This entry didn't make it to the blog action day and for the life of me, it wasn't even an entry in an essay writing contest that I was supposed to be a part of. It's not important anyway. Special issues shouldn’t jut be acted upon only during days of blog festivities and literary competitions whatnot.
Beautiful is an adjectival understatement for a country like mine. As a country branded as Pearl of the Orient, it is undeniably blessed with countless tourist spots, extraordinary delicacies, lush resources and rather intelligent citizens. This is but a mask of the current financial crisis that every Filipino has to endure and witness in his daily life. He sits with his family during meals, and asks himself questions like "How can I feed my family tomorrow?" and "Will I still have enough money to support my children's education?"
Yes, today and for the past decades, we have been experiencing a crisis. Thousands or even millions of Filipinos are unemployed, more and more children are deprived of their bare necessities and the number of out-of-school children is constantly increasing. Everyday we see homeless people begging for money to other people who, just the same, are grabbing on for their dear jobs to provide needs to their own families. While unemployment and population statistics alarm us, the government and its branches are more focused on debates about "equally important" matters of consequence. What is more frightening than knowing that our nation is led by people who cannot see real everyday scenarios of starving Filipinos on the media and even on their way to their offices?
With everything that is happening, we probably ask ourselves. Who should we blame? Who should help us? Why do we suffer from poverty? Why can't we get up and recover from these difficulties?
There is no one to blame, not even the government, not even who we call god. We are all a part of this system that we constantly complain about and not all of us do something to address its problems. Why should we be stuck on pointing fingers when we can just move forward and work harder to experience better lives?
Most Filipinos would tell you, a lot of companies are closing down because of the economy and I say this isn't so. It's by constant determination that we realize there are more opportunities than we can ever imagine. If we would only seek further than what is in front of us, we know we can have what we need.
What we learn in school should not just stay in notebooks and exams. If we have really learned enough, we would know that we have no one to help us but ourselves. Poverty is a phenomenon which stays not because it is natural, but because people affected by it feel that it can't be helped. I have learned that depending on others for survival won't bring any good to my future. I have learned that when I depend on my parents for my wants, and on my friends for comfort, in the end I won't be able to act on my own. We need to become individuals who can act independently in order to bring about a unified change in the system. The government is there, but it cannot help all the Filipinos in buying a kilo of rice for a family of six. We need to help ourselves. By changing morals and negative habits and by instilling discipline and independence among children, we can make the country a more suitable place to live in, in the future if not today.
Suffering is a consequence. Our choices bring us to the effects that if we do not anticipate, will bring damage not only to the economic aspect of our nation but to all facets of being a Filipino. We suffer because we have flaws. It is not entirely inevitable but we have to accept that every once in a while, we need to suffer and experience having less. Nonetheless, its inevitability does not mean permanence. If a child does not persevere in finishing his studies, he will end up finding difficulties in raising his family's quality of living, if not his own. If a graduate does not practice the course that he studied for four or five years, he will end up wasting his parents' money for a choice which took too late a time to be made. If an official decides to hog the money to himself because it's the trend in the government, funds which should go to more Filipinos will only be wasted for personal gains. We suffer because we choose to suffer. Poverty is a choice.
It may not just reflect on the kind of lives that we have now, but we need a radical change. Education must be valued and applied. Children must realize their right to learn. People must know the worth and benefits of being able to study and train themselves to live and survive. Morals must never be forgotten and replacement of bad habits must be immediately applied. These things are easier said than done, but if we want to escape this long-term illness that slowly kills our right to enjoy life, why shouldn't we try?
Let me end this post with a saying that goes, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.” We alone can break this vicious cycle. Poverty cannot be solved with a snap of a finger. It takes a while, but if we start now, we can and will wake up from this decade-long nightmare. Let us wake up.