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Friday, January 25, 2008

Why the Philippines Is Poor?

To be poor is not easy. This one heavy word is caused by a lot of reasons. Among others are fate, geographic location, culture, history, climate and people. With my twenty two years of stay in this country, I have learned a lot. I have also seen alot and experienced a lot. We take these few observations I have.

Geographic Location
With more than 7000 islands floating in the waters of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding seas of the country, it is very difficult to unite the inhabitants. There is a strong regionalism existing among various groups like Ilocanos, Batangenos, Bicolanos, Cebuanos, Ilonggos, among others. It is stronger for a person in Iloilo to consider himself/herself as an Ilonggo than to be considered a Filipino. Moreover, it is difficult to reach the other parts of the country with limited options. A trip from Luzon to Mindanao need either a plane or a ferry. Land travel is impossible.

The Catholic Teaching
Don't get me wrong for I have nothing against the church. In fact I salute the Roman Catholic for its power and continuous leadership. I used to attend Sunday masses when I was in Philippines. I also accompanied my granmother for novenas to various saints and for special occasions. To be honest, my grandmother also did a novena for my examination as a CPA and yes, I passed!

However, with my wide understanding and questioning nature, I have noticed that in all novena guides and preachings in the church's sermon that I have heard, it was all about being poor. "Poor will have easier way to heaven." "Blessed are the poor for they are...blah blah blha..." I don't really know why we have this kind of church teaching. Why? What is wrong with being rich? Is it wrong to have money and be not a liability to the society? Is it wrong not to beg? Is it wrong not to do pick pockets and robbery or to steal for one has enough money? I don't know what is with this poor thing when half the riches of the world are owned by the church!

To teach the majority of Filipinos this way, progress is a blurry image.

Colonial Mentality
Generally, Filipinos ( I am a Filipino) have strong inclination to foreign things. Products of America are highly regarded than Filipino products. Westerns/Caucasians are regarded as a better race. Women in the country are dying to have a fairer skin. People with long and pointed nose are proud and laughs at those with pugged ones. Imports are always better even in the Philippine basketball Association team! Oh my God! I do hate these beliefs and mentality. Women are dying to marry foreign nationals.... any would be all right except to a Filipino. Even he (the caucasian) is eighty years old! Whattalaugh! But this one defines practicality. At least this is a wise choice. But at the same time, there are a lot of lapses in it.

These traits are obviously caused by centuries of colonization in the country. But i don't think this is common attitude for other nations were also colonized and they don't have these traits. Malaysians are very proud to be of Malay race than to be Chinese. In Philippines, people wish they were Chinese!

Filipinos Are Too Wise to Be True!
Yes, there is no question with the mental capabilities of my fellow Filipinos. Bright, brilliant, genius, awesome, you name it, it is Pinoy if it is good! The truth is, there is a thin line between ingenuity and craziness. Have you heard about the recently concluded 2006 Nurse Board Exams? About the Mr. Garcia who was deported in the U.S for changing tags in a store item? I am sure these were all caused by too much knowledge. What do you think?

Local and national leaders are too intelligent. Yes, they can even keep on stealing public funds and get away with it. After all, they are Filipinos. Wise, sly...and what else?

Brain Drain

All the brilliant minds professionals and skilled workers) in the country go to search for a better world and surroundings. Most of all, for a better compensation package. It is very true that the cost of living in the Philippines is very low and is simply proportionate to the income earned by its inhabitants. But how about leisure and travel? Can anyone allow to be only within the country for all his/her life? To not observe the world around? To be contented with what the country offers? The peso needs to be competitive and the salaries of the Filipinos must be raised. At least, the majority can go abroad for travel and see the difference of their beloved Mother country compared to the neighboring Asian countries. In this manner, they would see how a real good life can be if there is discipline and unity. If there is no one throwing garbage in the rivers how beautiful and clean the waters can be... how floods could have been prevented. If the people of the country think of the future and progress.

Sigh.... I am sleepy. I do hope there is a better future for my country. I love Philippines!


  1. very nice post.. really tells the reality in the philippines... *sigh*how i wish filipinos would come to realize all this things!

  2. I also would like to add that some of the Philippine islands are situated along fault lines making these areas most affected by earthquakes; the country is also susceptible to high tide and other natural disasters like the tsunami and volcano eruption, such as the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991. Mud and land slides are also common because of the climate, geographic location, the oceans surrounding the islands, and of course, because of the corrupted government who lack the initiatives to pose solutions to these ongoing problems.

