First thing I want to say is I am not Matt, I read the blog regularly but I live in the U.S. and have done since I was 9 I am now 46 and started looking at information for retirement myself as I want to go set my plans in motion while I am still young enough.The thing is I have brought the subject up with people I know from the Filipino community that are part of military service here in the U.S. who will retire once their 20 years of service is completed. Most are going to retire in the U.S. and not go back to the Philippines and the more I asked why the more it makes sense for me to stay in the U.S. and retire as well.
Although the S.S. has its flaws like many other countries I would rather live here than back in the Philippines and more importantly I will give my reasons why below.
Bangko ng bayan – The borrowing by neighbours,friends and relatives has been mentioned plenty of times in this blog and its true. Always an excuse to come and pester people they think have got money. A sick child, tuition fees or even Fiesta or a birthday party always got someone with their handout knocking at the door of the wealthy retiree with a pension or any OFW for that matter. They will often borrow as they like to call it but they are never going to repay and have no intention of trying to.
Safety In Your Own Community – Doesn’t matter if you were born and raised in an area money always comes into everything that is wrong with the Philippines and once people know I have a pension from the U.S. you become a target of‘akyat-bahay’ gangs or kidnappings from people you may even know.
Lack Of Emergency Services – Here in the U.S. you can dial 911 and you will get an ambulance within a few minutes. In the Philippines might as well call ghost busters as nobody is coming to your aid. Even if there was how reliable would it be in the bad traffic of Cebu or Manila? I would die before they even arrived. That doesn’t even take into account of having to have a good medical insurance for which who can you rely on in the Philippines to cover?
Corruption In Government-I am not talking about the senators and governors of the Philippines as we are all well aware of how their corruption cripples the country. I am talking about basic issues such as renewing passports, getting a driving license or even social security. Everything goes at a snails pace on purpose as they want you to bribe them to “speed things up”. In reality they sit there doing nothing most of the time stalling the system wanting you to bribe because they sure as hell are going to make things slow and difficult on purpose until they get paid.
Traffic And Pollution – Visit anywhere in the Philippines and you will see old vehicles spluttering dust and toxic fumes into the air. Head into the cities and your going to find you need a shower after being outside due to the dust and pollution. If I feel dirty from being outside what is this doing to my lungs? Wandering around you will find rivers full of filth, open sewers that you really don’t even want to guess what is in them but its not hard with the stench coming from them and then there is the litter everywhere. Guys will urinate wherever it pleases them regardless if signs are there telling them not to, these sort of people make me ashamed to be Filipino. Add to that pesticides and other chemicals in the farming that leak into our rivers makes me question what is in our food chain and who is monitoring it? Add to all of this it takes ages to get anywhere due to the congestion of traffic as well as drivers are not only undisciplined they are often unlicensed, drugged or drunk.
My Wife Is Not Filipino – This makes a bigger problem than you realise when you consider how racist and sexist the laws are in the Philippines. From a general perspective the fact a guy can impregnate a woman then run away with no worry about having to pay to support the child no wonder our country has so many children there is no responsibility enforced! In the U.S. as many of the foreigners in the Philippines know the government will force men to pay for their children and can even take it direct from your pay. If his work stops once it restarts there are back payments accumulated so eventually he will have to pay up anything he owes.
Domestic violence is a big problem in Philippines yet who is stopping these offences happening? I don’t think the Philippines takes it seriously nor does it take rape seriously especially when they happen in the famous universities. If anything they pay off families to stop the universities having a bad reputation and the rapists no doubt can go on to carry on their offences if from a rich family. At the same time what message is this for us to give to children?
The Philippines was once home and now somewhere I like to visit to see friends and family. I cannot live there anymore.I visit from time to time and even then I sometimes get annoyed with friends expecting to freeload on me for everything while I am there which in the U.S. you wouldn’t visit twice! I know its how the Philippines is but it makes trips very expensive as I don’t like to be seen as being thrifty but it does seem people don’t mind abusing my friendship. I still have a few years until my retirement, if things don’t change for the better I for one will not be going home and I get the feeling the Philippines has no interest in changing and if anything likely to get worse due to the attitudes of the nation. I am proud to be Filipino at the same time I struggle to be proud of the Philippines many people poked fun at me with the Manila bus disaster and I say disaster because it was! This was a big shame for us abroad because it couldn’t be done any worse yet I know its likely if something was done again it would be just as bad as there are too many people too proud to ask for help from foreign nations that are more than capable of not only the hostage situation but pretty much anything that the country needs.