Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Understanding Nation Building (Part 4)

This is a continuation in our series on Understanding Nation Building. All of these analysis and opinion will get to a point upon our conclusion. This is part four in our series. Blueprints for a Viable Philippines is found here.

On Over Seas Filipino Workers, Entrepreneurship, Labour and Employment

BLUEPRINT Recommendations: The government shall insist on minimum guarantees for its nationals by forging bilateral agreements with governments of host countries. Where such agreements do not exist, the government will discourage its nationals from seeking or accepting employment in these countries. Our embassies and consulates abroad will be mobilized and reorganized so that the protection of the rights of our OFWs becomes their principal mandate. The government will train returning OFWs to become entrepreneurs, and to help them invest their earnings wisely. On the domestic front, the government shall encourage the formation of workers cooperatives. It will promote industrial harmony by encouraging companies to come up with wage extenders to help workers cope with the rising cost of living. It will promote the settlement of industrial disputes through arbitration and conciliation. It will initiate regular dialogues between labor and business with a view to encouraging long-term investments and stable employment.


One of the roles a government needs to accomplish is ensure that where ever its citizens travel and work, they are ensured protection. In course of history, these rights have normally been guaranteed by the strength of a country's armed forces and the good will of nations towards that particular country. In many ways, respect on the level of nation-states is similar to the relationship between people, albeit writ large.

That said, like anybody else, the first step in garnering respect from other nation-states is when we respect ourselves as people. When bullies attack, we must stand our ground. When a matter of good will is needed, we must extend our hand.

It doesn't matter whether or not our people work there as domestic helpers or we are recognized as a nation of such, if you would recall, butlers are domestic help and are sought after. It doesn't matter if the work we take are those running ships or if we run a hospital as techs or as nurses or as doctors or as administrators. We must have pride in our work.

On one hand, with limited resources, our workers all over the world must be provided the highest quality service by our embassies and by our agencies in country. Our government is already doing that today, in spite of many limitations and it can do much better.

One of the good things, government can do is to provide good information on what opportunities are available for investment in the country and to encourage small and medium enterprises to answer those needs. This should be meant for every Filipino, whether or not they work abroad.

Some of them, have no idea what to do with money--- they must reinvest it and encourage our people here to create businesses, to become employers themselves. Again, pride and respect are huge commodities our people has to stock up with.

With regard to labor and employment, the government can do much better in defining a more balanced labor-employer law. Both sides should be amply protected against unjust treatments. Already arbitration is sought as the first reasonable defense in such cases, and rightly so.

On the matter that government should mandate wage extenders--- this should not be the case. In all of history, and in the study of economics, humans are never satisfied with what they have. It is a basic lesson in economics and a driving force in our daily lives. We want more.

When one looks at the economy, we see 90% of businesses are small and medium scale enterprises. And this segment, chances are will fail--- for various reasons. Naturally they can not afford huge operating costs, so naturally, having a higher wage is great but the question on afford ability is a more real consequence.

Our people would have to understand that if they want a more comfortable living, they must work at it. If our people would want a higher paying job, they've got to work at if from day one (school).

And sometimes, there is a whole lot to be said for simple living and the simple joys in life. But we digress.

On the matter of cooperatives--- there is indeed strength in numbers but the choice of going through this route or executing a business alone or with few partners should be on a case-per-case basis. It doesn't hurt that government may advocate all sides so that the budding entrepreneur may be able to judge what is right for his or her particular situation.

The best thing for government to do is encourage entrepreneurship. It may, though it is not its job, cultivate a society that respects each other and oneself. It ought to be able to establish fair labor-employer laws and decisions that respect and uphold equally the rights of both parties. Many of these measures are already being executed in spite of this not being a perfect world. At least slowly, reforms are being made.


mlq3 said...

As you know, there's an agreement to create an umbrella organization uniting all the forces against GMA. it's called "bukluran para sa katotohanan." we'd like to get the blogosphere involved by those of us who agree on the points of unity, to come out wthstatement of support on monday,m when the big, and final push for impeachment will begin. the points of unity are: 1. each is a truth seeker 2. gma must go because she does not have the trust of the people 3. we beleive in peaceful, democratic ways of solving this crisis.

let me know if you're interested in joining the common blog effort on monday.