We need to keep our OFWs within the bosom of national concerns, view them as an essential part of national life and stop treating them merely as sources of remittances. As family members and as a nation, we must send our loved ones abroad and invest their earnings wisely so that in the future there may no longer be any need for them to leave.
Rina Jimenez David, Inquirer, Dec. 12, 2007

As in the beginning, as it always
Will be, this malady of our mischief.
The exporting of bodies warm, supple,
And strong, and there in desert lands
We are forever and ever a nation
A skeleton of endless sins.
Alien to itself: we make do with abuse
For desserts if food is for the senses
And not for the tongue. Like this one:
Four hundred thousand dollars
Of blood money and our prestige
To pay honor exacted upon honor.
She killed her she who made her dead
To defend the drunken shadows
Of a country that pushed
Teachers, nurses, and our hopes
To go away because in Surigao
Dreams and dinar do not grow on trees
Nor on lands in the hands of those
Whose money is from our blood,
A long time ago, this story of our being
Strangers before our saints and angels
And patrons of our good voyages
That make us wish we never left.
But regrets come in handy
When what we have got
Is a past too fragile to hold a future?
Blood money is blood money
And the circle begins from here
Like how to define honor and shame
And when the two are the same.
You get our dollars we earned
The hard way by letting the blades
In the words of kings and queens
And masters get stuck in our throats
So we can never utter a word.
And then the money we bring home
Will be used by presidents to pay
For our freedom only to end up
In the same line of passports
Bound for foreign emirates so
We cannot become teachers again
But slaves, slaves, and slaves.
We do not have the shackles in the hand
But the mind is in prison cells,
Colder and more callous than a homeland.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI Dec 12-07

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