Fetalvero: Measure for measure

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By Noemi C. Fetalvero

Two empty bottles

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


“FOR the measure you use, it will be measured to you,” is a biblical message that should guide us on how we are to treat our brothers and sisters.

Abraham Lincoln—and all the rest who followed—championed the cause against slavery.

However, they might be turning in their graves as modern-day society introduced other forms of enslavement.

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Webster defines slavery as “submission to a dominating influence”; tedious labor; the state of a person who is chattel of another.

Why do you think there is so much social unrest in the Middle East? Under a dictatorial regime, the citizens are subjugated to the ruler. Several years of oppression must have compelled the citizens of Middle Eastern countries to get out of the bondage.

Another form of modern slavery is the condition in sweatshops where laborers are held hostage by their employers; domestic helpers working abroad whose passports are in the hands of their masters; minors working in cocoa farms in Africa are made to work for hours without just compensations.

In our own backyard, we hear about department store employees who are not paid the minimum wage. In order to avoid giving these workers health insurance benefits, membership to Social Security System and Pag-Ibig, big business establishments hire them as contractual workers.

What I consider even more appalling is the “working condition” that entangles children when they are lured by parents to engage in cybersex. These innocent minors are enslaved by their own flesh and blood.

Other forms of bondage are more sophisticated as these are practiced by government employees and recruitment agencies who know that Filipinos would agree to any kind of conditions in order to work abroad. I learned that some employees of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration get a commission from recruitment agencies. These recruitment agencies then get ¾ of the overseas worker’s salary, thus leaving only one-fourth as income for the worker. Is that compassion for the Filipino worker?

I cannot help but smile when I hear the words from the poem Desiderata: “With all the drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 20, 2014.

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