer riding a plane with an experienced pilot in the cockpit.

    1. Whether it is an unqualified housewife (Cory), the daughter of a former president (GMA), a former movie star (Erap), an equally unqualified son of a an unqualified former president (Pnoy), or a murderous vigilante-style mayor (Duterte), the Philippines will continue to be a poverty and corrupt-stricken nation.

      It is the corrupt cultural values and way of life of every Filipino–not just in politics but also among the general population–that are the main reasons why the Philippines cannot move forward. Just look at the social disparities Filipinos have for one another, and that will tell you the pulse of the entire nation.

      The Philippines–and the Filipino people–need a a complete overhaul of their society’s moral values and way of life, not who is more qualified to be the next president. It does not matter who assumes the presidential seat; it is going to be the same B.S. all over again, as long as Filipinos continue to think and live in the same country-destructive manners.

      1. I’m going to be contrary again and suggest that the true test of her patriotism would be to watch her tear it into pieces and stomp it into the mud. That document has held the country back for three decades: deliberately so, I suspect.

  5. Filipinos have a false sense of pride. You go talk to any American living here, and they are still considered Americans by Filipinos and the USA. The president of the USA does not have to born in the USA and can have dual citizenship. A person is a citizen of the country they choose by heart not by birth or where they live. OFW’s are still Filipinos and Americans here are still Americans. If this is wrong then start charging OFW shipping, import fees and money transfer fees.

  6. The Constitution should be the sole basis on which to decide if Grace Poe is natural-born Filipino citizen. Her character is not an issue because even if she happens to be the most qualified she still has to be natural-born citizen under the Constitution in order to run for President. Foundlings are not included in the enumeration as to who are citizens of the Philippines. No international law or convention is above the Constitution. But even impossible to overcome is the fact that Grace Poe had renounced her citizenship when she became a U.S. citizen. What she reacquired when she took oath as Filipino is naturalised citizen because a foreigner (as U.S. citizen) can only become Filipino citizen by naturalisation. Even assuming the law allows her to get back same status as natural-born that provision is unconstitutional because the Constitution defines natural-born as one who need not perform any act to perfect his citizenship. Grace Poe has to perform the act of taking oath of allegiance to Philippines and renounce her U.S. citizenship. Besides allowing her to become natural-born citizen again will debase the value of Philippine citizenship. It means one can renounce his Philippine citizenship as many times as he wants and still remain a natural-born citizen everytime he wants it back by just taking an oath of allegiance. Like a piece of clothing one can wear and change anytime and wear again when needed. Unfair to those natural-born citizens who have never renounced their citizenship. The pertinent provisions on citizenship in the Constitution are written in simple English you don’t have to be a lawyer to understand them. I do not understand why some would like to complicate them.

    1. I get your point, Protacio. We should focus on the constitution in discussing Poe’s case. However, some people are focusing too much on where her allegiance lies. I think it is not a valid question anymore considering she already came back to the Philippines and considering a lot of Filipinos are encouraged by the Philippine government itself to leave and find opportunities overseas.

      Like I said in my previous article about Poe, she seemed to have suffered from an identity crisis when she acquired and renounced both American and Filipino citizenship. I personally don’t take that against her.

      1. What about her ” honest mistakes”? I think that tells a lot about her. I think she is the one with misguided sense of patriotism. If she truly loves the country, she should uphold the constitution. That why people see her as an opportunist.

  7. I left the Philippines, because, I cannot find a good job in relation to my education. I also want to further also my education. What is wrong with that?

    Unless, you are a rabid YellowTard, or mentally retarded of some kind; you will not seek improvement for yourself. Whether abroad or in any corner of this Planet Earth.

    It is not of your interest, to stay in the Philippines, and just mumble:” I’m Patriotic”…

  8. Doesn’t she realize that because of her, people have a perfect excuse not to talk about platforms this election. How dare she trying to monopolize the discussion, just so we will know that she was not born by C-section.

    Enough of OJT Presidents!!! We need them like we need a hole in the head.

  9. The woman has to be regarded as questionable, at least. Why would Poe want to take a job as the President of the Philippines when that pays less than $2,500/month? when Poe can easily earn more than that as a USA citizen?
    The Woman has an agenda and wants the keys to the Philippine Treasury BUT how much will be left there after Aquino leaves office? GMA emptied the coffers right before she left and expect Aquino to do the same.

  10. Patriotism is not a showy and frenzied outburst of emotion. It is a life-time of steady and tranquil dedication to one’s country and people. I’m sorry; but, Grace Poe-Llamanzares’ switching allegiance twice.. of her own accord.. does not make her a patriot. There’s a name for what she’s doing, and it is not flattering.. ‘opportunism’.

    1. Patriotism is doing the right thing by not patronizing whatever propagandas, products, and services (entertainment, condominiums, malls, motor vehicles, and etcetera) the Failipino oligarchs are selling us; since it only fattens their bank accounts, increases the cost of living in the Failippines, and destroys the environment.

  11. Misguided sense of patriotism? Really? I don’t think this about patriotism tho, its about laws and qualifications. The constitution was put aside to accomodate a foundling who became an american citizen and is now a presidential candidate. All because of love? If this about change, then they should’ve amended the constitution.

  12. —- it doesn’t matter who assumes the presidential seat; its going to be the same B.S all over again……….

    That’s why we need the best qualified candidate/ president. A good leader who can lead the people. A leader who will change the people. It is not impossible.

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