Poverty is one of the greatest problems of mankind. Even in old times, we learned stories of how poverty became a big problem of every society in the world. It is not new to us the effects of poverty in the lives of many people particularly in our country. We always see it in the TV or even in our own community where we live. There is a great gap between rich and poor. According to many studies, majority of the Philippine population live below the poverty line.
Maybe you’re wondering how the government and other organizations measure how poor an individual is. Basically, there are many quantifiable indicators such as the family income per year and it could be one good data to determine the economic level of a person. It is easy to understand, if a person is earning sufficient incomer for his basic needs plus some surplus then he’s not poor but may be not also rich. If however, he could not even eat three times a day, then he’s poor.
The latest survey shows that poverty in the Philippines worsens compared last year and other previous months of this year. Some of the factors cited why there’s an increase in poverty is the effects of typhoon that hit the country during the past months causing food prices to went high. Actually, most of the people surveyed said they experienced “food poverty” which can be atributed to the lack of food and not completing three meals in a day.
Fighting Poverty Starts in Ourself and the Community
When I was a child, I dreamed of becoming rich one day and I think most of the children wants also to become wealthy someday. Do you know someone who wants to become poor? I think none. All of us wants to become rich, financially speaking. However, only few people achieve to become wealthy and majority end up as poor. Fighting poverty is the advocacy of many organizations like UNESCO and even our Philippine government. Sad to say, no projects had been created to eliminate or fight poverty effectively. Why is this so?
In my observation, it is the fault of the prevailing system or norm. Many people want to become rich but they don’t want to sacrifice or work hard. Most of them like to become rich through luck by betting on lottery, jueteng and other forms of gambling. Like what I said, it starts in our own self if you want to become rich. You should not rely on other people or even the government or your parents. If you could take reponsibility in your own actions and not depend on other people, it will be the starting point to fight poverty in your own life and in this nation.
As an individual, you are the starting point of change and the fight for poverty and then it will spread to the community you’re living. I know there are many places in the Philippines which are poor so it is very important now to take actions now and build the foundation. Here are some of my thoughts on reducing poverty in the country.
1. Increase the food security & production
Food security and production is essential part in fighting poverty because all of us eat everyday. If you don’t have enough food, how can you escape from poverty or how can you work properly. One good solution that I think to increase our food production is to include agriculture subject in elementary and high school so students will engage in farming take up agriculture courses in college.
Upgrading of our country’s agricultural technology could be also one step in increasing our food production. I know there are lot of people becoming hungry due to the lack of food supply particularly in the provinces. I cannot imagine how this is happening because I’m thinking that if you have a land that can be used to plant crops and vegetables, you have the capability to produce your own food, in return, giving food for your family or community. I’m assuming that people can plant, however, they can’t harvest a good harvest due maybe to unfertilized land or pests.
2. Give employment to the people
Teach the people how to fish, not give them the fish itself. This is the reason, I’m against the dole out program of the Aquino administration. I think it is not a long-term solution for fighting poverty in our country. Our people need a long and deeper solution for their problem, and it can be done by giving them a decent employment which can provide a better life for their family.
Employment can only be created if there’s a businesses that have been establishing so it is also important to teach Filipinos how to become entrepreneur and how to engage more in business. Being an employee is a good thing but owning your own company is the better form of becoming an employee.
3. Upgrade our education system
Education is the foundation of a strong country. Without education, how can you know how things work or how can we create a solution to a certain problem such as cure for diseases. Sad to say, Philippines’ education system is continuously degrading as the time goes by. There is a budget for education but it is not enough for the increasing population of students and the rapid growth of technology. Most of the facilities we have are outdated or obsolete especially in state universities.
As an individual, you should also aim to continue your education depending on the field where you are or what areas of life you’re interested the most. It should be not stagnant so through your learning you can also share and impart it with other people.
4. Fight corruption fearlessly
One great problem of our country is the corruption in government. It is also a hindrance in attaining better economy and life for our countrymen. Government funds that should be allocated for education or agricultural improvement were being used by government officials for their own interest and pleasure. Little by little, in our own action and decision, we can unitedly fight for corruption that causes poverty. I wish when I come back to the Philippines, I will not follow what other people do just to make things easier. I won’t pay ‘lagay’ or ‘padulas’, just to speed up processing of applications in the government. I will always get receipts for my purchases in department stores or supermarkets so right taxes will be paid to the government.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) for doing a great job in fighting corruption in the government. CIBAC is a party-list that aims to persecute all government officials that found guilty or has been accused of corruption. It is an organization that should stay for a long time in the House of Representatives.
5. Create more products for local consumption
Philippines should create or produce more products for local consumption so that we will not be dependent on imports. As much as possible, we should be independent on other country for our food and basic needs. I’m not against importation because businesses requires it because maybe local companies cannot supply it. My idea is not to import basic necessities such as rice, vegetables, clothing and other stuffs that can be produced locally. Let’s stop being a consumer most of the time, let’s start to become a producer and maker!