One early morning at work, I stood up from my desk and decided to take a quick stroll outside. I had my camera with me, as always. I walked to the property line of Eastwood City where I work. I wanted to see what was beyond the fence, across the river. Why wasn't I surprised? It was a shanty town. Collectively known as "informal settlers" or "urban poor," these people live in poorly constructed, flimsy shelters they call home. Families whose lives are in constant danger of natural disasters. In a downpour, the river could immediately swell and reclaim its banks, sweeping away their houses, their meager belongings, their dreams, their lives.
After I took a shot of the shanty town, I swiveled my camera 90 degrees to capture the high rise apartments and office buildings that make up Eastwood City.
Below is a picture of the area (Source: Wikimapia). I was standing on the point marked "X," where I captured the two pictures shown above.
According to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the 2012 Full Year Official Poverty Statistics revealed that there are 4.2 million poor families in the Philippines. That figure equates to 19.7% of the entire population. In simple terms, it means one out of every five Filipino families was estimated to be poor. The study also revealed that an extremely poor family of five would need to have a monthly income of Php 5,513.00 (~US$ 123.25) to buy the minimum basic food needs.
It is such a sad reality to have to live with this inequality. To see so much suffering and hopelessness, to see the children begging and crying for food.
The government can only do so much to address this issue of rising poverty in the country. However, if I had some kind of power, I would relocate these people in a place complete with housing, employment opportunities, and access to primary health care, churches and recreational facilities and invest in their tenacity to survive by initiating small scale enterprise, similar to the NACIDA (National Cottage Industry) project during the Marcos' time.
I may just be dreaming to make myself believe that there is an end to poverty.
As I walked back to the office, I could not get the thought out of my mind. I have witnessed both affluence and poverty in a financial/monetary perspective.
The river symbolizes the division between rich and poor, however the perception of "richness" and "poorness" would depend on which side of the river you're standing on.
Open your mind.