    Sorry if I could not explain what I meant in a more geographic and scientific manner what I meant above. I read this somewhere from google scholar. Peace! :D

  3. I never realize this old article of mine is still visible. Thank your for your ideas shared and Alle, thanks for liking this one. It was one of my very first pists and when you requested it to be shared, it was only when I go back and read it with concentration.... I thought? "Did I really write this?"... Hahah.. What a strange feeling!

  4. I agree. I think one of the reason why PHILIPPINES is still poor because our country is very young compared to other countries.

    Someones told me that at the time of President Marcos, Philippines is the second to the most industrial countries (second to Japan) but what happened to us is we don't grow and develop ourselves.

    Sometimes I am thinking like this, the Philippines is still poor because how can someone think to give a solution if he/she doesn't FEEL what is happening..makeup our mind and the answer might flash in front of us, somehow let us pursue what we did, what we think is right, and strive to survive....

  5. Great thanks for your blog. I was googling why philippines is poor and your blog came out. You are absulotely true, most filipinos are afraid to show up what they have in mind, most ideas are pending. And mostly if not all filipino/chiness are leading the country, owning a business ect. They seems not to care of the improvement it's because all they think is themselve. Most filipinos are ignorant as of yet i am hoping that one day we have massive amount of educated ones that soon will lead our country. We are less productive as will, climate has a bit of contribution for that i think it's because our country is so hot and people really don't feel like working a lot when it's hot look at america people are on vacation a lot during summer but hey that is not an excuse why we are poor. Did you notice most of the cooler areas of the world are rich?
    I love philippines too so much that i want to contribute for a huge improvement in my own family for a start but if we just keep doing it solo! it's going to be so slow like a slug until we loose hope..but hey i am never gonna loose hope i will keep striving like what heartsees said for the better future of our family...

  6. Reason Magazine explains in this article why the Philippines is poor. It's a couple of pages long but i've taken some excerpts below:

    Consider the situation: money that was provided because of social networks rather than need; a project designed for prestige rather than use; a lack of monitoring and accountability; and an architect appointed for show by somebody with little interest in the quality of the work. The outcome is hardly surprising: A project that should never have been built was built, and built badly. The lesson of the story might appear to be that self-interested and ambitious people in power are often the cause of wastefulness in developing countries. But self-interested and ambitious people are in positions of power, great and small, all over the world.
    But then you might say that it's not news at all that corruption is a small part of a bigger picture of why we are poor but the article contends that...

    It is not news that corruption and perverse incentives matter. But perhaps it is news that the problem of twisted rules and institutions explains not just a little bit of the gap between [the poor] and rich countries but almost all of the gap.

    The story ends with...

    We still don't have a good word to describe what is missing ... in poor countries across the world. But we are starting to understand what it is. Some people call it "social capital," or maybe "trust." Others call it "the rule of law," or "institutions." But these are just labels. The problem is that ... like other poor countries, [it] is a topsy-turvy place where it's in most people's interest to take actions that directly or indirectly damage everyone else.

    So how do we fix it?
    Unfortunately, the article just gives us the reason why. It does not tell us how to fix it.

  7. I really do not feel that the poor are just being poor to get into heaven. The poor in every country is a developing in every country in the world. However, it is an issue that is not at the top of the list. The poor should always be helped but they are not the most important things for society, even though they are very high up.

  8. For me he best way to help our country is we have to be more disciplined and respect other people. We must act as one in a positive way.

    The big question today in our society is how to discipline ourselves.

  9. What a nice topic in this blog... someone is still concern in their own place the Phils. and i'm so happy with it, you can count me in... I really want some changes in our country & i dont know were to begin, so many questions in my mind that need an answer why we live this way, our lifestyle, no foods to eat, no shelter no house, land, because owned by some alien, i can think that we have no place in our own land our birthplace.

    Sometimes I've got heartaches & even tears in my eyes when i saw little children walking around the streets asking for money, they don't even think about what risk that they have in streets just for a single peso coin, no foods to eat, no shelter & even no clothes I don't know who's to be blame. the government?

