hazel, a Pinay OFW working as a dancer in Japan cries rape against an American serviceman, three days after she arrived in the land of the rising sun. the case has been dropped by Okinawa police due to “lack of sufficient evidence”. nanay melly, left behind in the philippines, feels helpless, and distance is beside the point. there’s been no government support for her daughter, who would otherwise be seen as a “bagong bayani”, who bringshome the bacon, if not the dollars.
mary, a Pinay OFW from Dubai, comes home and decides to get liposuction. the pressure to be thin(ner) than she is, is too much; media images of acceptable women tell her she is otherwise. she dies on the operating table of the Borough Medical Center in Libis Q.C.
in 2006, Pinay nicole got justice in the lower courts, as Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was convicted of raping her. even then, the GMA gov’t allowed for Smith to be kept under US custody in the US Embassy. now, a year and a half later, news has leaked that the Court of Appeals Justice Vasquez Jr., is leaning towards Smith’s acquittal.
juana, an OFW since 2003, was suppose to get her permanent residency in Canada in 2006, as per Canada’s federal live-in caregiver program. as she went through the required medical and criminal clearances, she was found to have cancer. juana asked that the good health requirement be waived for humanitarian reasons, given the fact that she had worked well enough to meet all other requirements for residency. the Canadian gov’t sees her as a liability, a burden to the health care system. now, with stage 4 cancer, the chances remain slim that juana will be granted residency; even slimmer that the Philippine gov’t will help her cause. she has until august 8 to leave Canada.
nanay erlinda cadapan, mother of U.P. student sherlyn who has been missing for two years, finds herself on ANC program “Media in Focus”, beside a female PNP officer who tells her “you are more than welcome in my office anytime, Mrs. Cadapan.” the emptiest line she could possibly hear after two years of searching in vain for sherlyn, and dealing with the police and military’s refusal to cooperate and investigate their own ranks. nanay connie empeño, must feel exactly the same way.
at the end of the segment that featured her, nanay erlinda asks a rhetorical question: bakit po kaya si ces drilon, sampung araw lang ay nahanap na ng gobyerno, samantalang ang aking anak na dalawang taon nang nawawala, at napakarami po naming witnesses, ay hindi ninyo kami matulungan sa paghahanap?
to which host cheche lazaro, maybe surprised that her colleague ces was being dragged into the discussion, or maybe aghast that this woman dared put a media personality on the same level as a student activist, or even that nanay erlinda dared pinpoint a clear discrepancy between how hi-profile personalities and the everyday person is treated by gov’t, says: ano po bang gusto ninyong gawin ng gobyerno para sa kaso ninyo?
as if the answers aren’t obvious enough. as if media itself isn’t guilty of creating the kinds of lives that real women have in this country; or isn’t guilty of perpetuating the notion that we don’t have answers to such cut and dried questions.
as if we didn’t know that if gov’t really cared for its women, then none of them – none of us – would be in the news. for being other than what we want to be, away from home and family, and our sense of selves.