Is it just the language used? PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 February 2018 13:46

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

The issue as I write this is whether Filipinos should continue to work in Kuwait or not. A contributing factor to the issue is how it is being reported.

It seems that Mr Duterte is most displeased with the number of reported cases about Filipino workers, especially those who are in domestic employment, being maltreated by their employers. The last case that triggered the angry response of the President is that of the Filipina who might have been killed as long as a year ago and whose body was only discovered this month in a freezer in an unused apartment in Kuwait. Her employers are no longer at their given address and may have left Kuwait for their own country.

The circumstances in this case are understandably upsetting. But reading the news about this particular affair has left me baffled because the language used in the reports can leave one confused.

There is the number of Filipinos working in Kuwait. Are there 150,000 or 270,000 Filipinos working in this country? Our government office and the Kuwait Foreign ministry have mentioned these two numbers. Whose count is more reliable because there is 80% difference between the two numbers?

Reports in our papers have mentioned that the President has ordered a “total ban” on Filipinos working in Kuwait. Does this mean no Filipino may work there regardless of the type of work he/she has? Let us remember that Filipinos in Kuwait work at different jobs – domestic service, construction work, desk jobs, etc.

Then there is the use of deployment as in “Deployment of Filipinos to Kuwait to be banned”. This led me to ask if this means that no longer would Filipinos be allowed to leave the Philippines to take up jobs in Kuwait. But this does not say anything about what Filipinos already in Kuwait should do. Are they to come back to the Philippines or look for jobs in other places in and around Kuwait?

The President then gives the order for two airlines operating in the country to provide free rides back to the Philippines and a good number took advantage of the offer. The President was even in the airport to welcome them back. ( And, if it is to be believed, gave each one P15,000 as assistance package.)

Another report said that a DOLE official said those who choose  to stay on in their jobs may do so. What does total ban  mean then?  Reader, you tell me. My English vocabulary is challenged by this.

We have had to address the issue of fake news in the last few months. How about confusing news because of the English used in the reporting? My English teachers in high school and college who have passed on may be turning in their graves.