Hola a todos,
In June this year, President Noynoy Aquino III, issued Proclamation 181, or otherwise known as the Pinoy Homecoming Years 2011 to 2016. On the outset, I see some noble cause behind this effort on the part of the Presidency. The Department of Tourism itself indicated that it is meant to boost Philippine tourism because it will attract Filipino balikbayans to come and see their families at any time of the year.
But you know, I have a skeptical feeling about the effective result because it appears to me as an irrational manner of inviting your own countrymen to visit their own country. In the first place, Filipinos left the country for one good reason or another, say for “greener pasture”, the topmost “because” why thousands have migrated to the US, to Canada, to Europe, to Australia, to other Asian countries, precisely for the purpose of revving up their financial status, which is wanting, if they remain in the Philippines. Most of these Filipinos have already found their “dreams come true”, although admittedly, some failed or some continue to struggle. For those who met success, they´ve decided to settle down in their chosen land, but for those who continue to struggle they still chose to remain in the country they´ve established in because going back home would be like finding themselves “going back to sleep on the floor”, while they are already sleeping in a bed – bluntly putting it. But the question remains: why had it become “unattractive” for pinoys, who have already experienced good bounty outside of their country, to return or even to visit the Philippines? I´ve spoken to a lot of Filipinos here in Madrid and outside of Spain, and more often than not, I get the same answer to the question: “when do you plan to return to the Philippines? Very often the answer had been: “when I retire”. The rest would say, “well, when I am able to save some money to spend in my visit”. Others would simply shrug their shoulders and say..”I don´t know”, “I am not sure..” While the more undecided ones won´t even say a word!. I´ve met a lot of Filipinos who have not gone home for years, and I mean lots of years.
I ask therefore: Will the proclamation provide them some sort of a concession while in the Philippines? Will they be given 50% discounts when shopping? Will they be accorded a “red-carpet” welcome at the airport? Will the President receive them in a private audience?.. You know there are hundreds of questions as to “why now?”. Isn´t it that a Filipino can just freely go home and visit the Philippines without having to be “invited” through a Presidential Proclamation? Have I done something wrong in leaving the country that I have now to be “invited” to return, else I am not welcome?
I come to a thought, instead of inviting Filipinos, why not invite foreigners who can afford more to spend in the Philippines?
Hasta luego a todos.
NOTE: The above is a personal opinion of this author and should not be misconstrued as libelous on its form. Freedom of the press is a constitutional right provided in Art. 3, Sec. 4 of the Philippine Constitution which protects me as a Filipino.