Sunday, September 02, 2007

We're growing in Dubai

But there are many more immigrants than citizens. Foreigners now make up more than 70 percent of the more than 4 million inhabitants, coming from other Arab countries, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines.

More than half of these foreign workers are Christians. Adding up the figures, Christians account for more than 35 percent of the population of the United Arab Emirates. Around a million of them are Catholic. And it's not only in the UAE – in Saudi Arabia, too, it is estimated that there are already about a million Catholics from the Philippines.

Hardly news to us really. Filipinos are some of leading prime movers of the economy of the United Arab Emirates. But despite this, many Filipinos are ill-treated by their employers. I'm actually glad that the article mentions this.

The Filipino worker's role in UAE, and other middle eastern countries, is highly illustrative of how Filipinos can help Europe. It is not unknown that I advocate the immigration of Filipinos to Europe. It's a win-win solution for problems facing the Philippines and Europe. Population control advocates won't have any proper motivation to get contraceptives into the hands of every man, woman and child in the archipelago since a big lot of Pinoys won't be contributing to the alleged "population explosion" in the country; and Europe will be revitalized by a group possessing a culture more akin to West. Plus Filipinos are hardy workers and consumers. The downtrend in Europe's economy will eventually do an about face with their help and in turn help our own improve.

Trade between the Philippines and Europe isn't that strong. Our largest trading partner remains the US. I'm not saying that the US is bad, but it is risky to put all our trading eggs in one economic basket. Hopefully, more Filipinos in Europe would lead to a diversification in trading partners.

And more importantly, Filipinos hopefully would help revitalize the Christian Faith in Europe. Most Filipinos still are molded in the relatively more traditional form of Catholicism. Hopefully they'll infect the more secular parts of Europe with their brand of piety.

Obviously Filipinos are not perfect. I'm sure there will be friction and conflicts when they flood into Europe in great numbers. But I think they're a better option and less dangerous than those that hail from South Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.

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