That’s one of the things being discussed in Cebu City.  Some have put forth the idea of having foreigners register and get ID cards from barangay captains offices in Cebu City.   The idea is to better track the activities of foreigners.

In a story published by a common perception in the Philippines comes to light:

Vic Abadesco coordinator of Visayan Forum, a non-government agency also fighting against human trafficking, said that it is difficult to fight human trafficking because the problem is “invisible”.

He said that most of the perpetrators of human trafficking are foreigners who would lure victims for job abroad and it is difficult to keep track of their activities because they have been operating for a long time and is already organized.

Is it true that most of the cases of human trafficking involve foreigners?  If one takes into account that what commonly goes on with bargirls  in Angeles City is a violation of the anti-human trafficking law then yes, I would agree.

It really doesn’t matter if it is true or not.  What matters is that this appears to be the common perception.

What I’ve seen Filipino bloggers say is sometimes painful to read.  Though I didn’t feel it was accurate.  Sometimes a lot of people expressed the idea that we were all here for that reason.   That most of us here are pedophiles.

Doesn’t matter if it is true or not, and it is of course not true but reality is always perception.  What we perceive to be reality is our own reality.

Usually when I see cases of human trafficking in the Philippines, it is a local being prosecuted and locked up for life.  But the Filipino almost always has ties to overseas employer.  That is true in the most cases of down right slavery.  However, maids sometimes work in slave like conditions and even held against their will and that is often done by Filipino.

This latest rounds of talks in Cebu City stems from the recent murder of an innocent 6 year old girl.  The police have a Norwegian

Norwegian and Filipino Couple

Couple held for Murder

man and his Filipino girlfriend in custody.    He was arrested as he was leaving the country because immigration officials noticed that he resembled the sketch of a man they were seeking related to the case.

There is some amount of controversy around the evidence and the whether or not the arrest was legal.

I wont take a position because I don’t know all the facts.   Press reports are just not the place to hold court.  I have some alarming suspicions about this case but I do not feel that I can express them.  It might be unfair and it would be unwise.  Besides, the police know their own country better than I do.  I’m fairly certain that what has alarmed me didn’t get missed by the police.

I don’t know if registering with the barangay captain’s office will save anyone.  Honestly, I doubt it.   I’ll be surprised if there are no fees that I have to pay in regard to this.  However, if it would save one single child ever, even one, then I’m more than willing to do it.

I wont go kicking and screaming against it.  It would only be a minor inconvenience.   So far this is only for barangay in Cebu City.  It may spread though.  I’m sure that everyone in my barangay knows I’m here.  I’m in smaller city though where foreigners are not as common as they are in Cebu City.  Don’t take that wrong though, I’m far from the only one.  When I first arrived in Bogo City,  I was surprised at how many there are here.

There was on foreigner here that I found to be pretty suspicious.   He was often seen hanging around young children and only young children.   Maybe he just likes kids.   Still, his activities were not very wise.   He seems to have moved on.  I know there was much talk about him in the city and it was understandable.

The biggest concern I would have over the registration process it that should something go wrong in my barangay, would I become a target just because I live here?  That is scary.

Still, I am totally for whatever will help keep the children of the Philippines safe.  Not really a bold stand.  I hope it would be extremely rare that someone disagreed with that.

If you’re living in the Philippines, you need to just stay away from children as much as you can.  I don’t like saying that but you could bring unwarranted suspicion upon yourself.   Jessie worries when I take a picture of a child in the park.  I say hello and smile and move on.

I should mention that in the Philippines it is illegal to be in the presence of minor that you are not related to.   Now, I’ve never seen the law abused.  It is applied with good common sense.  I have seen it to get a child of a situation that looks really bad.  Like when a man took a 12 year old girl to Bantayan Island.  It is something you should keep in mind though.

I wish pedophiles would go some place other than the Philippines but some do come here just to exploit the poverty.   Poverty makes people desperate.  Sometimes even the parents of children seem to be involved.   Usually not, most Filipino are intensely protective of their children.  I know of instances, where it appeared that parents were involved.  Only gossip though, I don’t know anything.

You should also remember that you don’t have all the protections of the US Constitution in the Philippines that you have back in the USA.  I’m sure most other Western countries provide protections that you may not have here.  I wont even say that is always a bad things.  Sometimes people in the USA get away with murder because of those protections.  The USA could use a large dose of good old Filipino common sense in its judicial system.  I will say though, that in the USA I’d prefer someone go free than an innocent person go to jail.  But that’s our system.

If you’re living in the Philippines, you should respect their system.   You also need to learn about it because assuming you have all the same protections, could get you into a bad place in the legal system here.   Just or unjust, it could and you should be a bit more careful in what you do here.

The problem with that, I grew up learning the ways of the USA.   My behavior is well entrenched by those experiences.  It is hard to teach this old dog new tricks.  It isn’t like I go around thinking about this all the time.  With time though, I have become more alert to how my actions may be perceived.  I have a nice life here and I’d like to keep it that way.

If I learn that the policy requiring Filipino to register with anyone, I will post an update to that.  Do you know of a similar requirement under consideration in other parts of the Philippines?  Perhaps it is already required in some city of the Philippines.  I have never heard of such a requirement.

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Filed under: Expats in the PhilippinesLiving In The PhilippinesPhilippines Law

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