Much has been said about Filipinos being poor. They have been the subjects of innumerable documentary presentations in almost all news agencies in the Philippines and even international media. Their communities have been laboratories of learning as if they are “lab rats” assisting us in awakening and clarifying our value-system and hopefully igniting in us the flame of fervor to assist them to improve their lives or at the very least help them accept the fact that they are POOR. It is as if their lives are meant to drive in us the willingness to help them, to perform charitable acts on their behalf. The article even contends that the poor can be our salvation, can be the agent of national liberation and subsequently national identity. (Rafael, 2015)
How can the poor be our salvation? How can they become an agent of national liberation and national identity; when their very existence is unwanted (Human Rights Watch, 2015, Scerri, 2015) when their existence is reduced to “objects” of study and when their very existence has prompted us to raise our fences, to buy guard dogs, to hire bodyguards, to keep our money in banks and to secure our houses with CCTVs. Although we are a nation of poor people, we barely understand what is meant to be a poor Filipino in a society where their very existence is seen as a problem to be solved rather than opportunities to unite us as one nation.
Considering all these, it is a no-brainer topic why all our politicians during election time claim that they are pro-poor along with different institutions such as our Churches, our schools, our companies. We do not understand the plight of the poor that we tend to offer temporary assistance to them in the form of dole-outs, of unsustainable feeding program and other projects with little influence to their lives. The poor is definitely in a disadvantageous position in this country and many take advantage of their situation to promote individual gains. Perhaps even this simple reflection is a form of exploiting the poor.