February 2018
« Jan    

60 poor families

Oliver Pelton - Benjamin Franklin - Poor Richard's Almanac Illustratedwill be involved in building their own houses in a resettlement site supported by the German government in Dasmariñas, Cavite (link) – and the Gawad Kalinga village will have a kindergarten and a public school, plus access to affordable healthcare facilities. The principle of German charity which involves activating self-help instead of encouraging mendicancy, subservience and helplessness – and of course the principle of developing healthy and educated communities. What a far cry from Kadamay!

Work always had worth in Germany. There were indeed areas like Prussia which had serfs until 1794 – a legacy of the conquest of the East. Other major parts of the country had a lot of independent farmers, tilling their own soil. And craftsmen in cities whose work had a high level of quality. Indeed one of the critiques Karl Marx had regarding capital and industrialization was Entfremdung or alienation of the worker from the product of his work, unlike the craftsman who could be proud of his own product.

Countries where serfdom and oppression caused the rich to keep getting richer and the poor to stay poor often have a different work ethic. In Romania there is a saying, said somewhat jokingly, that those who work hard are either stupid or have never used their heads. Imelda Marcos allegedly once said “some are smarter than others”. There are places in Romania where gypsy clan heads have large houses while everybody else is poor – yet they are worshipped. Sounds like some Filipino politicians.

Sometimes one looks at the Philippines and wonders whether those who work hard are indeed suckers and others are smarter. The drug lords, the gambling lords, the politicians that protect one or the other or even are into criminal ventures that can also include human trafficking, cybersex dens and prostitution. The oligopolies that can charge premium rates yet pay “endo”. Corrupt officials and different forms of extortion: kotong/hulidap cops, NPA “revolutionary tax” and Abu Sayyaf kidnappings.

Corruption and crime are both Filipino middle-class concerns. Politics so far may have addressed symptoms first, not root causes. The root cause of both may be exactly the mentality that those who work hard are suckers and those who get rich quickly and easily are somehow “smart”. How can one change that kind of attitude? Probably only by showing most people that there is another way. That work and honesty pays off. The other side is making sure crime and corruption does not pay, of course.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, Labor Day 2017, München


18 comments to 60 poor families

  • – just headings:

    1. Some OFWs don’t treat savings as an expense
    2. Failure to define asset versus liability
    3. Get-rich-quick-scheme attitude
    4. OFWs as milking cow
    5. The nakakahiya mentality
    6. Lack of knowledge how to invest
    7. Lack of financial goals
    8. OFWs have no emergency fund

  • – this article goes against the widespread view that the urban poor are lazy:

    ..Historically, the urban poor originated from droves of peasants displaced from their lands in the countryside by the real landgrabbers (landlords and agro-industrial firms). Widespread landlessness and extreme poverty in rural areas continue to fuel internal migration to urban centers, where job opportunities are also scarce. It is estimated that seven out of 10 poor Filipinos live in the rural areas where landless remains widespread. This movement of people is exacerbated by regionalization of the minimum wage..

    ..Based on the 2015 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES), the mean family income in the country stands at P22,000 per month. Can this amount enable a typical family to afford decent housing at all? The struggle is certainly worse for those who are earning below this national average, those earning below the minimum wage. Even the P600 lowest monthly amortization in the government’s resettlement housing sites is unbearable in the long-term for a family earning the minimum income..

  • – about another topic here, oligopolies as part of some Filipinos penchant for easy, secure money (includes kotong, corruption, kidnapping)…


    I highly recommend a sharp op-ed at Inquirer – More Expensive in the Philippines – posted in comments below.

    Forget ‘oligarchs’. You can switch off ABS-CBN if you don’t like. But you can’t switch off MVP and Ayala’s lousy phone service, or avoid Ramon Ang and MVP’s expensive tolls when going out of Metro Manila.

    Oligopolies are the culprit behind high costs (often combined with bad service) in sectors like telco, power, water and infrastructure. PLDT+Globe duopoly not only deliver poor service for extremely expensive connections, but have also bought up unused telco frequencies to block new entrants.

