When I think of the Philippines, I don’t think of Boracay or the famous Imelda shoes. The disturbing thought that the warm and friendly people of the Philippines, suffering from poverty comes first on my mind. As of July 2006, the Philippines has a total population of 89,468,677 and is still growing at around 1.8% each year. 40% of this is currently below poverty line, 16.9% are experiencing hunger while 4.2% are experiencing severe hunger. These numbers might be alarming but it didn’t surprise me that almost half of our population is living a life below what is called acceptable. Why?
The answer is right in front of us. Everyday, while we pass through the streets of Metro Manila, we see adults and children alike walking around, all dirty, either doing nothing or holding our their palms asking for a few pesos of pity under the scorching heat of the sun. We see hungry Filipinos in the trash, scraping for unwanted dirty if not spoiled food to ease the pain of their empty stomachs. Whenever I watch the documentaries, the stories that I see are usually about child labor, severely hungry Filipinos, unemployed Filipinos, OFWs, all saying that the Philippines is experiencing extreme poverty. It is also a fact that the number of middle class Filipinos is declining fast because they are all going to the poor level and they can’t hold it much longer. Now, tell me, should I be surprised with this number? I am alarmed with this number but to be surprised would only mean that I am either ignorant or just plain dense. Where do these problems come from anyway? Why are we in this state?
As a student, I can’t answer that problem as accurately as I want to because I myself am wondering why we got into this state. But what I do know, as someone who comes from what we call the class B, is that the steady rising of the population doesn’t come from us. I believe that we are all aware where these alarming numbers come from, the ones who don’t earn enough to support their families. If their numbers continue increasing, they will become even poorer because their needs would continue increasing while their income, if they have any, will stay the same. With this fact and the number of skilled professionals and rich Filipinos who leave the country continue to increase. It is a chain rule, in order to help the Class C and D sectors, the government would need support from the ones who can help. If the ones who can help are gone, how can the government help increase the awareness of the Class C and D sectors on what they’re doing wrong? If they are unaware, how can they help themselves?
Overpopulation might not be the sole cause why this is happening but we can see that with each population increase from the Class D or maybe even the C sector is another dependent without anyone to depend on.