Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today is the day that I promised to accompany my mother. Ethan did not go to school for the allocated driver (me) was not available. I had to take my mother to the US embassy to make adjustments on her SSS. With us was my cousin (the one who underwent breast surgery) to ask SSA if her Medicare could follow her here in the Philippines. Ethan and daughter # 3 also tagged along.

What hit me as we went inside the embassy was the seemingly empty chairs in the non-immigrant visa section. Where is the throng of applicants? How come there are no super-duper snaking lines outside? Ah. Yes. Non-immigrant visa applications are by appointment now. My company and I proceeded deep into the complex to the SSS department. We got number 1048. The number currently in process was 1033. Not bad. It was 10:45 am and I was worried that we might not make it before the lunch break. Right along side the SSS is the Veterans Section. I can't believe that there are actual WW II veterans still around. I saw about 4 old US-Filipino veterans. Two were in wheelchairs and seem oblivious to the world and the other 2 were ambulatory but still seem oblivious to the world. There were a couple of Caucasians applying for a change of addresses for their SSS for they are now living in the Philippines with their new wives.

What really caught my attention was an old widow (80 yrs old maybe) imploring the officer in the VA window to give her husband (dead already) the veteran's benefits - of course with her as the beneficiary. As I listened intently to her ramblings - and the answer of the officer- I learned that indeed her husband does not deserve a veteran's benefit for the dead-husband-who once fought along side US GI's also deserted the army before WW II was over. The old lady's last statement made me want to laugh. She said: Bakit yong mga namatay lang ang may benepisyo? Pano naman yong mga lumaban sandali pero natauhan sa bandang huli kaya umalis? ( Why are the dead the only ones with benefits? What about those who fought at first but thought it better to desert the army later?)

It was 12:15 pm when our number was called. Staggered lunch break for the embassy's employees is being practiced now. I told my mother to leave the talking and explaining to the SSS officer to me. Our business was done in less than 2 minutes. My cousin asked her question regarding Medicare benefits. Sad to say, she has to be back in US soil for her to enjoy the benefits.

Having taken a look at the immigrant visa section on our way out, I realized that the American Dream is still around if not stronger. Many Filipinos still consider living and working in America the ultimate goal of their lives. Who can blame them? Living and working in America is hard but the pay is worth the pain. In America, having a steady job means you can basically buy everything that you need and more. In America, you pay taxes and the larger beneficiary is the public. In America, you can live your dream.

When my parents and brother migrated to the US, I chose to stay in the Philippines. My reasons for staying are not important. Recently I asked my doctor and dentist daughters if they wanted to pursue further studies in the US. They asked if I could afford it. I said no. They have to look for residencies. They said why not? , then did nothing. I then asked my teacher daughter if she has plans of teaching abroad. She said why not?, then did nothing further.

My three daughters are pliable to furthering their studies abroad and maybe work a bit there too but their ultimate goal is to serve the Filipino people. Doctor said, if every doctor and nurse chose to work abroad, who will be left here to tend to the Filipinos? Teacher said that if every qualified teachers teach abroad, who will teach the Filipino children?

Indeed. Indeed.
Posted by desperateblogger On 6/26/2008 06:29:00 PM 3 comments


  1. Bow ako sa mga anak mo! Kaunti na lang ang mga katulad nila na hindi iniisip ang sariling kapakanan bagkus ang kapakanan ng nakakarami...and to that, I salute you. Seryoso yan, ha.

    Kasi lahat ng nakakausap ko, ang ultimate aim nila for going in their fields is to work abroad. Tama ka, who can blame them, di ba? Sa hirap ng buhay dyan, to work abroad is probably their best bet right now.

    But it's always nice to know na meron pa ding tulad ng mga anak mo na willing to stay to serve our own people.

    Kudos to the Mom...

    Musta na?


  2. Very insightful an thought provoking questions. Indeed, brain drain is the reality of the country and it bites.

    How could we convince these professionals to stay in the country when their monthly wages won't even provide for their family a decent life? WE can only appeal to their sense of nationalism...and how can one do that on an empty stomach?

    AS well written post Thanks for sharing.

    Where are your short stories? I enjoyed the last one.

    Happy blogging.


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