Sunday, September 8, 2013

OWWAt the &#@(!

I’m not into blogging anymore due to the gravity of what my new work requires. But as they say, once a blogger, always a blogger. No matter what subsequent lives you live, time will come when you’ll just have to grab your thoughts and lay it along the cyber pavements for others to see and read. There would always be experiences in our lives that just don’t need to be kept to ourselves. Success stories are most of them, you got promoted in your job, your girlfriend said yes and your son graduated from school and the list goes on as endless and infinite.

But apart from these, horrible stories shouldn’t as well be kept in the closet. Not only that sharing the same could save other people from going through the same torment or prep them up for situations born to upset and consummate, simply expressing your disappointment over matters that deserve better treatment, in itself, is a step towards making the ringleaders of these horrible things aware that they are not doing any good.

There are things that are just naturally horrible, people, places and attitudes in particular. Who doesn’t hate the Kardasians? Or Justin Bieber? Or Cristy Fermin? I am sure you also despise these people sky-high even without them knowing you or inflicting you some physical or emotional anxiety. How about human attitudes? Well, this aspect is limitless but perhaps very subjective. How you deal with others might be good for some but disgusting to others. Places? Few but there might be one that always finds its way to the top of each Filipinos’ list: government agencies and offices! Imagine long disorderly cue, poor facilities, lukewarm services, corrupt employees and manual processes. The setbacks are lengthy and I am not even complaining yet.

I am an OFW in Dubai and being isolated from the Philippines, you might be thinking we are spared from the usual disease that plagues the services of our government establishments back home. Well, I guess it’s time for you to be reminded how global we are, so much so that even in government offices abroad, the legendary pinoy service is just as evident and rampant and from what we’ve seen in the news, in some other parts of the world, their services have become inhumane and irresponsible. Remember the sex for flight scheme in embassies/consulates in some Middle East countries. While Filipinos who works abroad only have good intentions backing up their diasporas, it seems the concerned government body tasked to protect and oversee their welfare has a far different agenda. They just couldn’t leave behind the attitudes and actions that have placed these government offices as the ultimate house of half baked sincerity and quality and total disservice.

A couple of days ago, I went to the OWWA office in Dubai to secure an OEC  (Overseas Employment Certificate) and at the same time pay for Pag-ibig and OWWA contribution. What I expected to be just an hour of waiting has proved to become a half-day unproductive use of potential energy. While naturally all things in time should go better, it seems the service at the OWWA office heads up for the worse. Maiba lang? Well, it’s not funny. It’s beyond horrible. Even before passing through the compound gate, there are people outside whom you’ll suspect as fixers; fixers for taxis, fixers for hungry stomach, etc., but that doesn’t take a toll at all for people whose purpose is to get an OEC. We get that, Filipinos see opportunities and will make a living out of it.

What really consummates your patience and calm are the instances inside the compound. I am not entirely sure how the whole OEC issuance process is done but waiting for four hours was just too much to bear. There were not enough seats in the holding area, the air-conditioning was very minimal. If you complain why the process is taking so long, the staff will even have the bravery to tell that if you don’t want to wait, you can leave and get your OEC somewhere else. Call it customer service! Then the names are being called 10 – 15 people every 30 minutes. Until you reach the final waiting area, you will never know what’s causing the slow turnaround time, jaraannn…. the whole process is completely manual! From the issuance of the official receipts to the verification, I guess the staffs are happy to see the long cue of Filipinos as they get reminded of home. But truth to tell, if this OEC, Pag-ibig and OWWA contribution are not mandatory, I definitely wouldn’t find myself spending time to visit this place.

Coming home, for us OFWs, is the most awaited time of the year. It’s when we gear up and feel the most excitement. Never mind the expenses, never mind the expectations, we will provide the means to live up and make our families happy. Even when some circumstances gets in the way and tend to upset and entangle our anticipation with bad vibes, it won’t matter in the end. As soon as we set foot on the land where our homes are built, we forget all the harm done and sanguine, that improvements awaits the next time we come home, coz that's something we will never miss to do.



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