[Thank God for smartphones! This wait would have been torture for everyone otherwise!]
I was at Lucky Plaza last night to send money home and the long, snaking queue in these pictures is what greeted me at the remittance place I use. Because it was the end of the month, Lucky P was packed with overseas Filipino workers (like me), who would queue up every month for hours on end just to send money home to loved ones. Last night was particularly epic. I joined the queue at around 8pm and was able to get to the counter a little before 10pm! (Which of course, begs the question, why I don’t just send online? Because I always forget to register to send online! That’s another story for another day…)
To me, these pictures represent the best and the worst of the Philippines. The best, because we think nothing of queueing for hours, with hardly a complaint just to send money home and give our families a better life. I didn’t talk to anyone in the line last night, but I doubt any one of us would begrudge the time we spent standing there, knowing that the money we sent home would be put to good use.
It’s also the worst, because millions of Filipinos have had to work abroad just to be able to provide their families with a decent life. And what is the Philippine government doing? Nothing, it seems. From statements by politicians, it seems that they fully expect the diaspora to continue. Remittances are, after all, a rich vein of foreign exchange and a major contributor to the country’s economic growth. Never mind that there will be several generations of kids who will grow up thinking that working for other people in another land is a good thing.