Let's imagine then, not just California, but the entire world, waking up one day to discoverFilipinos have disappeared. We're talking here aboutthe six or seven million Filipinos currently workingoverseas in countries with names that run the entirealphabet, from Angola to Zimbabwe.
Let's not worry first about why or how the Filipinos disappeared; in fact, it becomes academic whetherit's a day or a week. Just imagine .... a world without Filipinos.Think of the homes that are dependent on Filipinohousekeepers, nannies, caregivers. The homes wouldbe chaotic as kids cry out for their nannies. HongKong and Singaporean and Taiwanese yuppie couples are now forced to stay home and realizing, goodness,there's so much of housework that has to be handledand how demanding their kids can be and hey, what'sthis strange language they're babbling in?It's not just the children that are affected.
The problems are even more serious with the elderly inhomes and nursing institutions, because Filipinocaregivers have provided so much of the criticalservices they need. When temporary contractualworkers are brought in from among non-Filipinos, the elderly complain. They want their Filipino caregivers back because they have that special touch, that extra patience and willingness to stayan hour more when needed.
Hospitals, too, are adversely affected because somany of the disappeared Filipinos were physicians,nurses and other health professionals. All appointments for rehabilitation services, fromchildren with speech problems to stroke survivors,are indefinitely postponed because of disappearedspeech pathologists, occupational and physicaltherapists!Eventually, the hospital administrators announcethey won't take in any more patients unless the conditions are serious. Patients are told to followtheir doctors' written orders and, if they havequestions, to seek advice on several Internetmedical sites. But within two days, the hospitals are swamped with new complaints.
The websites aren't working because of missing Filipino webdesigners and website managers.Service establishments throughout the world --restaurants, supermarkets, hotels -- all close downbecause of their missing key staff involved in management and maintenance. In Asia, hotels complainabout the missing bands and singers.
In the United States, many commercial establishmentshave to close shop, not just because of the missingFilipino sales staff but because their suppliers have all been sending in notices about delays inshipments. Yup, the shipping industry has gone intoa crisis because of missing Filipino seafarers.The shipping firms begin to look into the emergencyrecruitment of non-Filipino seafarers but then declare another crisis: They're running out ofsupplies of oil for their ships because the MiddleEastern countries have come to a standstill withouttheir Filipino workers, including quite a fewworking for the oil industry.
Frantic Presidents and Prime Ministers call on the United Nations to convene a special session of theSecurity Council but Kofi Annan says he can't do that because the UN system itself is on the edge,with so many of their secretarial and clerical staff, as well as translators, having disappeared from their main headquarters in New York and Geneva,as well as their regional offices throughout the world. Quite a number of UN services, especiallyrefugee camps, are also in danger of closing downbecause of missing Filipino health professionals andteachers.Annan also explains that he can't convene UNmeetings because the airports in New York,Washington and other major US cities have been shut down.
The reason? The disappeared Filipinos included quite a few airport security personnel who used to check passengers and their baggage.Annan calls on the World Bank and internationalprivate foundations for assistance but they'recrippled, too, because their Filipino consultantsand staff are nowhere to be seen. Funds can't be remitted and projects can't run without thetechnical assistance provided for by Filipinos.
An exasperated Annan calls on religious leaders topray, and pray hard. But when he phones the Pope, he is told the Catholic Church, too, is in crisisbecause the disappeared include the many Filipinopriests and nuns in Rome who help run day-to-dayactivities, as well as missionaries in thefrontlines of remote posts, often the only ones providing basic social services.As they converse, Annan and the Pope agree on one thing: the world has become a quieter place sincethe Filipinos disappeared. It isn't just thesilencing of work and office equipment formerlyhandled by Filipinos; no, it seems there's much lesslaughter now that the Filipinos aren't around, both the laughter of the Filipinos and those they served.
I know, I'ts exaggerating the contributions of Filipinos to the world but considering what the producers of "A Day Without Mexicans" had in mind:using a bit of hyperbole to shake people up. As their blurb for the film goes: "How do you make the invisible, visible? " " Make them invisible."To realize this not so much for the Hong Kong Chinese and Taiwanese and Singaporeans and Americans who don't appreciate us enough, than for us, who as Filipinos,are pretty good at putting ourselves down, atmaking ourselves invisible.
Pinagmamalaki ko ..... ako ay isang PILIPINO !