While I am still hoping against hope that Mary Jane Veloso is saved, we have to be reminded that neither Indonesian President Joko Widodo nor the Republic of Indonesia is at fault here. We do not control their laws, nor are we in the position to interfere with their policing and laws.
Let us remember that the biggest faults here are the lack of socioeconomic accessibility in the Philippines, human trafficking, and our very own government’s lack of firm, decisive, but diplomatic and legal action. France was able to at least defer the French citizen’s execution because of the French government’s firm, decisive, yet diplomatic and legal action – steps were made to ensure that their citizen would have a strong and substantial defence while not breaking any law – local or international.
Furthermore, socioeconomic conditions in the Philippines are stagnant, if not deteriorating, forcing thousands to leave their homeland in search for a better life overseas. Not exaggerating here, but I actually fear that the Philippine diaspora is already reaching the levels of the biggest diaspora in history – the Armenian diaspora. Neoliberal economic policies such as privatisation, which cater only to big businesses rather than the people itself, coupled with corruption, lack of political will, and an ill-managed populace, have made the lives of the ordinary Filipino more miserable. And this scenario has actually emboldened human traffickers to take advantage of the Filipino’s miserable situation. In the end, it’s the ordinary Filipino like Mary Jane Veloso who falls victim.
The Aquino government boasts of economic gains? Trickle-down economics? Those are just economic indicators on a neoclassical scale. But all these “economic gains” will be useless if proper development does not take place – development that ensures all citizens are entitled to freely exercise their own socioeconomic rights, development that protects the people and not the big businesses, development that ensures proper political systems are in place and will not be taken advantage of by corrupt officials.
We just don’t call to save Mary Jane from execution. We must continue to call to save Mary Jane from the chains of economic oppression.