ABU DHABI : UNITED ARAB EMIRATES : And among Filipinos working in the Middle East, the talk inevitably turns to home.

In encounters in hallways, on buses, while getting a haircut, we chat about our shared experiences as expats with deep connections to our home.

Millions of Filipinos across the region are respected for their professionalism and high-quality work, while in the Philippines opportunities are scarce and wages very low.

Yet systematic corruption and patronage politics in our resource rich country provide well for our rulers and those who support them.

Indeed, Philippines democracy - with its reign of celebrity, dynasties and nepotism - is the opposite of meritocracy.

Incompetence is forgiven in those who show fidelity to the rulers, while fame and its pursuit are spun as competence, which has always served the powerful well. Despite President Rodrigo Duterte's  electoral promises. little has changed where it matters most : our political culture.

One recent blunder here in the  Middle East sums up well the transactional relationship between Filipino politicians and those who work for them.

Some months ago, the Kuwait government severed diplomatic ties with the Philippines after Filipino officials staged a covert,  unilateral operation there to extricate workers whom they said had been abused by their employers.

After the  Duterte administration gleefully turned it into a  publicity stunt, the Kuwaitis accused the Philippines of  extra judicial action and violation of sovereignty , expelling our ambassador and arresting embassy staff.

Some  260,000  Filipinos were left in Kuwait without representation from their country. The seriousness of this cannot be overstated, given the urgent problem of migrant worker abuse in the Middle East.

Despite the government's showboating, none of the  Filipino officials involved has been held responsible till the time of this publishing May 25, 2018.

One was  Mocha Uson, a blogger who parlayed her fame as a sexy dancer into a position overseeing the  president's social media.

She was in Kuwait during the operation and publicized it to her sizable online following, posting the video the eventually outraged the Kuwaiti government.

The honor and serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Migration Workers
problems  and state of the world,  continues to Part 2. !WOW! thanks Professor Miguel Syjuco, N.Y.U, Abu Dhabi.


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