How much would you pay for a Filipina? What? Is Bob smoking crack now?
No, I am not on drugs, and to be honest, the title is more to grab attention than anything else. But, today, I want to make you aware of, and talk about a new law that is being debated in Indonesia. So, the title would be more fitting if it read “How much would you pay for an Indonesian?” However, later in the article, we’ll talk more about how this might be related to the Philippines too.
You see, recently, Indonesian legislators have been considering a new law that would require foreign men to pay a “deposit” of around $55,000 to the Indonesian Government if they choose to marry an Indonesian woman! It’s true. If you don’t believe it, check out the article “Can’t buy love? Indonesia thinks foreign men should.” Under this new law, if enacted, any foreign man who enters into marriage to an Indonesian woman, in Indonesia will be required to put $55,000 into deposit with the Indonesian Government. The reason for this deposit, according to the Indonesian supporters of the law, is that should the marriage end in divorce, or if the wife is abused, it will cost money for the government, and in that case the $55,000 deposit would be used to cover the costs.
A lot of foreign men, and also a lot of Indonesian brides-to-be are up in arms over the proposed legislation. Many are saying that this amounts to the country selling it’s women to foreigners, all for the benefit of the Government.
Frankly, it seems that many Governments around the world are instituting (or at least considering it) new laws or regulations that make it more difficult for people to marry outside their country. For example, I recently read that the British Government is planning to implement a new policy that will make it much more difficult for a foreign bride to join her husband in the UK. The lady (or man, I suppose) will be required to pass a language test. Well, in the case of the Philippines, most Filipinos can speak English, but do they speak English well enough to pass the British Government examination? It remains to be seen. Frankly, English is different from Country to Country. The English that an American like me speaks has differences from the English that a Brit speaks. And, the Philippine English is different than either American or British English. So, can a Filipino pass the exam? How can we know? Certainly, an Indonesian bride would have a more difficult time, without a doubt. And, by the way, how many British people coming to the Philippines can speak Tagalog, Bisaya or one of the other Philippine languages? Very few.
So, how does the Indonesian law apply to the Philippines? Well, directly it does not apply. However, if the Indonesians successfully implement the law, and these $55,000 deposits start flowing in to the Indonesian treasury, how long would it take for the Philippines to follow suit? Let’s face it, there are a lot more foreigners coming and marrying in the Philippines than in Indonesia. if you figure around P2 Million per marriage to a foreigner, that money would supplement the Philippine budget nicely. Yes, the money is just a “deposit,” but if the marriage does not last for a minimum of ten years, then the deposit is forfeited. A lot of marriages do not last ten years. A lot of those deposits would never be claimed.
Frankly, over the years, the Philippine Government has shown many times over that the best interest of it’s citizens takes second seat behind what fills the treasury. Filipinos are sent to work overseas, and there is a requirement to send money back to the Philippines (yes, it is required). What is good for the Filipino is not first and foremost, what is good for the country is. So, if the Philippines sees Indonesia start raking in a few bucks from the “marriage business” how long would it take before the Philippine Government starts studying the feasibility of doing the same thing here.
Frankly for me, it’s shameful. Why do governments think that they should have a say in who we marry? What will be next when it comes to governments stepping in and trying to control our private lives? Frankly, I think this just goes too far.
UPDATE: The comments on this have taken a different direction than I had considered. What I was looking for more was “what if” this happened in the Philippines. Let’s say the Philippines said you have to pay a deposit of P2M if you marry a Catholic Girl (since the comments seem to be focusing on the fact that this law focuses on Muslims). How would you feel? Do you think it would be possible? Of course, you are free to discuss any aspect of the legislation in the comments, but I was just hoping we could focus on the Philippines a bit more.