• Let’s open a refugee center


    WE agree with Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon–let’s open a refugee center in our country.

    Like us, Mr. Gordon feels that the Philippines “should not turn its back to the migrants who are escaping from wars in the Middle East and should instead accept refugees.”

    Mr. Gordon’s proposal is for our refugee center “to process applications of refugees who want to enter Europe.”

    Gordon’s proposal follows the European leaders’ recognition of the fact that “the current wave of migration is not a one-time incident but the beginning of a real exodus as thousands of people are forced to turn to body smugglers or take dangerous attempts to flee from poverty and persecution in their war-torn countries.”

    The leaders of Europe are searching for solutions as armed conflicts in mainly Syria and Iraq unceasingly send hundreds of thousands of refugees on dangerous voyages through the Balkans and across the Mediterranean to the 28-nation European Union.

    “The heart-rending photo of a toddler washed offshore in Turkey presents a graphic picture of an ever worsening humanitarian crisis in Europe. The toddler drowned while the family was fleeing to Europe away from Syria. A number of migrants drowned, perished in the sea, some suffocated while traveling on lorries. Europe is now facing a very serious humanitarian crisis,” Gordon has been quoted as saying.

    Gordon pointed out that the Philippines has a long history of helping migrants. In the 1940s, the Philippines saved the lives of Jews from the Holocaust in Germany; White Russians in 1923; Chinese refugees fleeing communism in 1949, and Spanish Republicans in 1939. We also welcomed Vietnamese refugees, the original “boat people,” who sailed to the Philippine seeking safety and a future at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. We opened a refugee for the Vietnamese in Bataan and Palawan.

    As we have said in other editorials about helping the refugees and others in need, we must be actively in solidarity with the rest of mankind. And we must not be so petty-minded as to agree with some of our fellow Filipinos who want our attention and faculties for compassion to be directed solely to the many who are poor and suffering here in our own archipelago.

    We repeat: that point of view – “worry about our own problems before worrying about others” — is wrong. It runs against the compassion we believe most of our countrymen as Filipinos and people of faith strive to uphold, however imperfectly. We live in a different country, but we live on the same planet.

    The problem of people forced out of their homes by war and despotic rulers, left with no choice but to make a dangerous and all too often deadly trek to an uncertain future in search of a place where they can find a little safety and dignity is not a “Syrian problem,” or a “European problem,” or a “Muslim problem,” it is a human problem.

    Our sense of humanity demands that we respond positively and help them who are in need.


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    1. They say a Muslim problem requires a Muslim solution so why aren’t the big gulf state nations not opening their doors to the Syrian refugees? I think non Muslim nations should stay away from this mess and let the Muslims resolve their own problem.

    2. The Ph. is not in a position to undertake a monumental task like this. Of course, we can assume that the country will get financial assistance from other countries, like the U.S., Canada, and even the U.N. Which I believe is the really reason why our “kindhearted” politician wants to do this. Money coming in. But, we know for a fact that the funds will be funneled down into the pockets of our usually corrupt politicians. Look at the Yolanda disaster. With all the money donated from outside the country, was the rehabilitation ever completed? The money is not going to be a problem. The problem will always be the people handling the projects and the funds. They have very itchy fingers. I have to regretfully vote NO to this proposal.

      • I agree with you. In fact, some of the money that was donated from abroad to help out the Yolanda victims appear to have been either misspent or misappropriated by the usual thieves. We haven’t seen any reports accounting for these donations. Meanwhile many of the typhoon victims are still homeless, jobless and waiting for aid from their own Government. If the latter cannot even take proper care of its own (refugees from typhoons and some such), how can it take care of those refugees from other countries?


    3. the intent is noble, and i agree with the idea, but can we have a closer look first with our internal displaced folks least we forget.

      • I agree. Kung ang tunay na intensyon ay tumulong. Bakit hindi natin kamustahin ang kalagayan ng mga biktima ng Yolanda. Naayos na ba sila? Kung pera ang paguusapan, hindi problema iyun kasi bilyong piso ang nakulekta nila. Pero, nasaan ang mga pera? Totoo na ang refugee camp ay susuportahan ng U.N. at Red Cross. Pero, saan ba ang akala ninyo mapupunta ang mga perang i-dodonate diyan para sa mga refugees? At paano kung ang mga pera ay maubos? Ano ang gagawin ng mga pinuno natin sa mga refugees? Kaya ba nilang suportahan, pakainin, bigyan ng trabaho?

