Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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.

13 comments:

  1. I have mixed emotions reading your blog. The fact that our government officials have affluent lives due to corruption, your readers would feel anything but anger. There are millions variables that make up poverty and most of it are uncontrollable but tax spending is not one of them. I believe that every human person is an asset and with right amount of investment towards their development, they will contribute a lot to society. It is heart-wrenching enough to see material poverty but when you compare it to the rich community across the street, it is worst. The only consolation I have is that we all have pieces of heaven on earth. Along those shanties are laughters , generosity of hearts, social connections that sometimes one can't find in Eastwood. We all have chances and angels in life. I like to believe as I close your site that one day , residents of that shanty town will live in a place appropriate to their dignity.

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  2. It is a sad reality and I dream the same dream as yours. If only we have the means to provide for those who really needs help, we would. It's sad that those rich ones get richer and the poor ones get poorer everyday.

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  3. It's so sad to see the things behind those high fences, you'll see the real life of what most Filipino in the area.

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  4. Life is unfair and this is one of the example. As you wrote,"The government can only do so much to address this issue of rising poverty in the country".

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  5. I totally agree with you on what you observed, the poor and the rich. It all depends on our leaders to take action for the poverty in our country, but also, it all depend for them to strive hard for their way of living.

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  6. This is very sad :-( Poverty has high rate in the Philippines. I just wish that rich people will donate their small portion o their millions and help people especially from the river when it is overflow :-( Reality really hurts :-(

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  7. it's kind of hard to really bridge the economic gap between rich and poor, but somehow, I wish that there is enough effort to make the poor live a decent and comfortable life, maybe not rich, but decent enough. i share your wish of initiating small scale enterprise for them, so they too could build their dreams.

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  8. What a grim reality. I'm saddened every time this reality hits me. I wish I can do much more than what I'm doing now to help in my own little way.

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  9. It's sad to see such situations. I think both are victims of society. Yeah we are governed by corrupt officials and yet some people just don't want to take control of their lives and let others control them or depend on them. Hope everyone get to help themselves.

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  11. This is the sad reality of our country that even now, the "Government" cannot find a solution to the problem. BUT, the problem also lies to the people living in the metro. Most of the Filipinos believed that they can just uplift their life by simply living in a big city, without knowing what lies ahead.

    The division that is shown in this post made me feel like, yes, it's the reality of our country today. What is the least that we can do? Educate the people. By giving them right education, they can learn something and that is their edge for them to land in at least, decent jobs. If they're able to finish college, they have a bigger chance to land in a job that they want. Now, if they just work really hard, I know someday they'll live in a decent house, with a decent environment and neighbors and their future will be as bright as the sun shining in the sky.

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  12. Sigh..... love always your profound thoughts sis.... I am still dreaming too that one day there will be no one poor in this country... I pray each of those lowly workers, the ones who have dreams and work hard to attain them eventually succeed... and that every parent will be responsible enough to feed their kids and send them to school.. that there will no longer be corruption in the government... very beautifully written as always soul sis...

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  13. A harsh reality indeed which is caused by a lot of economic and social factors.

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