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USMC-Retired

Philippines Poverty

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CardiacKid

In the last decade I've worked with a couple thousand of Filipinos here at our plant, had probably a few hundred work under my supervision in different capacities over the years. In my opinion the real myth is that Filipinos are hard workers, there are some who are but most really aren't. They aren't really lazy but just more content to do "just enough" to get by and avoid doing anything above and beyond except when there's a reward involved or their job is on the line, frankly many of them choose not to work hard. They are as a group very dependable as far as being to work every day, staying here year after year and being content with what is given to them but I don't see the drive to better themselves like I do in other groups. Another thing that hold many of them back is jealousy, being self-centered and greed.

 

That has been my observation also both in the US Navy and as a civilian.

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lazydays

Who said anyone wants the situation here to improve? Not the elites who benefit from the misguided foreigners who bring in money to help the poor. Not the poor themselves whose only goal is a bottle of Tanduay and a stick of cigarette. Certainly not the businessmen who benefit from the low wages and slave-master relationship of employer to employee. Last but not least the Church, whose ninth century ideas perpetuate poverty through the condemnation of birth control and smaller families. Larger litters mean more Christians as they try to outbreed the Muslims. Poverty here is a way of life that must be enjoyed by the locals as they do little to change it. Hand wringing and tears as big as horse turds do not make up for a near total lack of ambition from the poor. I am sure this post will offend some, but in the 45 years I have been around this country this is the opinion I have formed. Expats benefit greatly from this situation. There is an almost endless supply of young women who are desperate enough to do anything to try to escape the poverty cycle. Prices are low because at the bottom of the pyramid people are starving and dying from easily treated diseases. On your next trip to Ayala or a beach resort please take the time to say Thank You to the POS you see sitting in front of a sari-sari store with a Grandee and a cigarette. His lack of ambition makes your life here better. :biggrin_01:

 

Sadly,there is a lot of truth in those words.

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CardiacKid

I agree with a lot of what you say, but not the part i underlined. I dont think anyone enjoys poverty, but when you have lived with it all your life, and everyone around you lives with it, and no one seems to be able to escape it, then people just plain give up hope- and acceptance occurs. But never enjoyment. To get people to become more ambitious you must first demonstrate to them that there is some reason for doing so- and that involves giving people hope [ and i certainly do NOT mean the kind of hope that their churches feed them ] .

 

I probably went overboard in the underlined statement. I am into the second generation of trying to help my in-laws. First them, and now their children. Despair is a constant companion. The biggest obstacle seems to be getting them to realize that something better is out there if they work for it. I cannot and will not let the children suffer, but I have little, if any, respect for the adults.

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RogerDuMond

I probably went overboard in the underlined statement. I am into the second generation of trying to help my in-laws. First them, and now their children. Despair is a constant companion. The biggest obstacle seems to be getting them to realize that something better is out there if they work for it. I cannot and will not let the children suffer, but I have little, if any, respect for the adults.

Maybe your statement shouldn't be so general. Not all families and not all people are the same.

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digiteye

I think poverty and beggars should be separated. Beggars often work for a gang that have a good life and they may not be as poor as they look. If they are real beggars, they are still the bottom of the poor, that represents the widespread real poverty.

 

I don't want to repeat much as many points were covered, but the situation is maintained by:

 

The church for endless reproduction of masses to make the church's existence inevitable. I have seen not one church being built. I don't see that anywhere else, people just go to existing old churches. Here its one of the common building to rise.

 

The elite, that owns and controls production and trade of basic needs, such as sugar, beer, rice, cigarettes, electricity, animal feed and the agricultural sector in a whole. While they cannot rise prices simply, they can increase the revenue by the growth of the population. They have no interest in development, modern industry and the like, as it takes investment and they would have to compete in a tough international market which they wont. Who would buy a Pinoy brand TV instead of a Sony anyways? That ship has gone and they know it. If they allow foreign industry in the country, they want their share otherwise no entry.

But even with the more basic products... Why is there no other beer but San Miguel? Why is Coca Cola this huge here? (I would love to see the ownership structure of the local Coke company and the deals that allowed it to expand).

 

There are no other interested parties in maintaining the status quo. All the rest are orchestrated by these, through politics, education etc.

 

In the meantime there has an extremely weird character been developed for Filipinos, which is a mix of laziness, carelessness, using or accepting corruption money from top to bottom, egoism, using lies freely in any situation with no moral limits and pretending. All with the glaze of smiling, not showing real emotions and saving face. Oh, let me add pride, vanity and some kind of weird dignity - which often lack any ground.

