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Marketing Dreams, Manufacturing Heroes

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

Anna Romina Guevarra
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 274
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  • Book Info
    Marketing Dreams, Manufacturing Heroes
    Book Description:

    InMarketing Dreams, Manufacturing HeroesAnna Romina Guevarra focuses on the Philippinesùwhich views itself as the "home of the great Filipino worker"ùand the multilevel brokering process that manages and sends workers worldwide. The experience of Filipino nurses and domestic workersùtwo of the country's prized exportsùis at the core of the research, which utilizes interviews with employees at labor brokering agencies, state officials from governmental organizations in the Philippines,and nurses working in the United States.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4829-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. Chapter 1 Home of the Great Filipino Worker
    (pp. 1-20)

    While waiting in a cramped space of a recruitment agency’s reception area in Manila, a middle-aged woman sitting across from me asks, “Where are you going?” with the certainty that I was also a potential worker. She is one of the modern-day heroines of the Philippines who leave the country to join thousands of her compatriots in a crusade of hope and survival that they envision lie overseas.¹ In her tired eyes and exasperated voice, she characterizes life in the Philippines as eternally hopeless and one to which she was returning unwillingly after a three-year terminal contract as a seamstress...

  7. Chapter 2 Cultivating a Filipino Ethos of Labor Migration
    (pp. 21-49)

    Every Saturday Morning, a television show calledMay Gloria Ang Bukas Mo(There’s Gloria/Glory in Your Future), features the current Philippine president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.¹ In these shows, she often began with an inspiring message about the place the Philippines occupies in the global economy and the economic promise that foreign investments and overseas employment bring to Filipinos. Viewers heard of potential business ventures such as the establishment of foreign-owned call centers or the presence of global labor shortages in knowledge-based sectors such as health care, in which Filipinos can participate. Alongside reports of a bright economic outlook, delivered with...

  8. Chapter 3 Governing and (Dis)Empowering Filipino Migrants
    (pp. 50-86)

    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...

  9. Chapter 4 Delivering “Our Contribution to the World”
    (pp. 87-122)

    On January 17, 2002, the usual hustle and bustle of Malate, one of Manila’s busiest districts, was interrupted by a crowd of men and women who marched through its streets. Beginning at Malate Church and ending in the historic Intramuros, the marchers forged through the unruliness of the everyday traffic, hopeful that their umbrellas and bandanas would protect them from the oppressive sun of a typical humid Manila afternoon.¹ They were certainly much braver than I, whose participant observation of this event was interrupted by momentary escapes to a nearby air-conditioned coffee shop, where I waited for the main event...

  10. Chapter 5 Selling Filipinas’ Added Export Value
    (pp. 123-154)

    A bright spotlight illuminates a tiny room equipped with a television monitor and video camera. The videographer, Marco, directs a job applicant dressed in a maid’s uniform to the back of the room to stand with her back against a white wall. Marco asks her to put her feet together and her heels against the wall. He gives her a cardboard sign that reads, “File #345: Maria Reyes,” and tells her exactly how to hold the sign up against her chest, keeping it steady at all times. Marco views her on camera, and dissatisfied with how she looks, fixes the...

  11. Chapter 6 Living the Dream
    (pp. 155-177)

    In 2006, I met Gabriela, a thirty-one-year-old nurse living in a growing suburban enclave in Arizona.¹ She and her husband had just bought a single-family home in one of the newest KB Home communities, so new that their house address had not yet appeared on MapQuest.² The novelty of their home was complemented by strikingly matching furnishings, from the dark wood–tone tables, coordinating lamps, and even banana-leaf-shaped ceiling fan blades, all of which were seemingly carefully selected to evoke a kind of hybrid British colonial/tropical-theme home. Indeed, the living room could have easily been a model room right out...

  12. Chapter 7 Securing Their Added Export Value
    (pp. 178-203)

    On October 3, 2005, I received a startling voice mail message from Eureka Incognito, a nurse I had met in Arizona seven months earlier. “I am now in California,” she said in her usual upbeat and excited voice. She was staying temporarily at her father’s friend’s house as she looked for jobs in Los Angeles and San Diego. She spoke with a sense of hope and happiness that I had not heard in a long time and especially not in the past few months. Our usual conversations had revolved around her daily complaints about the unfair distribution of workload, in...

  13. Chapter 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 204-210)

    The year 2007 was a good year for the Philippines’ overseas employment program. With more than one million workers deployed globally, the country celebrated being ranked fourth among developing countries for its global remittance flow of $14.4 billion (POEA 2008). The increase in the number of highly skilled professionals (nurses, information technology personnel, engineers) and the corresponding decrease in the number of domestic and construction workers deployed did well to fulfill the state’s project of “upgrading” its image as a labor provider of “high-value jobs.” The opening and expansion of new markets in Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, and...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 211-224)
  15. References
    (pp. 225-234)
  16. Index
    (pp. 235-252)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 253-254)