Sunday, December 24, 2017

Philippine Poverty and Overpopulation: Dire But Not Hopeless

In a given society where the majority of its members live in poverty, this condition is usually structural. And you can really see that  in the Philippines where there's not much upward mobility from the lower ranks because the odds are stacked against them. What rigs the game of course is their sheer numbers and their percentage of the total population. So under these circumstances in a supply and demand setting, naturally the lowest bidder will get the job. This is despite a national minimum wage law which is not very effective because it's base is too low, has many exemptions, and it's is not well enforced anyway, especially outside of Metro-Manila.

So it's no wonder that members of the middle class and above here are often too lazy to wash their own dishes or raise their own children. They can--and do--get live-in domestic help for a song. Recent legislation has required that these employers pay into SSS (the counterpart  of security) for their helpers. But it's questionable as to how many will really comply with this law .

On the other hand, Filipinos on the whole do value higher education (or at least the prestige in having a degree) Formerly,  primary and secondary public schooling was limited to a combined total of 10 years. With  with the recent addition of seventh and eighth grades it's  now 12 years. And starting next year tuition-free college education at public colleges and universities will become available.

But all these reforms will be for naught if the people here, especially the poor,   don't start practicing birth control on a wide scale,  Now that the Reproductive Health act is in effect, it will be easier for them to do so despite  the Catholic Church's pressure to keep them barefoot and pregnant. But they need to be shown how limiting family size will work to their advantage. If this happens, a positive response may well  finally break the cycle of poverty that has stranded the Philippines in a third world economy and may also ameliorate the damaged culture that has accompanied it as well. 

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