"Our government leaders should heed Mahathir's suggestion."
During the visit of the venerable Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, he warned the Philippines against allowing unrestricted numbers of foreigners into the country and then allowing them to work illegally. He said this could disturb not only the country’s domestic stability but create other social problems as well.
Mahathir also warned the country about the dangers of incurring too much debt from one country. We do not know what prompted him to issue such statements, but it was wise advice and our government leaders should heed the suggestion.
The good Prime Minister knows what he is talking about. One of the first things he did as prime minister was to cancel all the big-ticket projects that was going to be financed by China. One of the problems of Malaysia in the recent past was race relations between the three major ethnic groups that make up the Malaysian population. The predominant Malay group, the Chinese and the Indians. Although we do not read about tensions between the groups anymore, it does not mean that there is none and everything have been solved.
Perhaps the Malaysian government has been able to put some policies in place that mitigated the problem. Maybe a balance has been achieved promoting harmonious relations among the different races. Prime Minister Mahathir who is already 93 led his country for more than 20 years to be what it is today—a prosperous country that is getting even richer.
Who would have thought that at 93 he could still come back to reclaim the Prime Ministership? He said that he would only be a transitional Prime Minister and that eventually, the helm will pass on to his now-political ally Anwar Ibrahim.
Immediately after the statement of the Malaysian Prime Minister, the Department of Labor issued new guidelines on how foreigners could legally work here. One is that work permits should be procured at Philippines consulates or embassies where the prospective foreign worker is coming from. The issuance of a work permit here will henceforth be prohibited.
Part of the problem is of course the fact that Chinese citizens can enter to the Philippines visa free. This is because we want to encourage tourism—but many of these Chinese visitors lose themselves among the population acquiring Christian names like Peter, George or Henry. Before you know it, they are here to stay.
The only reason why we know that they are not Filipinos is that they do not speak a word of English or Filipino. Whether this new Labor regulation will solve the problem of foreigners working here illegally remains to be seen. It would greatly help if the President would be the one to issue a statement. There is such a doctrine in foreign affairs called the doctrine of reciprocity. It means that if a country requires Filipinos to get a visa to visit that country, the Philippines must also require the citizens of that country a visa to enter our country.
But it seems that we have opened our borders to almost everyone in the name of tourism without studying its implication on our national security interests. Right now, there are many foreigners who are embedded with terrorist organizations in Mindanao, conducting training to would be Filipino guerrilla fighters. Maybe the country should be more careful and not be so open. Yes, tourists do bring revenues but in a country such as ours, there are unintended consequences that can threaten our country’s security.
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When PCpl Marlo Quibete was apprehended selling shabu, his commander, PMajor General Guillermo Eleazar reacted in a manner that was criticized by some quarters because his outburst was caught on TV and made it to the evening news. General Eleazar eventually apologized for his spontaneous behavior which is very understandable. The President, Secretary of DILG and his immediate boss General Oscar Albayalde are all backing him up.
Was it all right for General Eleazar to have acted the way he did or could he have handled the situation in a more circumspect way? That single act of Cpl Quibete negated weeks if not months of good police deeds. It is therefore quite understandable to see Eleazar reacting the way he did. Still, it was something that we would expect more from a Sergeant or a young officer who is fresh in the service than an officer of high stature such as Eleazar. Reaching such an exalted rank also demands something of a controlled behavior especially in public. One must always try to control one’s emotions to avoid the negative consequences of such outbursts.
A question that has to be asked is why Quibete was allowed to stay in the service. From his record, he is clearly a misfit in the PNP right from the start. Even as a recruit, he was already a problem. He went AWOL or absent without official leave and was in fact already dismissed from the service only to be reinstated. How did that happen? I hope Quibete is not a symptom of a much bigger problem in the PNP. If he is, then there is a much bigger problem in the hands of Eleazar and Albayalde.
Right now, the PNP is in a huge fight to convince the public that the PNP is their protector. People like Quibete simply make it harder for the people to trust their Police. This is why Eleazar’s actions were so understandable. Ever since he took over the helm of the National Capital Region Police, his style has been hands-on and always in the front lines. He has been trying his best and so far, he has done quite a good job.