As a Filipino working on a distant land, I am very much biased when it comes to fellow OFWs. Some people in the country look at us with joy, pride and gratitude for our collective part in the national economy. Some people from the bourgeoisie and hard-line nationalists view us as traitors and arrogant for leaving the country behind.
But that’s another matter.
What made me revel in those lines of thoughts was the recent case of May Vecina, the Filipina domestic helper who killed a 7 year old child In Kuwait. I was not aware of the case until my friend notified me about it and showed me the Inquirer story.
With the help of the Philippine government, they were able to get a full pardon for her. She was initially given a death sentence in May of 2008. It was then commuted to life imprisonment July 2008, and now, a full pardon.
She is now back in the Philippines with a hero-like welcome. The government would give her 10,000 pesos cash assistance and an extra 50,000 loan to start a small business. Scholarships for her kids are on the table as well.
Talk about a twisted case of reward and punishment.
Sure, as most sad stories of our kababayans working abroad, she must have suffered emotional and physical stress at work. Her employers might have been abusive. One might probably be justified in killing his/her employer in self-defense, or in some cases, they get raped by their employer so they retaliate and kill them.
But killing an innocent 7 year old? I don’t think so.
What if we are on the other side of the story? What if it was a Filipina child murdered by a non-Filipino? I bet the whole country would raise hell.
Surely the efforts of the Philippine government in helping out Vecina should be commended, but actually rewarding her with scholarships and cash assistance? That would be a slap in the face for those migrants languishing in jail for the crimes they did not commit and for those who have suffered and are continuously suffering abuses at the hands of their foreign employers.
And while I may have my personal biases, Vecina’s action is in no way justified and the government’s treatment only shows their unending effort at self-promotion.
Instead of politicking and making pogi points, our government should extend more efforts to help out other migrants who really needed the help they truly deserve.