    I wonder government officials & some other candidates spending more than 100 million pesos just for tv commercials with their advocacy & campaign. is it fair? They invest millions & even billions of pesos just to win for the election logically they will just fool us, there are many things in helping people rather aiming as a politician.(some politicians are good but they're only few majority is just playing games to us)

    Our country allocated a budget of more than 50 billion pesos in building school facilities but sad to say, teachers & principals asking for some donations to parents just to build some chairs in school,where's the money now? sad but it's true...that money come from our taxes but in return taxes are not use for it's own purpose, its in the wallet of some bad people in the government. OFW's are working abroad with blood and tears far away from their relatives how sad that brilliant & intelligent people no chance to serve & work to his own land, OFW's contributed 18 billion income approximate a year 18billion for the government where the money go? try to include that taxes that we contributed per year not only billion more than that digit. where the money go?

    Honestly where not a poor country it's just the greed, selfish of some individuals in the govt. Cold countries like USA, Japan & etc. are rich, Hot Countries like Kingdom of Saude Arabia, Dubai & etc were also rich.

    Now here comes the Philippines not so cold not so hot, were at the middle, a tropical climate, plenty of natural resources, mountains, rivers, name it.... aliens wants our climate most & our place, Philippines is a rich country full of natural resources, people were so intelligent & talented, in boxing we have pacquiao, in billiard we have Efren & Jango, in bowling we have nepumcino, in singer we have a Arnel Pineda currently lead vocalist of Journey,

    We almost have everything, our country is very rich the only problem is the people who utilize & cultivate it.

    Thank you so much... it's my pleasure joining this awesome blog..

    I'm Jacob P. layan you can email me for some concerns layanjay@yahoo.com.ph

  10. Though I see those kinds of traits mentioned above in my self, I still hope I could change it. Even those traits are factors to Philippine poverty, Filipinos paid less attention to reality that we ourselves must strive hard to extend to others. That we should not be selfish. Correct that mostly Filipinos are not investment-awared. We tried to look for a job where in fact there are lots of alternatives to do. In capitalism, Filipinos are mostly oriented to the labor force. We are educated for labor (notice the thousands or millions of OFWs) except only to those business people but mostly are. If you visit the Philippines, you can find positive sides on us. A Filipino family is rather harmonious than those western countries. We cared our elders til they die. We valued our culture and we are happy people. The problem is we are not really united and my goal is contribution to Philippine Unity.

    How will the Filipinos Unite?

    • To lead the country with righteous leaders.
    Our past presidents became icons of philippine corruption. It must be stop. We just hope this coming 2010 election, a righteous one will be elected. One who is a voice to the nation, fearing God solidly and can make the Filipinos unite.

    • Purified hearts for Filipinos
    In able to have a purified heart, one must pray because it is a spiritual communication to God. Make prayer a practice everyday and see how we change. Filipinos must be changed and through prayer you can find answers. Answers are just revealed in our hearts. Of course by putting God first above all. It must start with a pure heart. Filipinos are the spiritual Israelites and God has equal favor on us.

    • All Christians intercede.
    All Christians believing with faith in Christ must dwell together in unity, according to Psalm 133:1. Be bold and strong all righteous people in outreaching those lost Filipino souls. Every slam areas must be outreached, every poor must be helped. Filipinos must extend to others and practice unselfishness.

    We will arise, through faith. God is with us!

  11. God is with us, we will arise!


  13. The reason that the Philippines is poor is that they had the bad luck to be colonized by the Spanish. Most if not all of the countries colonized by the Spanish are family centered, poor and corrupt. The list is long and impressive, Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia, Chili, and yes even Spain itself.

    The Catholic Church has become a major point of entertainment for the people and does it’s best to keep the people quiet and unambitious. Not to mention it’s debilitating stand on birth control.

  14. so the maen reson fileepins is poor is becouse of religion and geograph location!!!!!!! help!!!!

