Your Filipina Pen Pal!

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Friday, February 17, 2006

mortgaging our population

pulling back from viagra superstar rik for a minute, because there is only so much nausea and rage i can handle in a given amount of time. in terms of the IMF/WB context in which the filipina pen pal exists, here's an excerpt from an interview with ninotchka rosca:

[Rosca] believes that prostitution in the Philippines, the sex trafficking of women and the ongoing mail-order bride situation are the responsibility of numerous governments, as well as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.

"The Philippines is constantly adjudged credit-worthy - having good credit - and the simple reason for that is because we mortgage our population. We send our workers overseas, and the money that comes back is used to pay the interest on the loans," she said. Rosca explained that the root of this problem is the subservience of the Philippines to the IMF, World Bank and the WTO.

"The IMF/World Bank has been lending money to Philippine presidents, beginning with Marcos, even though it knows full well that a large percentage of that loan is being pocketed - stolen - by government officials. And as we see today, despite $45 billion of loans, the Philippines is still poor. It hasn't advanced an inch!"

Rosca had previously criticized the Ramos administration for encouraging the commodification of Filipino women by tying in a beauty pageant with the Philippine centennial celebration. She is glad that the Philippines is rid of Estrada, but doesn't feel positive about the current Arroyo administration. "From my distant vantage point, I actually see certain government decisions which are extremely dangerous to women. Very notably, the decision of the Arroyo government to allow the United States military to use Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base," said Rosca.

She believes that allowing the U.S. military to come back to use the Philippine bases is extremely perilous because " . . . it took us nearly half a century of struggle to get the United States military out of the country . . . and history and experience have shown us that it is almost impossible to get the U.S. military out once they are in there . . . and now, just on the say-so of one woman president, the U.S. military is going to be back in the Philippines."

According to Rosca, prostitution was de facto legalized while the U.S. military was in the Philippines. "What they did was they invented euphemisms - labels - different names for prostitutes. They called them hospitality girls, entertainment whatever, you know, to hide the fact that there is prostitution going on."

"Now here in the United States," she continued, "if you look at the military bases, they're all rimmed by brothel houses, nightclubs, bars, etc., and you check out who the women are . . . they are women of color: black Americans or Koreans or Filipinas. In fact, 25,000 women from the Philippines and South Korea have been brought to the United States for this particular purpose!"

Rosca is quick to note that the second-most common occupation of women who leave the Philippines is the sex industry.

Since the inception of Gabnet and the Purple Rose Campaign, which educates the world about the sex trafficking of women and children, Rosca's voice has been heard all over the world.

speaking of euphemism: "pen pal."

read the rest here.

and once again, the link to the
gabriela network's purple rose campaign.


  • At 2/17/2006 1:06 PM, Blogger bino said…

    thanks for that bj. i totally agree about the government simply "mortgaging" the people. i have this book called "let the good times roll: prostitution and the u.s. military in asia" that has oral interviews of women who were systematized "hospitality girls" in the phils and other parts of asia. really good read. it was by saundra pollock sturdevant and brenda stoltzfus.

    this is happening right this very moment with that young filipina woman allegedly raped by five u.s. marines in november. where will this particular incident go in the legal system?

  • At 2/17/2006 2:45 PM, Blogger Jean said…

    Thanks for this post and the information from Ninotchka, BJ; I'm checking in from the local internet cafe...


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