    A related phenomenon is cronyism. Marcos had Danding, Romualdezes, Floirendo, Benedicto, Lucio Tan. Cory had Lopez, Ayalas, Aboitiz and Cojuangcos. Erap had MVP, Danding, Chavit, Atong. Mark Jimenez. Gloria had Ramon Ang (Danding), Razon, Ongpin. Aboitiz. Noynoy had Ayalas, Aboitiz.

    These are just shortlists to give you a flavor. Each president has a longer list of favored friends. How bad is cronyism in the Philippines? In 2016, The Economist magazine ranked the country 3rd worst out of 22 countries in the Crony Capitalism Index.

    Duterte is no exception. He has Dennis Uy, Alcantaras, Floirendo, Zamoras, Villar. He has been a trapo for 30 years. Every trapo down to the barangay captain has his cronies. In the game of patronage politics, cronyism is the exclusive platinum elite membership card to lucrative deals.

    And then there are the countless regulations, permits and taxes. This lethal combination is ultimately shouldered by powerless consumers & taxpayers at the bottom of the pyramid.

    Already the latest Build-Build-Build mantra is accompanied by Tax-Tax-Tax. Congestion and infrastructure woes are used to justify Spend-Spend-Spend which – given the trapos in charge & the cronies not far behind – leads to Steal-Steal-Steal. – excerpt from article by Gideon Lasco:

    As for electricity, experts point to the privatization of power (beginning in the late 1980s and culminating in the Epira Law in 2001), kilometric red tape, as well as our lack of energy diversity, among the reasons for high cost. Alas, the overlapping oligopolies that control our power and telecommunication sectors have done nothing for our cause, even as they themselves have earned massive profits.

    Unfortunately, we have taken the high cost of these things for granted. When a poor family cannot afford medicines, we think it is because they are “poor,” forgetting that it can very well be because the medicines are expensive—unnecessarily so. We have gotten so used to Meralco’s price hikes that only groups like Bayan Muna routinely react to them with outrage.

    Moving forward, I think we need to first realize that this is not normal; we need to get to the bottom of why this is so—and hold to account the people who have benefited from the status quo. The ensuing loss of competitiveness, and more importantly, the toll on ordinary Filipinos, is a price we shouldn’t have to pay.

    ((in the end the entire arrangement is inefficient on the whole, even if it is comfortable for a few, and those among the ones at the bottom and the middle who manage to freeload as well.. OFWs, BPO workers and others bring in the real money, and spend it at overpriced malls, for overpriced utilities and of course parasitic relatives))

    • karlgarcia

      They day more foreign entrants is the solution, look what happened to Telstra.
      Aside from the duopoly’s buying all frequencies available, Telstra practically gave up, becsuse of the unlevel playing field that can not be levelled.

      If the ASEAN integration fails, it would be our fault.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico

      1. Philippines has the most expensive internet and the slowest in South East Asia
      2. Philippines has the most expensive power in South East Asia
      3. Philippines has no reliable water delivery system
      4. Philippine network television has the most advertisement minutes every half-hour. I even wonder why Filipinos subscribed to these channels when all they see are advertisements. I knew this for a fact because I was held hostage in one carinderia with people from Philippine Media.
      5. Bern Philippine Embassy has the most staff in the street of Kirchenfeldstrasse when there are a trickle of Filipinos living there. Ireland has one Filipino driver, one embassy staff and a consular officer. Philippines has 20? All of them are Filipinos. Copenhagen a Filipino househelp, a consular staff and a consular officeer. Philippines has 20? Are they nuts? That is how the cookies crumble. But Philippine cookies are one tough cookie. These cookies are political appointees.
      6. Metro Manila has regimented chaos all over from gridlocked traffic to jammed packed LRT

      I just wonder if they hired graduates from University of the Philippines. If they did, which obviously they do, their brains are also short-circuited and gridlocked.

