The Philippines not a paradise to all

Published 8:28 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Although the Philippines is considered one of the wealthier countries in Southeast Asia, life to many of its citizens is one of poverty, despair and danger. The economy of the Philippines is the 13th largest economy in Asia, and the third largest economy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations  after Indonesia and Thailand.

It is a beautiful country consisting of 7,000 islands spread over a large geographical area. Visitors to the country will find both dry and monsoon weather in the Philippines at any given time. It would be wise, however, to understand that the period from July to December, can be characterized by dangerous monsoons affecting the country.

The country is ruled by Rodrigo Duterte, who took office in 2016. He has become famous around the world for advocating that those who traffic in drugs should be executed, without necessarily going through the judicial process. When he took office, after winning in a landslide, he told crowds on the day of his inauguration: “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.” During his campaign, he said 100,000 people would die in his crackdown, with so many dead bodies dumped in Manila Bay that fish there would grow fat from feeding on them.

The United Nations has firmly criticized Duterte for his stance, which has been interpreted in some instances as human rights violations. Visitors to the country are quick to observe how this practice has given rise to corruption by police and the military. Essentially, the police and military are now perceived as running criminal enterprises with impunity. 

Drug trafficking is not the only major problem in the Philippines. When the U.S. military bases closed in 1992, more than 60,000 Amerasians were left behind. Unlike their counterparts in other countries, Amerasians, in the Philippines remain impoverished and neglected. Two-thirds are raised by single mothers, others by relatives and non-relatives; 6 percent live on their own or in institution, and 90 percent were born “out of wedlock.” It was reported in 1993 that prostitutes are increasingly Amerasian, children of prostitutes caught in a cycle that transcends generations.

Amerasians appear to be the foundation of the prostitution industry in the Philippines, drawing customers from America and all parts of the world. Customers are often octogenarians seeking to rejuvenate their lives and move about areas of the Philippines that are nonjudgment zones, allowing them to move freely with prostitutes, in some instances, a third of their age. They have even become popular “mail order” brides here in the United States.

Unfortunately, the Philippines has become a haven for child predators, who also flock to the country, knowing that with the right connections in the country and money they can engage in sexual behavior, that would result in serious, criminal prosecution in most civilized countries. Because of their economic circumstances, however, parents often voluntarily submit their children to predators to survive.