Tag Archives: Philippines

Poverty in the Philippines

Excerpt from my new Coursera course on How to Change the World:

I live in the Philippines, country ranked as 12th  populated country in the world, growing at a rate of 1.89% per year. I do not have the capacity to know exactly how much poverty there is in my country but with dwindling resources in a country with 300,000 sq km total land area and a projected population of 100.6 million for 2014, there is a huge imbalance that I see.  Our country is situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire and needless to say, we’ve had our share of Category 5  hurricanes. Natural disasters occur due to denuded forests because of mining which causes mudflow during onslaught of rain. Crime is on the rise especially during the Christmas season. Poverty and hunger are present especially in the urban and rural poor communities. More than one-quarter (<b>27.9%</b>) of the population fall below the poverty line the first semester of 2012  where the average monthly wage is $279, calculated by the ILO as 19% of the world’s average wage. This places the country at the bottom 3 out of 72 listed countries.

I reside in the biggest city with a population of 2,679,450. Beneath this city lies a major fault line that has not move for a few hundred years or so. I actually live a block away from a river where a water reservoir’s overflow go to when there are heavy rains. Beside the river are so many informal settler families and their young children. The streets become these children’s playground (and that includes our elevated driveway). The river becomes their garbage dump. The city council do not seem to notice the dangers because these informal communities mean votes during elections.

I know this sounds bleak and negative but this is the reality that we have to face. Why did I start this article with the number about our population? For me, I believe that population plays a big role in determining the poverty (and progress) of a nation.

1. More people mean more resources are used up: land space, water, food.
2. More people mean cramped classrooms, informal communities, increased crimes due to not having enough income for daily needs.
3. More people mean more families not being able to send their children to school and in turn when these children grow older, will be unable to send their future children in school to be educated and to learn skills that will pave the way for them to have jobs and incomes to provide for their families.
4. More people mean lack of space to live thus people form informal communities in places that are vulnerable to natural disasters like foot of the hills, riverside and seaside areas.

How can I help?

How can you help?

Thoughts on Ondoy

Ondoy was one of the two major typhoons that hit the country last year. The onslaught of flood waters took many lives, destroyed a lot of properties like homes that took years to build, vehicles which they needed to have vehicle insurance quotes for repair (which is not easy to do when their belongings have been washed away by the flood waters?) and personal belongings.

Ondoy took with it people’s dreams and hopes.

This tragic event brought out the best and the worst in our people.

I personally know friends who have been on the path of the deluge, whose homes were almost destroyed, whose lifelong personal belongings washed away, and loved ones they almost lost.

Everyone had a story to tell.

Everyone had some cleaning up to do one way or another, depending on how the onslaught of flood has affected them.

People tried to put their lives back together.

People tried to see the good this tragedy brought despite the major setbacks they went through.

People’s resolves were tested.

I sincerely hope that everyone has learned a thing or two about this and sincerely pray that none like this will happen again.

Balik Eskwela

Pagbabalik eskwela ang akmang tema ngayong Hunyo.

Narito si Bunso, not exactly nagbabalik eskwela dahil pers taym niya pumasok sa isang pisikal na paaralan pero sa konteksto ng balik-eskwela, ganun na din yun 😀

back to school

Aga namin no? Sarado pa mga classrooms, hehehe. Hindi dahil sa sobrang excitement yan kundi coding kasi kami kaya dapat maaga para hindi mapara ng mamang pulis. Tsaka ang travel time papunta sa paaralan at pauwi, nadagdagan sa sobrang sikip ng trapiko.

Maaga din ang dating ng mga anak ko sa paaralan, siguro 6:30 nandun na sila para sa 7:30 na pasok. First trip kasi sila kaya 5:30am, nandiyan na ang service. Kakapagod, pero mukhang enjoy naman sila kaya ayan, ang aga pa tulog na sila.

Practical Courses

I wrote about Eric Duquette in my teacher blog. I admit, I cried a bit when I watched the video. Who wouldn’t be crying, his journey has been amazing? With the kind of educational system and support (or lack of) we have in this country regarding the public school system, it is heartwarming when we read about students who excel despite the odds. In Eric Duquette’s case, he was diagnosed with autism.

I was saddened with the news last night when I learned that one institution that gives free short courses to mostly out of school youth have their budget slashed. How can this institution help the students who want to learn basic skills like bar tending, sewing clothes, care giver courses and medical transcription courses. I know more than two million students in our country take this path to enable them to land jobs that will later on, hopefully, help them go to nursing and medical assisting schools, and other institutions where they can earn higher academic achievements.

Most of them dream of going and working overseas to earn green bucks. Who else but the government should help them achieve their dreams because in the end, it is the government who will benefit from the remittances that they will send back.

June Happenings

One of the best things to look forward to in June are weddings and here in the Philippines, the opening of classes. Both entail a lot of shopping, attending to details as well as yes, a whole lot of expenditures.

Weddings are wonderful family events. These are even made special when the couple go the distance to look for unique wedding favors (including bridesmaid gifts) as well as make the wedding unique and happy.

The opening of classes is one of the events to look forward to by families especially for those going to the big school for the first time. Many a tears are shed, both by the children and the parents.

June is also a day of celebration for my family since today, June 16, is my dearest mom’s birthday. It is also my parents’ wedding anniversary.

Do you have anything special for the month of June?