 

Majority of the population live like prehistoric men and they seem loving it. They put up their huts at the best panoramic views on other's land near the roads and they know most of the time they wont be bothered. These masses of people will never have a proper job and even if they don't beg, they still belong to the poor. They are only good to ensure reproduction for those who ruling the country.

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Davolives

I think poverty and beggars should be separated. Beggars often work for a gang that have a good life and they may not be as poor as they look. If they are real beggars, they are still the bottom of the poor, that represents the widespread real poverty.

 

I don't want to repeat much as many points were covered, but the situation is maintained by:

 

The church for endless reproduction of masses to make the church's existence inevitable. I have seen not one church being built. I don't see that anywhere else, people just go to existing old churches. Here its one of the common building to rise.

 

The elite, that owns and controls production and trade of basic needs, such as sugar, beer, rice, cigarettes, electricity, animal feed and the agricultural sector in a whole. While they cannot rise prices simply, they can increase the revenue by the growth of the population. They have no interest in development, modern industry and the like, as it takes investment and they would have to compete in a tough international market which they wont. Who would buy a Pinoy brand TV instead of a Sony anyways? That ship has gone and they know it. If they allow foreign industry in the country, they want their share otherwise no entry.

But even with the more basic products... Why is there no other beer but San Miguel? Why is Coca Cola this huge here? (I would love to see the ownership structure of the local Coke company and the deals that allowed it to expand).

 

There are no other interested parties in maintaining the status quo. All the rest are orchestrated by these, through politics, education etc.

 

In the meantime there has an extremely weird character been developed for Filipinos, which is a mix of laziness, carelessness, using or accepting corruption money from top to bottom, egoism, using lies freely in any situation with no moral limits and pretending. All with the glaze of smiling, not showing real emotions and saving face. Oh, let me add pride, vanity and some kind of weird dignity - which often lack any ground.

 

Majority of the population live like prehistoric men and they seem loving it. They put up their huts at the best panoramic views on other's land near the roads and they know most of the time they wont be bothered. These masses of people will never have a proper job and even if they don't beg, they still belong to the poor. They are only good to ensure reproduction for those who ruling the country.

 

 

As much as i hate to admit it I agree with you totally ! The only addition I would make to your list is ACCEPTANCE ! So many people are just so fecking willing to accept the way that things are and have given up even thinking about trying to improve things.

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digiteye

As much as i hate to admit it I agree with you totally ! The only addition I would make to your list is ACCEPTANCE ! So many people are just so fecking willing to accept the way that things are and have given up even thinking about trying to improve things.

 

Yes, thats right. Acceptance of these things and call as Filipino culture... Because thats what they call it.

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Headshot

This thread has some of the most intelligent and insightful posts I have EVER seen on the LinC forums. That says a lot...because there is a lot of very good information sprikled though the forums. I sincerely want to thank those who have offered such accurate descriptions of what makes the Filipino ethos what it is. They are right on the money in most cases. Many have said that you can't get a feel of a country by reading a forum or website, but anybody reading this topic will have a much better understanding of the Philippines for having read it. Certainly, the sights and sounds of this place will still surprise...and sometimes shock...the foreigner who has not experienced a real third-world country first-hand before...but they can go much better prepared because of your thoughtful posts. This thread is a MUST-READ for anyone considering a move (or even a visit) to the Philippines. Thank you.

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sandwindstars

......as I may have mentioned some time back, poverty is a cultural issue IMO. The RP culture would have to change, or at least "recalibrate"..........

 

I agree but not exactly cultural issue. It's a socio-economic- politicall issue. There are two major events that re-engineered Philippine society. The difficulties suffered during Japanese occupation which calibrated people's mind into survival mode resulting in the "breakdown" in society (law, order, values) as explained by post war Filipino social historians. The other is the Marcos regime whose agenda was to re engineer Philippine society according to his own "image".

 

I was born there, and before my family left 40 years ago, the Philippines was a thriving society or at least trying hard. Yes, there were beggars, the "kanto" boys, squatters, and the usual suspects we see today but they were not in one's face or you may have to go them. There were also real possibilties for those who want out of the poverty trap. (Know people including whole families who made good-got educated, jobs, and did well.) Post war to the mid-60's the government squatters were successfully resettled from Manila, e.g the cities of Carmona and San Juan del Monte (near Metro Manila). But 20 years of Marcos rule drove the country into a quagmire. He created new norms in society, economy and politics. At the end of his term, certain people got rich and richer, the middle class didn't stay in the middle, and the poor found new tricks, even selling their own kids. And people who could left the country.

