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rom the hilly streets of San Francisco, to the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia, to the billabongs of Australia, Burj Al Arab, Dubai (top), Sydney Opera House (bottom)expatriate Filipinos the world over have been keeping tabs on events "back home." But with the advent of new technologies and the newly installed and seemingly transparent Noynoy Aquino administration, overseas Filipinos no longer appear satisfied with simply following events—they now want to influence them as well. These hardworking expats are well aware that it is their remittances that keep the Philippine economy from collapsing, in spite of all the inefficiency, corruption, and natural calamities that beset it.

The vast majority of those who left the Philippines did so because there were better opportunities overseas—and most who left would never regret that decision. Through perseverance and hard work, Filipinos abroad live lives that would have been unattainableStreets of San Francisco (top). London Bridge (bottom) to them had they stayed behind. And while their achievements are laudable, many feel somewhat disheartened that the compatriots they left back home continue to struggle against those "demons" in their culture that they, the expats, have long since vanquished.

With a different perspective and global experience under their belt, Filipino expats are now demanding that they be listened to. They know how things should be done and they are ready to help. The breakthroughs in communication technology has now given them the means to reach out and influence domestic issues. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as low-cost VoIP telephony, SMS text messaging, and email gives expatriates all over the world the instant access they need in order to influence events and sway public opinion in the Philippines.

It will only be a matter of time before Philippine politicians and public officials begin to sit up and notice the power the expat community can bring to bear. We're not quite there yet but the day will surely come when those in government think twice, least they incur the wrath Kabayans on distant shores.

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