Oct 29, 2011

Daily thoughts - pissed.. while watching the red tape unfurl some more..

Today I got up early to attend a mandatory seminar somewhere in Katipunan Avenue. I knew it was something that Id dismiss later as stupid, ridiculous and another last ditch effort of my government to milk money from me. I wanted to prove myself wrong. Besides I didnt have a choice, this so called orientation is required and if I didnt go, I might not be able to leave the country.

Ill go into the details of how I got to the place and what it looked like. All I can say is that I paid for the most expensive photocopy (16PHP), sticker (400PHP) and the lousiest seminar ever which cost me 250PHP.  This is one of those times Im very ashamed of being a Filipino. Because of this blatant corruption that seems small scale but is unfortunately legal.

The damn seminar lasted for one hour and it tackled very basic information about migration. I could have spent the day at home surfing the net and I would have gathered more information without spending a single peso.

One woman shared her horrible ordeal of having been deplaned the night before because she wasnt aware that she had to go through this seminar. She is from Davao and doesnt have any family member in Manila. She said the people at the British Embassy never advised her about the CFO requirement. She has been in and out of the country for many years and this is the first time she was petitioned as a spouse so she had no idea she needed that special sticker prior to leaving the country.

cfo sticker on a passport page

I can just imagine her harrowing experience. Because I myself didnt know it was a requirement not until I got my visa and read that little pamphlet that came with it. I felt so sorry for the lady because the seminar we attended was a waste of time, money and it wasnt worth her having to go through rebooking her flight ( I hope she was able to fly tonight) and all the other inconvenience she had to encounter .

Seriously what is this seminar for? I read from this link that it should discuss certain issues that Filipina women may face when immigrating and finally moving in with a foreign spouse. Not a lot of things were covered in that one hour seminar to tell you the truth. Although I was actually relieved I could leave early and even managed to make it to my niece's UN (United Nation's) parade at their school, still I felt that Ive been robbed twice-My time and my money.

In my honest opinion I doubt the sincerity of the government when they say they are doing this because they care about their citizens, especially the women who are going to marry foreign spouses.  Ive read countless articles of other migrant workers who have been raped by employers and worse killed but the government couldnt do much for them or their families.I aint drinking  the whole "we are doing this for your own good" kool aid shit.

In that one hour of orientation all I felt was annoyance and disgust. Annoyance over the fact that maybe our government think we are idiots that we dont know this is just another scheme. Coercing us to go through this bureaucratic bullshit so they could extort money. Disgust because the ugly cycle never stops. In fact I noticed that our government just never runs out of "FEES". The brochure we received also emphasized that apart from the Airport Tax we have to pay (1620 PHP for economy and more for business clas) a terminal fee. I remember that when I used to work overseas, I had to still procure an OEC (overseas employment clearance) prior to leaving the my country.

Its sad. Ive been to one of the nicest airports in the world and they dont require an airport tax or terminal fee. When I look around our airport (where I also lost my bag 3 years ago when it went thru the xray machine. The personnel there didnt even bother to help me look for it) I sigh and shake my head and think to myself "Kaya walang asenso ang bansa dahil kahit san ka magpunta, puro kotong, kurakot na lng" (the reason our country wont progress coz everywhere you go the government just screws us over with more tax, additional fees and corruption).

Even a change of president isnt enough for the old bad ways to go.

By the way I also looked up report of marriage on google. Interestingly, only the Philippines seem to have that requirement. And you guessed it right, there is a FEE for it too!

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