 

Unfortunately, the current pols, church and business leaders are products of that era. If the opportunities were at least better, or the playing field not as sharply uneven as it is today (unlike 40 years ago), then there would be less of this social disease. If it was a cultural issue, then Filipinos overseas would not be as successful or as hardworking. Just look at the Filipinos who left. the country. They are the same Filipinos as in the Philippines except in a different social-economic-political context.

 

Ninoy Aquino said, the person who would follow Marcos would have to enact draconian measures to undo the damage. Unfortunately, his wife didn't listen to him. Maybe the country needs these draconian measure or at least someone with big and heavy balls to bring social and political order and ensure a better distribution of wealth and opportunities.

Edited by sandwindstars
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InternetTough

Let's not forget the industry focus for every little town. Professors told me that Park Chung-hee would get into his helicopter and point out areas. "This town is going to make product X, this one will be know for product Y, and this one should focus on product Z." To this day you have cities that will tell you they are famous for hot peppers, LED signs, plasma screens, ship building, or whatever.

 

But I think in Korea everybody was poor at some point. At least that's how the story goes. The Hyundai and Samsung families were poor just like everybody else after the war. Here in the Philippines we have some long-standing legacy money - people with interests to protect.

 

 

Lee Byung-chull, founder of Samsung, came from an old, powerful, landowning family. His family did alright under the Japanese, and prospered after the war. When Park Chung-hee took over in 1961, he was in Japan. He was at a loss at what to do. He was afraid that Park was a communist---there were real reasons for thinking that he might be (he wasn't)---and then he hit on the formula: Return to Korea and give all his businesses to the state! Park refused the gift, but let him know that he was going to have to take orders.

 

Chung Ju-young started poor under the Japanese and built up his businesses from scratch. He had money after the Japanese, though.

 

 

Given the choice, the richer groups never would have wanted Park for their leader. He was a low-class (not low-ranking) army officer. One of the first things he did when he took power was clamp down on real estate speculation. He saw that as making nothing but money---not building a nation. Wealthy individuals who made money in real estate were forced to wear dunce caps and march in parades in Seoul. On the caps would be written inspiring slogans like, "I eat the people." Park was somewhat Maoist in some of the things he did. But if the rich turned around and invested in export businesses, Park would back them with NEGATIVE interest loans. He'd pay you to borrow from the government! According to Park, some ways of making money were definitely better than others. He was no utopian free-marketeer.

 

The old money in the Philippines could be too complacent. I am sure that it is no more complacent than the Korean old money was before the Japanese.

 

 

There was huge corruption before Park---South Korean generals would sell their units allotment of gasoline and force their soldiers to walk everywhere. There was corruption after Park. The biggest difference between Park and Syngman Rhee was that Park was interested in huge projects that would build up Korea and the national confidence level. He liked things like the Seoul-Busan highway and POSCO. He decided that Korea needed to export, so it needed huge ports---another big project. He built the steel plant against all international advice, and the highway, too. He built the highway before Korea had many cars or trucks. He was a real driver of development.

 

 

Many of Park's ideas came from his experience in the Japanese army in Manchuria. There was a leftist thinker named Takahashi who analyzed the world economy as a Marxist but believed that the state and big business must work together. Takahashi was influential in Japanese thinking as to Manchurian development. He was a self-educated, eccentric, Marxist. He was not a product of a prestigious school. Park was also an outsider.

 

 

By the way, Park experimented with devaluing the currency in his first two years in office. It hardly did anything to boost exports. Today, if the USA expects to boost its exports, it is going to have to do more than just make its stuff a bit cheaper. It could be a semi-secret policy of the US Government to devalue the dollar.

 

ERRATA: I earlier said that Park had 4 Year Plans---he actually had 5 Year Plans.

Edited by InternetTough
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smokey

every year there is a storm and people die and every year there is hunger and EVERY year the elected officals get large amounts of money from japan, us , europe , china , etc etc and every year the money vanishes and we start the cycle again blaming the last elected offical who was stealing but the new officals dont steal... well until the next group comes in

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Headshot

I agree but not exactly cultural issue. It's a socio-economic- politicall issue. There are two major events that re-engineered Philippine society. The difficulties suffered during Japanese occupation which calibrated people's mind into survival mode resulting in the "breakdown" in society (law, order, values) as explained by post war Filipino social historians. The other is the Marcos regime whose agenda was to re engineer Philippine society according to his own "image".

 

I was born there, and before my family left 40 years ago, the Philippines was a thriving society or at least trying hard. Yes, there were beggars, the "kanto" boys, squatters, and the usual suspects we see today but they were not in one's face or you may have to go them. There were also real possibilties for those who want out of the poverty trap. (Know people including whole families who made good-got educated, jobs, and did well.) Post war to the mid-60's the government squatters were successfully resettled from Manila, e.g the cities of Carmona and San Juan del Monte (near Metro Manila). But 20 years of Marcos rule drove the country into a quagmire. He created new norms in society, economy and politics. At the end of his term, certain people got rich and richer, the middle class didn't stay in the middle, and the poor found new tricks, even selling their own kids. And people who could left the country.

 

Unfortunately, the current pols, church and business leaders are products of that era. If the opportunities were at least better, or the playing field not as sharply uneven as it is today (unlike 40 years ago), then there would be less of this social disease. If it was a cultural issue, then Filipinos overseas would not be as successful or as hardworking. Just look at the Filipinos who left. the country. They are the same Filipinos as in the Philippines except in a different social-economic-political context.

 

Ninoy Aquino said, the person who would follow Marcos would have to enact draconian measures to undo the damage. Unfortunately, his wife didn't listen to him. Maybe the country needs these draconian measure or at least someone with big and heavy balls to bring social and political order and ensure a better distribution of wealth and opportunities.

I agree with you on most everything except the cultural assessment. Socio-economic-political issues and attitudes ARE a part of the culture...not just here...but everywhere in the world. And the existing status-quo has been embedded for long enough here that it has become an integral part of the culture. Those who cannot stomach living under this culture...find ways to leave. Therefore, those Filipinos you find overseas often have much more than distance between them and there in-country counterparts.

 

Unfortunately, unless there is total revolution, those who come to power must live within...and be comfortable with...the political and economic system as it is. Therefore, I wouldn't count on anyone who is duly elected here to rock the boat in any significant way. It just isn't going to happen. Even if there was a revolution, those who took power who likely just insert themselves in place of those they displaced. Throughout history...and not just in the Philippines...that has been the norm. True...they may have a different political agenda...but it is unlikely that there will be radical changes for the vast majority of the people.

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sjp

It seems to me that GREED is the real culprit here. Greed is what toppled the US and is what keeps the Philippines a 3rd world country. When I saw that list of all the millionaires and billionaires in this country and then to know how many people are dieing of starvation or hungry all the time and that all the rich people just want to get more money rather than help the poor. It made me wish I had a magic wand that I could wave and turn the poor people into the rich and the rich people into the poor. Greed is winning the war against Empathy.

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InternetTough

It seems to me that GREED is the real culprit here. Greed is what toppled the US and is what keeps the Philippines a 3rd world country. When I saw that list of all the millionaires and billionaires in this country and then to know how many people are dieing of starvation or hungry all the time and that all the rich people just want to get more money rather than help the poor. It made me wish I had a magic wand that I could wave and turn the poor people into the rich and the rich people into the poor. Greed is winning the war against Empathy.

 

 

Money making as a sole motive is destructive. We can't be like St. Francis of Assisi, but the alternative isn't to become Hetty Green. There is a lot of room in the middle.

Edited by InternetTough

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TheDuke

The rich people in the Philippines definitely want there to be a huge class divide. There are only 2 classes in the Philippines. Very rich and very poor. Among the very poor there are homeless and people that work everyday jobs such as department store clerks. There is no middle class. There could be a middle class in the Philippines if the Philippines government increased government spending by taxing the rich. This would create a middle class in the Philippines, but it won't happen. The very rich families of the Philippines control the government and have not created any programs and have not in the slightest bit spread their wealth. They haven't done this because they don't want a middle class in the Philippines. They want to control everything and have all the power. The only thing saving the economy from collapsing is the remittances of OFW's which was estimated at over $18 billion in 2010. Sadly, I feel the Philippines is a lost cause and living on borrowed time. It's just a matter of time before the chickens come home to roost....and it ain't gonna be pretty when it happens.

 

This website has some good articles about the Philippines.

 

http://getrealphilippines.com/blog/2011/03/filipinos-cannot-progress-if-they-cannot-follow-even-simple-guidelines/

Edited by TheDuke
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