Batas Mauricio .
HIGHLY controversial, and mere nonsense. This is how I see the survey results being purveyed by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) pertaining to Filipinos who allegedly claim they are no longer poor. First, SWS clearly did not provide any standard by which the public will understand who are those who are no longer poor, and those are still impoverished.
It merely said, 58.2 percent of Filipino families are now claiming they are no longer poor. But, wait a minute, SWS. Who are to be considered poor? And who are those who are no longer poor? What was the standard you used to classify those who are still poor and those who are no longer poor?
If more Filipinos are no longer poor, why is it that many of them are still residing in squatters’ areas? Why are many Filipinos still without their own residences, and why are those who claim they already have some kind of a roof over their heads actually endure pigsty-like surroundings, still unable to eat three square meals a day? Why do many still engage in drug peddling, jueteng, or other petty crimes, just to earn measly sums?
In the website https://tradingeconomics.com/philippines/wages, the report there was that the annual gross income of a Filipino worker in 2015 (which, as per the site’s clarification, also applied in 2018) amounted to only P10,113.00. If we break this down to 12 months, it would appear that the average monthly salary of the worker is only P842.75.
The undeniable truth is that, this kind of a monthly salary can be considered for the poorest of the poor. Nothing can be purchased anymore with this P842.75 salary. If the worker is renting a room, and if he has at least two children, how can SWS say that this kind of a Filipino is no longer poor?
I have no problem with SWS announcements (or announcements by any other agency, for that matter), which claim that more Filipinos are now saying they are no longer poor, for as long as those announcements reflect what is happening in the ground. If one respondent in the survey of the SWS happened to be enjoying above average income, that would be okay, but announcements portraying a rosy picture for many others would constitute an insult to those who are still very poor.
Many will say that Filipinos will have no one else to blame except themselves for their impoverished conditions. Many justifications can be advanced to support this view, and they could actually be correct. The truth is undeniable, however. The true reason for the widespread poverty among our countrymen is the pervading greed on the part of many of the rich and the powerful.
The rich deliberately controls the big businesses in the country, many of which have even literally killed the small enterprises in which Filipinos used to excel, and from which they have been deriving their livelihood for a long time. What is painful here is this: the rich are refusing to share their wealth and the wealth of the nation with their poor countrymen.
There is only one thing that the rich should be reminded of: what would profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his soul? If the rich truly believe in God, they should not forget that, come judgment time, they who did not help alleviate the poverty and suffering of the poor would be punished in the eternal hell of fire and worms, bringing to punishment not only themselves but even their children to the fourth generation.
So okay, Secretary Harry Roque, President Duterte is not a “strongman” as what Time magazine boldly accused him with in its May 14, 2018 international edition. And, so okay, too, that the President is merely a leader who is “strong and decisive,” especially in his campaign against illegal drugs. The only question is this: is this the kind of leadership that is required so true and beneficial change will come to Filipinos?
I hope I am not misunderstood here, Sec. Roque. I voted for the President during the elections of 2016. But someone has to tell the President that being “strong and decisive” are not the only qualities that would enable a country to achieve truly beneficial change. A leader also needs the guidance, blessings, and protection of God, which that leader can achieve only if he is a true believer, and if the qualities required by the Bible for good leaders are found in him. Is that not true, Secretary Roque?