Marketing Dreams, Manufacturing Heroes: The Transnational Labor Brokering of Filipino Workers

By Anna Romina Guevarra | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Governing and (Dis)Empowering
Filipino Migrants

We are proud of our overseas Filipino workers as our
new heroes. They bravely chart international paths
many of us have not dared venture in. They forge new
courses of friendship and amity for the Philippines.
They strengthen our economy and in many ways
allow us to enjoy the fruits of their collective
behavior.

—Former senator Leticia Ramos Shahani, RA 8042:
Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995

IN A ROOM filled with about thirty-five women, an impassioned woman stands proud, shouting, “You are not yet heroes. You are just soldiers right now!” This woman is Mildred Yamzon, cofounder of the Women in Development Foundation (WIDF), an NGO authorized by the Philippine state to provide pre-departure orientation seminars (PDOSs) to prospective domestic workers headed overseas. Alternating between the personas of a preacher delivering a sermon to her congregation and an army commander explaining survival tactics to her battalion, Yamzon powerfully transforms these sessions into something more than simply a place where prospective workers can receive guidance on travel to their destination. Rather, it becomes a space where women workers, whom some view as an endangered species, are made clearly and bluntly aware of the potential dangers they face overseas.1 In partnership with the state, NGOs such as WIDF supply information to the women that is supposed to prepare and empower them, this information all narrated within the framework of giving meaning and tribute to their sacrifice in the name of their families and nation. Yamzon and her colleagues define their work as meeting the state’s so-called gender-sensitive criteria by empowering the

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Marketing Dreams, Manufacturing Heroes: The Transnational Labor Brokering of Filipino Workers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Chapter 1 - Home of the Great Filipino Worker 1
  • Chapter 2 - Cultivating a Filipino Ethos of Labor Migration 21
  • Chapter 3 - Governing and (Dis)Empowering Filipino Migrants 50
  • Chapter 4 - Delivering "Our Contribution to the World" 87
  • Chapter 5 - Selling Filipinas’ Added Export Value 123
  • Chapter 6 - Living the Dream 155
  • Chapter 7 - Securing Their Added Export Value 178
  • Chapter 8 - Conclusion 204
  • Notes 211
  • References 225
  • Index 235
  • About the Author 253
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