  15. The Philippines is poor because:
    The key to the answer is by identifying first who are the poor Filipinos. Then determine what are the mental set of these Filipinos. Unless their minds will turn 180 degrees, they keep on going the same direction towards poverty. Even President Noynoy "tuwid na daan" is still deficient because the assumption is that poverty alleviation depends on the president rather than on these poor Filipinos. The following demonstrate some specific attitudes of these Filipinos:
    1.Poor people produce more children, most grow to become even poorer than their parents. On the other hand most rich people produce few children. Hence the poor multiply and the rich remains few. THE RICH MAKES MORE MONEY, WHILE THE POOR MAKES MORE POOR PEOPLE. Poor Filipinos produce many children then look up to the President to support them.
    2.Most poor people rely on their children to improve their lives, which means if ever the improvement will happen, it will take at least 25 years in the future.
    3.Christian Filipinos are taught to be contented with poverty, afterall the poor will inherit the heaven and it is difficult for a rich man to enter heaven.
    4.Most Filipinos rely on the politicians to improve their lives. If only 50% of the Filipinos think that their lives can be improved despite the politicians, then the Philippines is no longer poor.
    5.Some school teachings will make Filipinos lazy. Like the country is rich in natural resources, despite the fact that the original forests are gone, the minerals are already mined out, and the seas are already destroyed. The schools should instead emphazise that the wealth of the Philippines are its people with the right attitude and thinking directions.
    6.Poor Filipinos think they are smart because they are able to occupy on lands not their own, they can outsmart speeding vehicles by crossing highways, they can get wages without work outputs. They even try to outsmart floods, typhoons, and landslides. But in the end they are really STUPID!
    7.JOBS are not even the answer to poverty. The answers are PRODUCTIVE JOBS. Look at the government offices. They provide jobs and salaries to many people who spend hours in their desks or air conditioned offices and vehicles, and without effective outputs. The result is that the Philippine government is actually bankrupt by operating on deficit budget. Many officials and govt employees become rich this way, but in the midst of other needy people who are ready to strip them of their wealth any time.
    8.Wage increases are not also the answer. Many marginal businesses are discouraged to operate and hire many unemployed workers.

  16. We should not forget that there are more unemployed and informally employed than the formally employed. If wage increase is given to the formally employed, the unemployed and the informally employed are put at the disadvantageous side.

    General wage increases result to price increases and even more difficulties to the poor people who are not employed.

  17. The President who can change the belief of the poor Filipinos (that poverty alleviation mostly depends on the individual Filipinos rather than on he President) is a successful president. But presidents boast of their accomplishments rather than the accomplishments of the Filipinos which he actually supported.

  18. Filipinos produce superstars like Manny Pacquiao, but only the superstars become rich. What we need are superproducts like Korea's Samsung, Hyundai, etc,. These superproducts will make many Flipinos rich. But the media emphasize the superstars who belong to their showbiz industry. The media should promote more Philippine products rather than promote actors and teleseries.

  19. For the last comments I got, I notice one that I actually really agree! The challenge comes from within: it is the zeal from each individual Filipino himself or herself to be better, to progress and to have a better life. Something like bahala na is not within that person's mentality. A Filipino'slife does not depend on any president. Although the political and economic situation is influenced by politics, the main move is from each individual always!

  20. The most important way to alleviate poverty is for Filipinos TO DEVELOP THE CAPABILITIES TO PROFITABLY PRODUCE BENEFICIAL GOODS AND SERVICES, and do not rely on goods and services from other countries. Capabilities include manpower, capital, management, machines, and technologies. Capital can be created even by mere will and efforts. This can only be done only if Filipinos work as GROUPS OR ORGANIZATIONS. How can individuals make roads, or make bulldozers, or catch tons of fish, or make large fishing boats?

    Some Filipinos excel as individuals. The media and the government applaud on them. But effective ALL-FILIPINO ORGANIZATIONS ARE FEW. The media and the government are usually silent about this. Most Filipinos seem ineffective in organizing themselves for the purpose of producing GOODS and SERVICES. For the purpose of making rallies, fiestas, or celebrations, no doubts. Something in the Filipino culture?

    Filipinos should be educated more about ALL-FILIPINO organizations, partnerships, cooperatives, companies, corporations, team work, team building, and team spirit.

    Organizing does not require many years in schools, nor math and science, nor ENGLISH. I think its more in the Filipino culture. Note that Filipinos are effective if they work for foreign organizations.

  21. Filipino style of education may also be the culprit. Like forcing English to our kids. Teenagers in neighboring countries are already learning techniques and livelihoods, while Filipino teenagers are still tackling English vocabulary and grammar.

    If kids are destined to be OFW's, English yes. But if just to produce goods and services here in the Philippines, Taglish will do. TECHNOLOGY IS MORE READILY ABSORBED BY AN INDIVIDUAL IF TAUGHT IN HIS MOTHER'S TONGUE!

    Read the manuals and brochures of sophisticated equipment from China, worse than Filipino texting English. But we are buying and the Chinese are selling.


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