      Traffic in Saigon and Bangkok is way better. Their urban planning is more coherent and attuned to modern world. Filipinos should study in Saigon and Bangkok in urban planning.

      • Bangkok I have read also has hours of traffic jams. I don’t know about their MRT system.

        Urban planning in Metro Manila looks like a mess – what planning?

        I wonder how Embassies will grow during this admin. Who will be the political appointees.

  • There is something Benedictine (ora et labora) about the GK approach, both in sweat equity and helping people get trained for new jobs – the only way, I think, to reconcile (healthy) pride and discipline.

    The 60 families is also an interesting number. A larger number might be unwieldy, besides the larger new housing projects are anywhere in the world, the more they tend to become slums. Probably because in larger groups, people become more anonymous and tend to care less about one another than in small ones.

    • sonny

      Great catch, Irineo. The Ora et Labora paradigm is so applicable particularly the attention to the numbers of workable community sizes to avoid anonymity and caring less for one another. Hand-in-glove with this paradigm is of course the triad dynamic of solidarity-subsidiarity-humanity that we pointed out. (Going over the themes your has written about, I realize there was so much you have covered on our beloved country and culture. Kudos, PiE!!

      • Manong, many thanks. Yes, subsidiarity-solidarity-humanity may have to be practiced in smaller communities first before it becomes broader. Large troubled communities with massive drug and other issues may have to be relocated into smaller communities, remixed to give a fresh start.

        We have indeed covered a lot, including the various comments and footnotes with quotations. What I am happy about is that the strong thinkers in the Philippines are becoming more present now – the likes of Dr. Gideon Lasco, Bernard Ong (MBA), Philip Jr. Lustre, Miguel Syjuco, Miyako Izabel. The revolution in mind that I wrote about as a wish about a year ago is taking place on Facebook – as a response to the first, somewhat more emotional and resentful revolution of the disheartened..

  • Mariano Renato Pacifico

    Gosh, when I was in the Philippines I was embarrassed to work hard. They’d tease me, “h’wag kang magpaka-RIZAL!”. Working hard in the Philippines doesn’t bring anyone anywhere they just work hard till death do they part. When I do overtime they tickled me, “pare, marami ka nang pera, ah”. “ba’t ilang asawa mo? Mag-inuman muna tayo!”

    WORKING HARD is not a good trait of Filipinos. WORKING HARD is attacked with contemptuous ridicule and mockery. My grade school teacher were wrong after all:FILIPINOS ARE NOT INDUSTRIOUS it is a MYTH.

    WORKING HARD in the Philippines gives zero return.

    The following trait ARE NOT acceptable in the Philippines:
    1. AMBITION – A Filipino who has great ambition is called AMBISYOSO. AMBISYOSO is not good. AMBISYOSO as a word like 4-letter word in the Philippines
    2. TRYING-HARD – A Filipino working hard is “TRYING HARD”. To be branded as TRYING HARD is not good. It is embarassing. A way to shame a working hard Filipino. Visayan also have a word for it, “NANING” or “NANINGKAMOT” or “NANINGOHA” which is literal translation of TRYING HARD AND WORKING HARD
    3. PAKITANG TAO – A Filipino working hard and trying hard to attain ambition is derided as PAKITANG TAO or showing off. PAKITANG TAO is not good.
    4. MATIBANGANON – A Visayan word for helpful. MATIBANGANON is only good if the person benefits from the help but if the Filipino doesn’t get the benefit of the other person being helpful they are ridiculed “ba’t tutulong ka sa ibang tao, ba’t hindi ka tutulong sa pamilya?”
    5. HONESTY – When a Filipino returns a bagful of money, the U.P.-run media would make a circus out of it because Filipinos are not naturally honest. That is why it becomes news because it falls within the principle of “man-eats-dog” news principle.

    Filipinos only accepts AMBITION, WORKING HARD and TRYING HARD when they see fruit of the labor. If a Filipino fails in his ambition they are called AMBISYOSO. AMBISYOSO is negative.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico

      Another trait that is not acceptable to Filipinos is OPPORTUNITY.

