On Poverty

Graft and corruption, fiscal crisis, instability, the old, greasy man under the bridge, the rag-clothed children selling sampaguita on the streets [at such a young age], teens about our age sniffing adhesives, street crimes, petty thievery, moral decline, social stratification… A mere image on poverty, its causes and its effects.

I admit that I am no authority on these matters, but looking around, I need not be a rocket scientist to see what poverty has done to us as a people. It has turned us into savages and apathetic wretches. For me, it seems that for man, every day of existence is a struggle for survival. Some of us fight for supremacy, for dominion and for power. Some of us step on others that we may gain ground. Some of us sacrifice countless lives for a stupid causes and fallacious reasons. But some of us fight for a chance to live, for a chance to eat three full meals a day, for a chance to live a better life…

Such is the case of the poverty-stricken. In the entire course of human history; they were the ones who did hard and dirty labor; they were slaves of the powerful tyrants; they were the ones at the frontlines of battle, who fought and died that others may live; they were the ones who were abused and maltreated, tortured and butchered but found no justice in the law; they were the scapegoats blamed for the terrible things happening around; they are the masses. What reward has been given to them throughout the ages? Nothing but lies and empty promises.

Our country is no exception to the poverty issue. You know, it’s really very ironic that we are a divided people. Do remember that we were once slaves to the foreign powers who dominated and raped [our women] and our country. Do remember that we stood united and fought that freedom and equality be restored. Do remember also that we did this for a better life, for a better tommorow. From slaves we became free men and women. But unfortunately, from free men and women we became just like our colonizers who manipulated and used us, maybe even worse. Can’t you see? Why are we divided when we share a common dream? Why are we divided when we know in our individual selves we can do much as a unified people? Why? Because we choose to be.

Poverty is the worst “social sickness” mankind has to face. Poverty is a mixture of apathy, complacency and indifference coupled with suffering and moral decline. In the dictionary, it is “the state of being extremely poor”, but for me, it is the state of social lethargy, the state of cold-hearted fools.

My countrymen, I am but a child, and my opinion may not matter to you. But know that you do not own the world, you merely borrow it from us.

It’s a sad fact that humans are “instinctively” selfish. Our instincts tell us to be greedy and avaricious in order to survive. But being human, we are given the free will to act against these animal instincts. We can transcend from our selfish natures by using this free will.

So, how do we solve the poverty issue? What can I do to help? In my own personal experience, poverty can be conquered through a change, not in society, not in the government, but in oneself. I admit, I once looked down on the marginalized. I thought that were lazy, that they were all criminals and that they deserved their fate. But my closed heart was opened through my faith and through my personal decision to change. I’m still changing though, and I still have problems with myself…

Many people think that poverty can be overcome if the elite dished out all their money to charity. This can help alleviate the poverty issue- to a certain extent. What would happen to those who continually depend on this charity? What if this charity were to close down? What would happen to them? So, instead of giving people fish, teach them how to. There are a lot of livelihood programs going on, and, even though people deny it, there are a lot of job and business opportunities in our country. On our part, we can support our social organizations in their mission(s). “Service to all and for all.”

I once had this experience with a street child. He was about five [I think…] and he kept following me, begging for money and tugging on my shirt. At first, I was annoyed, but I thought to myself: “Why not give him some money? Maybe it’s for his family…” To make things short, I gave him the money. Imagine my surprise when I saw him walk to his friends and use the money I gave him to gamble! Darn, the next time I’ll just offer advice… And so this is my next suggestion: Poverty can be conquered by being an instrument of hope. How? Offer hope to those who have lost it. By just talking to them, you offer people hope. You show them that there is still hope for the future, and that hope is you!

Pray for those who are suffering, those who are abused and maltreated, those who are used and manipulated, those who are sick and dying, those who are weak and powerless, those who are unfortunate and poor. “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the power of prayer no limit.”

Again, I know that I am no authority on these matters. You may think I’m naive, you may think I’m a fool to think this way, but my friend, at least ingorance is not with me. I hope and I pray for the world…

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1 Comment

  1. salamat jian, sobrang laki ng tinulong mo! -gayle


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