My mom and I hate seeing poor people begging for money and food while their body condition seems healthy or able to work. Mom always says, “Malalakas pa naman sila. Bakit di sila magtrabaho? Masasanay mga yan pag laging binibigyan”. She’s right. We, Filipinos, are usually emphatic that we always have this soft heart for people in need. But most of the times, we need not only be empathic but be rational and stern to prevent and save the depressing state of our country and fellowmen.
F. Sionil Jose’s article, Why are Filipinos Poor? raises a logical point why we are truly poor yet at the same time may appeal negative for others’ understandings. The article calls for a rational and stern treatment for Filipinos. And for me, that’s the reason why strong words and statements were used by the author. Though for some his points may sound off, I would agree on some of his stated points—Filipinos lack determination and drive, condone corruption and greed, care for their sole good. I agree but do not generalize these traits as for all Filipino and I will try to develop a balance side of why we are like such.
We lack determination in honing and using our fullest potential to raise our current condition. Not all of us have that drive to be their best and give their best. Most are satisfied at working in a big company or even foreign companies then just earn big amount. In that case, what we make prosper are the foreign investors not us, Filipinos. Just look how many tycoons here in the Philippines are of different blood—Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, Ayala and Zobel. Most of us dream to work in their group of companies but not to start our own business, to create employment to Filipinos, and promote our culture in our ventures. Through that, we learn to stand up on our own at the same time help our fellowmen raise their level of living and enrich our culture. But of course, it’s not that easy albeit Filipinos will have that desire to be an initiator of progress. Our government seem to be not supportive on Filipino investors, potential businessmen, and promising Filipino resources and finished goods. They don’t fully exploit these chances and possibilities to be able to compete globally. We even have a poor funding on Science and Technology which nowadays a big boom globally. Who would really have a heart to give service to the country having such unsupportive government while a bigger support and offer welcome them in the hands of foreigners?
The kind of government mentioned in the previous paragraph is also the type of government which is hungry for power, money, and fame. Ever since Marcos’ regime, Filipinos all became aware of this hungry government. At first, we were all outraged to stop this anomaly but selfish desire and personal motive keep on extinguishing this desire. And that’s evident in our politicians/leaders lifestyle. Instead of us, ceasing such acts, we let them perpetuate because we are forced to be voiceless. We are scared and no big person in position can protect us. I believe that we all have that desire to stop these hungry beings feed what’s supposedly ours. But we prefer to live silently and peacefully though oppressed and taken advantage of rather than fighting for what is right but live always close to our grave. What we can do is to meticulously scrutinize the people we put into position and start molding our youth to be faithfully in true service for the country and fellowmen.
Finally, we tend to not realize the need and betterment of the totality. We often miss to consider others’ concern and situation. We don’t see things in a bigger picture. Look how many graduates aim to work abroad. Look how most dream to migrate because of the promising future awaiting them in foreign lands. Sounds selfish I know. But that could be the better case than to see their family starve and be locked in the vicious system we have in the country. It’s really easier to just leave and start a new life in a far place than to try to repair and save the country. But if we will all think that way, there will really be no chance at all. Not even a dot of chance.
F. Sionil is right to call us that we are our own enemy. We truly are and conquering ourselves will be the hardest fight of all. Filipinos are talented, intelligent, positive, and resilient. We just lack a stronger force that could push us to not give up in our situation—that’s consistent hope and untiring love for the country and its men. If we’ll keep the burning hope and love, there’s no way but up. Out of those two intangible things, miracles can happen. If each of us has it, we ourselves will change our values, exploit our potentials and knowledge, decide wisely, and counter the vicious system we have.