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More on Angelo de la Cruz - Is he the new Juan?

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Sassy poses an interesting question on the case of Angelo de la Cruz, the Filipino kidnapped by an Iraqi group opposed to US war on terror which I discussed in a previous post. While the Iraqi group demands that continued support of the Philippinr troops be withdrawn from Iraq, in exchange for the life of the said Filipino, on the domestic front, Malacañang and the bureacracy is all abuzz with what to do.

Sassy's point is to analyze this in terms of those that chose to take the risk of staying in Iraq, despite earlier warning of the government. Sasabak na lang kami sa kamatayan dun sa Iraq, kesa mamatay sa gutom dito (We would rather endanger ourselves and die in Iraq, than die starving here).”, She quotes from Dr. Emer's blog - in referrence to the fatalistic, bahala na, diasporic attitude of Filipinos, who will take risks just to provide a good life for their family at home. A valid point, since in Manila we are very much against those who are "matigas ang ulo", stubborn, or literally --- hard-headed. The question is rhetoric, and demands a second observation. After all, we can see that the intention is to bring forward the problems of the Philippines why such fatalistic acts happen.

Regardless of all that though, I have to contend that the prior condition of the person or whatever his reason in working abroad in such an acursed place is no longer important, in the end, he is a Filipino and a concern of all citizens.

Now, is Angelo de la Cruz, the new, sad reincarnation of Juan de la Cruz --- the Filipino-every-man? While Uncle Sam is the United States ever-popular, our Juan de la Cruz has taken many different personas: from Mang Pandoy, to a jolly fellow, to an austere uncle. He is traditionally pictured as a salakot-wearing man in cheap rubber slippers, and yet quite galant in the expensive barong-tagalog. Juan has been a favorite for many cartoonists --- caricatures of a thin, starving guy, or a Juan screaming in anger, in not rare.


The working class, tax-deducted Juan. Source

Unfortunately, while out-migration (word-play intended) becomes a more pressing concern, here we find the diaspora of the Filipino again, already a conflict in itself with that of an honest man trying to earn a living, at the center of a more complex modern conflict that he may or may not be aware of. In fact, Angelo de la Cruz comes in a more disturbing picture, becoming a victim to terrorism. Such a scene, already gruesome in itself, can be all the more gruesome with a foreshadowing of a video of beheading and what could have happened to Berg, the American.

The similarities to his name with that of the Filipino every-man can be viewed as a wake-up call, or maybe not at all. Perhaps just coincidence. But more, it is not too difficult to count the number of Filipinos who could have been in his place: hard-working, risking life and limb, in an effort to give a life to his local family --- and ready to be beheaded at the mercy of his captors, and at the butt-end of a government decision to support a war.

How many Juan's or Angelo's could be taking his place? Many, Too Many.. And it is sad:

I posted:

Under ideal circumstances, the state will uphold a most noble cause to defend its citizen even if that citizen is stubborn. The government owes it to any citizen to provide him with a good life, and in any case he wants out, the State should show it’s people that it cares even for those astray or not heeding its advice.

What gets to my nerve is when politicians treat this certain responsibility as an opportunity to get media mileage, instead of a real responsibility. <<< Here's the clincher >>>

It’s the height of hypocrisywhen we chose to save one life for TV, and at the same time, forget that there is more than a million jobless souls that need to be saved.


Any Juan can be an Angelo, or vice-versa, if only there are more jobs available in Manila for the likes of him this would have been avoided. Regardless, whether it is a fault of whomever, there is no need for any fall guy. The conditions facing Filipinos is a challenge that has kept coming through generations and generations. The diasporic attitudes cannot be simply wished away. Now, while Juan de la Cruz awaits, the best recourse is to rally the people into the values leading to what happend with Angelo.

There is no victim in this situation, except for the Filipino nation, should we allow ourselves to say, "kawawa na naman ang Pinoy", and have the politicians and the media rake in on the publicity of such tragedy. Ika nga, in one movie: ni-rape na --- isinapelikula pa at ginago sa sine, binayaran pa ng kulang. It's always defeatist's culture. Let's stop that. These people are not just workers abroad who left their families for money... these are people who left the country and took their families at heart and bore the burden of separation because they are working for their families - not a foreign nation. It's time to be angry, not just against terrorism but on the entire social injustice cycles in our midsts from one age to another, to a president to the next, to one's dad to another's grandchild.

Juan de la Cruz needs to get fashionable and up to date. The old image is gone, we need him to have a cellphone on hand, and his relatives' phone numbers in his address book.

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posted by Jdavies @ 7/09/2004,

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The Author

J.Davies

Jdavies lives in Quezon City, Philippines and has been blogging since 2002. A brand manager in a leading technology company and a freelance new media/web strategy consultant, he has refocused his blogging from personal, political & sociological observations, to marketing-related efforts and Internet trends that are relevant to his career and branding advocacies.


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This blog is a depot of thoughts and observations on marketing trends which remain personally relevant to the Author as far as his marketing career is concerned. Having evolved from the personal blog of Jdavies, much of the earlier work contained herein are laced with personal speculation, political views, and similar advocacies. These posts are being kept for posterity's sake and for no other reason. No effort is being made to claim that the author will not contradict himself from his previous positions or that such advocacies are absolute.

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