Saturday, April 25, 2009
This is an elevated covered walkway running perpendicular to a busy thoroughfare in Cotabato City, meant to protect both pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers plying this route. It also doubles as an area for hanging streamers and posters of congratulations to successful examinees from the city who passed the licensure examinations for physicians and nurses just released a few days before this photo was taken.
It's a poignant reminder on how many a Filipino family's hopes are pinned on college education. College education- which can lead to good employment- is their family's protection. And recently, with the Philippines having "exported" some 50,000 nurses in the last decade alone, having a licensed nurse in the family is almost like manna from heaven. Imagine, a Filipino nurse working in the country maybe earning roughly USD 200 per month, while s/he can earn something like at least 10 times that outside the country. To sweeten the pot, with the employment there also comes the chance to emigrate with his/her entire family. It seems like a no-brainer. To make matters worse, some 9,000 Filipino physicians are training or already have trained to become nurses, with a great number already employed in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, among other countries. Hospitals are being closed due to the absence of doctors who will run them and go on duty in them.
All this is happening in our country where 7 out of 10 Filipinos die without ever being attended to by a health professional.
So who's taking care of us left behind here?
I pray it will be those whose names are plastered on this elevated walkway...
To work in another country to feed your family or to stay in the country in service of your fellow Filipinos? It's not really a no-brainer, is it?