Vice President Jejomar Binay on Sunday hailed US-based web giant Google for taking down a Singaporean blog that listed ways to harass Filipinos in the island-nation.
In a statement, Binay thanked Google for not allowing itself “to be a platform for prejudice and ethnic discrimination.”
“I laud everyone from Google for leading the drive in keeping the World Wide Web free from bigotry and intolerance,” he added.
Filipinos called the attention of the Singaporean government when a blog, advocating discrimination against Filipinos living there, was published anonymously through a Google platform.
The blog listed five ways to harass Filipinos that would not be illegal in Singapore.
Some of the means suggested were declining to be served by Filipinos in a restaurant, refraining from helping Filipinos in a traffic accident, and “accidentally” pushing Filipinos towards a throng of people.
Binay said that in the face of such discrimination, Filipinos must hold their heads high.
He quoted statesman Carlos Romulo who once wrote: “In our blood runs the immortal seed of heroes—seed that flowered down the centuries in deeds of courage.”
“Let us be proud of our culture and heritage, but at the same time, let us also be examples of tolerance, respect, and acceptance,” he said.
Binay said that a “shining example” of Filipino “talent and determination” is Xyza Cruz Bacani, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Hong Kong whose stunning photos were featured in The New York Times.
The Vice President said that Bacani did not let her humble background get in the way of her pursuit for her passion for photography, which she now plans to use to advance the cause of her fellow OFWs.
Hong Kong has also played a part in discriminating against Filipinos as one of its school textbooks typified a Filipino as a household helper.
In Singapore, there are some 170,000 Filipinos, most of whom are professionals, a far cry from a decade ago when Filipinos work there in the domestic sector.
Some Singaporeans see Filipino professionals as rivals for jobs. The Singaporean government is forced to depend on foreign workers because of low population growth.
Only 60 percent of Singapore’s 5.4 million population is composed of natives of the island-nation.
Most foreign workers there come from China, India and the Philippines. The influx of foreign workers has been seen to spark anti-immigrant sentiments.
Binay, however, stressed that the Philippines and Singapore maintained good relations.
“Singapore and its citizens are our good friends and partners in the Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations], and host tens of thousands of our workers, to the mutual benefit of both our nations,” Binay said.
The blogger, in choosing to hide behind the veil of anonymity, knew he would be held liable for what he wrote under Singaporean law against hate speech, he added.
“And even as we condemn hate speech, we Filipinos reiterate our well wishes for the people of Singapore,” the vice president said.