    4. Opening a refugee center in the Philippines is an exemplary public relations ploy, especially for international consumption. So it won’t unduly aggravate domestic opposition, perhaps two elements can be considered a priori conditions for its establishment, namely : firstly, the center is financed and maintained by UNHCR but operated by Philippine authorities and secondly, there is a guaranteed third party resettlement country willing to accept the refugee within a specific period of time.

    5. Before going into some sort of festivity about Philippines being so ‘humane’, it is best to take a good hard look at our own local plight, with killings of Lumads in the south and the yet unanswered pleas for rehabilitation in areas hard hit by Yolanda – how on earth can this country survive with allowing refugees to come into the country and shelter and feed them?

      Okay, so it started with a child found on the shore of Turkey, for Europeans to see the harsh reality, but did those innocent lumads, who got murdered by the paramilitary force have the same sympathy? Before, we open up our bleeding hearts towards those who come from afar, how about caring more for those who are our own?

      Besides, if those European countries that are now seeing a huge influx of refugees into their countries, would put up a processing center and have these refugees queue up and apply on a certain country with a booth that allows refugees to seek asylum, quess what? The booth baring our country’s name would gather flies.

      • As followers of Christ, it is our Christian duty to help those who are in need. Having our own problems here in our country should not stop us from being of humanitarian service to other nations. Besides, it doesn’t matter if the booth bearing our country’s name will only gather flies, what matters is that we tried to be of help to others.

      • Besides, isn’t it sharing when you really don’t have an extra, which is the real generosity of spirit?

      • Christianity? Sharing that matters? Where exactly is this now under this administration is it evident?

        Lumads being murdered, Yolanda striken areas unrehabilitated, donations rotting and undistributed, there is no sign of ample generosity in spirit here, for our own people much less our own relatives. Are you hearing yourself? Or, are you just one of those who truly believe on slogans and propaganda?

        Our booth would gather flies, simply because the refugees chose not to come here and would prefer any European country, and that would be their final rational decision for their survival.

    6. Do you think the government will support the good idea of Mr. Gordon…How I wish! When it comes to monetary fund, are they willing to cooperate ..the issue of tax increase is not yet done…is it a good timing

    7. Leodegardo Pruna on

      The Philippines had a refugee center before. Election time is nearing and so you hear a Dick and ducks coming out again to try their luck. God bless the Philippines.

      • In fairness to Dick Gordon, this is not the first time that he has made a proposal for the refugees. Before, he has already assured that the Red Cross will provide whatever support they could give should any of the “boat people” from Asia come to Philippine shores. I don’t think this is just political gimmick for him. Sure, he did not win in 2010 and 2013, but have you heard of him only coming out to help during disasters that occur near election time? Did the Bohol earthquake, Zamboanga siege and Yolanda hit us a year before a scheduled elections?

    8. I agree, to help refugee is a noble deed. Also agree the proposal of former Se, Gordon. However, we have a lot a of problems in our country, like the Yolanda Victims, they are more than a refugee,.We heard, we read, we saw through media, that these Yolanda Victims were not taken care well by our government, And according to the news, millions of millions of pesos that were intended to rehabilitate them were disappeared without a trace.

      Pagkatapos kukuha tayo ng refugee from Syria, saantayo kukuha ng paggastos?

      If the European Community build and finance a refugee camp in our country, is okay. Para naman may pagkakakitaan , I mean , it creates Job. Remember Morong, Bataan..!

      • Daming reklamo sa tax increase that the government want to implement and ang budget pa dyan ang mabigyan ng pansin..I doubt it!

    9. Yes all countries and people should be compassionate to our fellow huma beings. The problem is those who are recipients of our compassion will be the same who will be our downfall. Looking at those Muslims who were allowed to migrate to England, Canada, the U.S. and other peace loving countries are now joining t Muslim fundamentalist who are plotting and leading other Muslims against their adopted countries.

    10. I sincerely believe that everyone’s misery in this situation is everyone’s concern. If they want to come to the country, let’s help them. We’re all people of the world.