      If a Filipino take advantage of opportunity they are branded as OPORTUNISTA. OPORTUNISTA is not good. That is why Filipinos do not take advantage of opportunity. In other countries opportunity knocks once and they open the door. In the Philippines once opportunity knocks they shut the door OUT OF PRIDE.

      PRIDE is also an embarrassing trait. A Filipino should not take pride being a Filipino because Filipino is an “F” word. Yes, Filipino begins the word with an “F”. Being prideful is not good.

      NATIONALISM is a word that is not in the Filipinos heart. There is no Nationalism anymore. They leave and abandoned their country. I am one of them. NATIONALISM is equivalent to “pagka-RIZAL” the mention of Rizal in the context of work is shaming.

      That is why when I am held hostage by The Filipino Channel (TFC) blaring in Filipino carenderia I hear PATRIOTIC jingle. To make Filipinos patriotic because TFC and Movie and Television and Classificatio Board (MTCB) requires Patriotic Jingle because they are aware Filipinos are not NATIONALISTIC and PATRIOTIC.

      It is hard to be a Filipino. Well, let us thank the U.P.-run Philippine Press for being Filipinos embarassing.

    • karlgarcia

      Para di mautakan at mang utak bawal gamitin ang utak.
      Masama din dumiskarte dahil pandadaya ito at pagnanakaw.
      Bawal din kumain ng mais dahil nagiging corny ako.

  • karlgarcia

    GK always claims with pride that their communities are always contrubuting their sweat equity.
    They also say that CSR activities do not go to waste because of their share of sweat equity.

    Why is this model not replicated nationwide, maybe news of kadamay and news of housing projects with no water, electricity, transpo to work and school, crimes, etc.

    • sonny

      We can indeed look to the GK model and fully utilize the ‘two phases’ that GK has spawned: the GK-basic and the GK-intermediate. These are just deduced from the results GK has accomplished through the years. The GK-intermediate would seek the economic utilization of the manpower generated within the GK-basic model(s). Entrepreneurship, maybe or populate the capital industries with targetted manpower that are Tesda-certified?

    • karlgarcia

      Sweat Equity
      GK residents provide sweat equity for the construction of homes and community facilities so that there is a sense of ownership and unity, since they work on the structures together. This also leads to sustainability, because the families build relationships with each another and take great efforts to maintain the structures that they worked hard for.

      • karlgarcia

        GK Productivity aims to bring in sustainability for the community by harnessing its residents for small to mid-scale enterprises. It aims to create wealth by helping the community produce world-class products and services, enabled by private-public partnerships where rich and poor can work together to build a strong middle class.

        Economic development in the Philippines has left a majority of our countrymen behind. The country has not moved forward in innovation and production, and instead, has increasingly relied on importing almost everything and exporting Filipino workers.

        GK Productivity seeks to develop innovative social enterprises that will harness the resources available in GK communities as well as the vast global GK network. Mainly driven by GKonomics, our productivity program aims to make the Philippines a producer of world-class products and services without leaving the poor behind. Here are some of our existing productivity efforts:

        A Gawad Kalinga partner in social enterprise development, GKonomics works hand in hand with GK residents, partners, and volunteers to develop and distribute world-class, marketable, and eco-friendly products and services. In the process, GKonomics helps build sustainable business enterprises that commit to either (1) partner with a GK community, (2) employ GK residents, (3) include GK communities in their supply chain, or (4) donate at least 10% of their net income to GK. (Learn more by visiting their website)

        Community Enterprises
        GK residents are like diamonds in the rough whose great potential is simply waiting to be developed. With the help of partners, caretaker teams and volunteers who share their expertise and time to guide these residents, many of our existing GK communities have come up with their own enterprises.

        The Center for Social Innovation and its Partners
        A business ecosystem developer that aims to build a culture of social entrepreneurship, GK CSI helps social entrepreneurs build global Filipino brands that have real social and environmental impact. (Learn more by clicking this link)
        – See more at:

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>