Monday, June 23, 2008

110th Philippine Independence Day in Nigeria

by Maynard Flores -PBSN Press Secretary

In our country, it is the time to bring out the flags, emblems and insignias to commemorate our peoples’ struggle for nationhood.

Some of us have grown cynical about the relevance of the occasion, considering the present situation and direction of the country.

But for most of us, it doesn’t matter what was the outcome, long after the cries and shouts for independence had died down.

The idea of being an independent nation is one that gives us pride as citizens, no matter what. It is the moment. It is the feeling. It is the sense of having overcome a three and a quarter century of foreign domination that thrills us into celebrating Independence Day, regardless of our social circumstances.

We celebrate Independence Day not only because it is our duty as citizens of the Republic, but because it imbues us with our national identity – it is what makes us Pinoys and Pinays.

And we carry this sense of pride wherever we go, especially when we are overseas.

And so here in Nigeria, we join the entire Filipino nation and Filipinos around the world in celebrating the 110th anniversary of our nation’s declaration of independence from foreign subjugation.

It is always the year’s highlight in our stay in this gracious host nation of Nigeria.

We are the Naija (Nigeria) Pinoys and Pinays

Our presence here is a testament to the global professional excellence of the Filipino workforce. Most of us are here in Nigeria because our professional skills are in demand. And we have come to love working and staying in this country that has provided us well with amenities and friendships.

Some of us have brought our families here. Some of us have had our children born and raised in Nigeria. And still some of us have married Nigerians (or is it the Nigerians who got married to Filipinos/nas?) and are proud of it.

Despite the occasional job hazard to life and limb, working and living in Nigeria is like having a vacation. We are never far from home in most aspects. And we are proud and happy being Naija OFW’s (Overseas Filipino Workers).

New Heroes of the Millennium
It is a nice catchy phrase. But every time we hear it, we can only smirk and chuckle about what it really means to us --- nothing.

Due to the kidnapping of a few oil field workers in Southeast Nigeria, the Philippine government has imposed an employment ban of Filipinos to Nigeria. This has caused a mounting frustration among us OFWs in Nigeria, an irony to our government’s paean to us as ‘new heroes.’

But yes, we are heroes, in the sense that we have braved working in foreign lands, facing various risks, and enduring homesickness, in order to help our family and the national economy through our sacrifices and remittances.

For our families left back home, we are heroes, indeed.

For our government and politicians, we are just 0.01 percent of the remittance, a very small margin of heroes.

But we Filipinos are incorrigible optimists. We continue to hope and pray that the Philippine government will soon lift the OFW deployment ban to Nigeria.

We celebrated our Independence Day in Nigeria, with the usual pride and pomp.
Proud to be Naija OFWs.

Proud to be a Filipino.

Mabuhay !
Copyright © 2008 to Barangay OFW. All rights reserved.

No comments: