Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Desperation Leads To A Creative Pinoy

*READERS BE WARNED: Portions of this entry may wreak havoc on your senses. Reader discretion is advised.

There was a survey that said that there less Filipinos who think they are poor. Yes they are no longer poor, they are desperate. Filipinos have been known to be creative in times of crises. Filipinos have also been known to love exotic dishes. There are several regions in the Philippines which actual consider bugs, field rodents and other animals as delicacies. That is true in the provinces, but it should never happen in Metro Manila. We all know how germ-filled these critters can be.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and some Filipinos have done just that. I Don't think that Discovery's Travel and Living or the Lifestyle channels will ever feature these in their programs. Wolfgang Puck wouldn't even dare showcase this in his show as well. Even Bizarre Food host, Andrew Zimmern will be put to shame with what some communities consider as food.

Several communities, not just families have resorted to using house roaches, rats and other life forms as their food. Yikes! I have tried crickets and ants, but those I mentioned I would definitely never try. Out of desperation and decreasing opportunities, people even dig up leftovers from trashcans. This is what we call "Pag-pag". They reheat these thinking it would decontaminate the food. Some have also become enterprising enough and sell these leftovers to poor people like them. Goods that are way off their shelf life are even gobbled up. You can just imagine how desperate these people must be. They have compromised their health and decency in the name of survival.

While Gloria and her gang boasts of a growing economy, why do practices like these continue? GMA says Filipinos are choosy and that is why the jobless continue to grow. There are thousands of jobs out there, but the employers are to blame not the job seekers. The requirements are either too restrictive or applicants do not match the jobs they offer. Corruption and an unstable government continue to shoo away investors. High taxes have also limited the Filipinos' buying capacity. Tax alone takes away almost half of a worker's pay. What is worst, despite the high taxation, social services are almost nonexistent.

The cost of living has gone up yet the pay remains low. People now have to resort to the unthinkable just to make ends meet. Children are forced to work to augment the needs of their families. As the country's population shots up, a holier than thou church continues block birth control programs yet they cannot offer anything concrete to address the problem. Gloria in her fear of being excommunicated has refused to allow NGOs to distributed contraceptives and billions are lost in international aid because of this.

The gap between rich and poor continue to grow. Child labor is on the rise and the poverty situation is worsening. Farm lands are lost to industrialization which has forced the country to import even the most staple of foods. With a government set on mining our country into oblivion, one would wonder if it is all worth it. Fertile fields lay idles, their tillers deprived of the livelihood their forefathers taught them. Subsidy for the agriculture sector is even stolen.

Our fisher folks do not fair better. Our seas are being raided by foreign fishermen with the coastguard unable to do anything. Companies which operate fish and pearl farms have even banned fishing in areas near their operations. I did not know that the bounties of the sea are only for the rich. Mining has ruined our waterways with government doing nothing. In fact, they are in the process of allowing more companies to mine our resources. As if this is not enough, communities around these mines do not benefit from them but are made to suffer and live in toxic environments.

Politicians allow logging in their areas and once lush forest are gone. Some politicians even own these firms. Even forest reserves have been given to these politicians in exchange for their loyalty to the current dispensation. With the bio-fuels law passed, authored by the senator of Maguindanao, our forest will soon disappear only to be replaced by his jatropha. Farmers will definitely plant this as well in the hope that it will give them more earnings. Food supply will be threatened anew.

The Filipinos have been known to be very creative and resilient. I just hope that in desperation, people would not resort to anything like the movie, Soylent Green.