THE Internet is a matchmaking machine, a huge date-to-date electronic system earning billions of dollars on a day-to-day basis.
It used to be the pen is mightier than the sword. Now the web is mightier than the pen.
The electronic age saw the birth of dating sites, posting photos of those “seeking relationship” including marriage.
Because of the number of Filipinas becoming victims of human traffickers and the sad experience of those who entered into marriage only to become abused spouses, Republic Act 6955 – Anti-Mail Order Bride Law of 1990 – was enacted. Most of those looking for, finding and sponsoring their mates are men.
RA 6955 declares it unlawful to “match Filipino women for marriage to foreign nationals on a mail order basis and other similar practices including the advertisement, publication, printing or distribution of brochures, fliers and other propaganda materials in furtherance thereof.”
Worldwide as it is – and generally beyond the rich of specific governments – mail order websites abound.
For example, www.rosebrides.com specifically markets “Philippine brides” as having a lot to offer to her man, making her a desirable mate. The site states that “Filipino women have…stunning beauty. “
“ Most of them have very shapely bodies and beautiful golden skin, almond-shaped eyes, and lovely dark hair. Filipina women also might be characterized as being girly and feminine, with an eternally youthful appearance.”
The site even has categorized Philippine brides by cities. There are 388 registered “Philippine aspiring brides of foreign nationals” in 26 pages.
Another site – mail-order-brides-websites.no1reviews.com lists the 10 “Best Mail Order Brides Websites.” Of the top 10, a Philippine-specific site “Filipino Cupid” is No. 7.
Membership in Filipino Cupid is free but for foreigners seeking to see and view a full profile of a Philippine bride, there is the minimum $34.00 monthly fee for a Gold Member and minimum $39.99 monthly Platinum membership fee.
Apparently, there is a ranking for countries with the most number of searches for Mail-Order Brides The top ten according to www.toptenz.net are (from the bottom) are: 10) Russia; 9) Brazil; 8) China; 7) India; 6) Thailand; 5) Ukraine; 4) Dominican Republic; 3) Colombia; 2) Philippines and 1) Russia.
And how are Filipina mail-order brides described?
“One thing that distinguishes Filipina women from other Asian women is that they are, by far, the most-traveled gals around. Overseas employment is a veritable institution in the Philippines, making it emotionally easier for girls to leave the family nest. Most become domestic workers, and so they have an ease of interaction with foreigners.
“Although the divorce rate is rather low in the Philippines, poverty rates are high, and so a foreign man is seen as reasonable way to get a good roof over her head. Plus, by their own admission, Filipina girls like white men. It is a status thing, and there is nothing the local guys can do about it. A recent study revealed that 70% of Filipina believe American men are thoughtful and kind, whereas Filipino men are considered cruel and unfaithful. Thank God, this means they haven’t been watching our reality shows.
“Exoticism ranking: Honestly, it’s tough to judge. The ubiquity of the Filipina woman in the Western world, coupled with their immense online presence, does dull the senses. However, their mix of Polynesian and classic Asian feature make Filipina ladies unique. So, let’s be lazy and set them firmly in the middle of the scale.
“Ease of access: Filipino culture is one of the most open in all of Asia. Families are tight-knit to be sure, but few taboos exist about personal expression in public places. In other words, Filipina girls are easy to meet. And since the country was occupied by the US for the longest time, English is a commonly-spoken language, and flights are frequent.”
Monitoring of Filipina spouses of foreigners
In practice, the law is readily circumvented by basing matchmaking agencies outside the Philippines as no law prohibits their operation in destination countries such as Japan, the United States of America or South Korea
In 2009, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) reported only three active cases open against marriage brokers. No cases were reported between 2003 and 2007. While the law prescribes penalties and sanction, the Anti-Mail Order Bride Act remains an unenforced piece of well-intentioned legislation, together with Republic Act 9208 (the 2003 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act), especially due to a slow and inefficient Philippine judicial system.
From 1989 to 2013, a total of 455,458 Filipino spouses were sponsored for visas and travel by foreign nationals, according to the statistics of the CFO.
The US was the top destination with 193,661; Japan is second with
117,362. The other countries in descending order of spouses migrating are Australia, Canada, Germany, South Korea, UK, Taiwan, Norway, Sweden and others.
The CFO conducts seminars or pre-departure orientation to fiancées and spouses. There is no record of how many of these hundreds of thousands of fiancées and spouses of foreign nationals started and consummated their relationship through “mail-order” and the Internet.
In April 2009, Philippine ambassador to South Korea Luis Cruz estimated 6,000 Filipinas had met South Korean spouses through matchmaking agencies. Some of these brides have complained of domestic violence or false information regarding their partner’s background.
As a result, Philippine embassies issued warnings regarding interracial matchmaking agencies that violate local laws in their own country and use deceptive advertising.
In August 2013, Rep. Cinchona Gonzales, party list representative of CIBAC, filed in the the Philippine House of Representatives an amendment to extend the law to Internet services Congresswoman Cinchona’s official website does not have a record of the bill being enacted into law.
The Philippine government officially markets skilled labor in the global employment stage, even tallying and trumpeting the economic benefits that come with overseas employment in terms of remittances.
At the rate Filipinas are being marketed on the Internet as aspiring spouses or potential partners and the non-existence of effective implementation of RA 6955 or RA 9208, Mail-Order Brides might well be made an official policy as well.