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Submitted by MYSTIC on
I am from the Philippines, and have worked as a financial auditor in one of the big four. I lived in both the the province during my youth, then worked and lived in Makati and in Singapore after college. I have also travelled to many different countries and cities in Europe, the USA, Asia including China and Australia. In short, I have "experienced" living and communicating with the best and brightest, as well as communicated with the poorest of the poor in the various cooperatives I am helping "fix" and maintain their books of accounts and conducting pre-membership seminars. I am not knowledgeable about the statistics of the Poor and the Middle Class in the Philippines, but my observation is that there are many who have completed their college education (especially the younger generation) but that is not a guarantee of getting out of Poverty especially if they remain in the place where they come from. To raise their standard of living, they may have to travel to the city or out of the country to get better jobs with higher pay. Many people in the rural areas only finished secondary and/or elementary education. There is Poverty across the country whether in rural or urban areas. In the cities, there are people living as squatters, and in the provinces, there are those not able to eat decent meals three times a day, and sometimes, there are people knocking and asking for help to buy food. There is gambling across the country (e.g. lotto). And there is that problem of CORRUPTION which is seen and heard in most campaign ads of the politicians seeking posts in the upcoming May 2010 National and Local Elections. The quality Education is one key step of eliminating or getting out of the cycle of Poverty. Poverty is a state of living below what is dignified as a human being and then it is "passed-on" from generation to generation, and could only be broken by getting quality education. A few have freed themselves and their family mainly through finishing a college degree, obtaining work experience, and getting out of the country - which is the fastest though not the best way (with the blessings of God in one's adventure outside of your own shores). Those that remain in the country though gotten a degree may have to work a lifetime but may remain in the Middle class or Poor, because of the standard of salary in my country that is far off than those in developed countries like Singapore. Just yesterday, we had our General Assembly for one the cooperatives I am member and worked as accountant. Only a few members were there. Needless to say, that it is difficult to get cooperation even from those people who need help. The poor does not seem to understand despite how we explain that one way of getting out of Poverty is to group themselves and own their own "company" that could help them financially through micro-finance loans. The capital comes from the members' capital build-up (CBU) and also from external borrowings, the latter comes with related interest from cooperative banks. It is frustrating at times to work for these organizations because those we want to help do not seem to cooperate, i.e. not attending meetings, or worst not paying their debts. But for those leaders who want to see progress, giving up is not an option. Hopefully, these people will come to realize that one way of getting out of Poverty is to help themselves as a group. Another factor that contributes to society's Poverty is the laziness coming from probably losing hope, or has been a habit, or lackopportunities for growth. Government intervention in terms of educating the poorest of the poor may have to be done in more consistent and continuous manner. As can be seen, there is some help coming from the local government units financially, but amounts are so little, these can hardly help augment the plight of the cooperatives, or of the poor. I believe Poverty in the Philippines is caused by systemic problems which will take a long long time to resolve. One great step may be is to for international organizations to "intervene" through their influence in reducing CORRUPTION so that the financial assistance given to our country may cause the improvement of the quality of Education and Health care to alleviate the Poverty condition. Having a big percentage in the Middle Class may seem to be an indicator of good government administration, however, having a 10%, 20% or 30% population in Poverty is still a problem that needs to be solved by government, and hopefully by the international communities. Thank you. Maria Melvic P. Garces Certified Public Accountant