Letter to The Sydney Morning Herald – published or not ??

November 14, 2013 at 4:35 am (Commentary)

I agree with today’s editorial: “Australia has a duty to help the Philippines for the long term”, but for slightly different reasons than those outlined.

I would argue that the developed world has an obligation to help the Philippines because of what Filipinos have done for it. To say that Australians have little in common with Filipinos, and that “rapid economic growth and weak governance” together with over population are to blame for most of the distress in their country, is a little too simplistic.  I see aid to the Philippines in the following light:

The recent disasters and suffering in the Philippines have seen some generous responses from developed countries. But before we in the developed world pat ourselves too much on the back, and say how good we are, we needed to be reminded of how much the Philippines has done for us over the past years.

Hospitals and medical institutes in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe, employ significant numbers of Filipinos.

These people were all trained in the Philippines at their expense. Countries in the developed world are getting the benefits of their skills at no cost to them.

The exit of health professionals from the Philippines to go to the West resulted in the shortage of nurses and doctors there.

It is not only health professionals, but also technicians, engineers, and social scientists from the Philippines that are giving the West the benefits of their training, so let us remind ourselves that anything we do for the Filipinos is no more than we should be doing anyhow!

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