Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Top Problems Facing the Filipino - a Review

It has been a while since I last posted something in here. No, my absence doesn't mean the problems we are facing are already solved that I have nothing more to write. Actually, I was more of solving my personal financial problems first (translation: I have work), but then on that too I realize it will never be permanently solved.

So, here I am, back to thinking what our problems are and how we as ordinary Filipinos can solve them. Again, I have to review what the problems are in the first place. May I now improve on my previous list and list them again here in ascending order of importance. I listed thirteen problems (a bad luck number, from ten) and hope to have covered all the problems Filipinos are facing.

13. Garbage (Dirt and Filth)
I am not really sure whether what I am doing here is pure garbage, but garbage on the streets surely irks me. The average Filipino takes a bath daily, but does not clean about as often. I think we have to solve this problem.

12. Floods
Related to #13, this problem is personal to me. In Meycauayan where I grew, there is flood everytime there is rain (not so before). In fact, even when there is no rain, there is flood due to high tide. The same is true in many parts of Metro Manila. I guess flooding is a concern of many Filipinos and deserves to be on this list.

11. Heavy Traffic
Living in Metro Manila becomes horrible because of heavy traffic (aggravated by Problems #13 and #12). On an ordinary day, Paranaque to Caloocan takes at least 2 hours by car. When people cannot afford to live near where they work, just as most working Pinoys can't, heavy traffic is a burden.

10. Poor Values in Mainstream Media
Sometimes, we can't say that this is a problem for media is mainly used for entertainment, right? Wrong. Let us see... what are the kinds of programs do you see on mainstream TV and AM radio (the main media subscribed to by most Pinoys who are either "Kapuso" or "Kapamilya")? What kind of values do those program inculcate in our children? Now tell me, what is the future of this country, then?

9. Pollution
Do we hasten our death just by living in Metro Manila and breathing its air? That is the question Manilans face everyday. Although this problem is purely in the Metropolitan areas, I think it deserves a higher ranking than the previous problems because this one kills us softly without us knowing it.

8. Fewer (and fewer) Employment Opportunities
An additional one million Filipinos are expected to work abroad per year, sending Billions of dollars back home and keeping our economy afloat. Good? But at what cost? -- broken families, children left on their own and without moral guidance, a much bleaker future!

7. Illegal Drugs
I have seen drug busts of factories manufacturing Shabu, recovering illegal drugs worth in the billions of Pesos. But where are the mastermind? How long were they able to operate before being busted? Where were the drugs distributed? Again, this problem poses hard questions about our future.

6. High incidence of crime
Kidnappings, burglary, rape, petty theft happen daily. Everyday, there are news of murders, even what seem to be summary executions. Are we safe?

5. Poor Healthcare
I work in the healthcare industry and I see how poor people lack access to healthcare. But middle class people (such as most of us who have access to internet are) have problems too. I work within the industry yet I cannot say I can receive good healthcare when I need it. The problem is more on the infrastructure. There are very few hospital beds, we sorely lack medical equipment (especially government hospitals), and we lack specialists who can work on the equipment.

4. Poor Education
In the country, there are so many unemployed yet there are few people qualified to get employment. I have been conducting pre-employment and screening interviews (for my business) and I am surprised by the fact that many college graduates cannot write a complete sentence (in English and even in Filipino)! So, not only is there a ack of education for the majority, there is also the low quality of education received by many who are lucky enough to receive it.

3. Insurgency and Terrorism
As if the above ten problems are not big enough, people still tend to put the country down. Communists and terrorists, ideologists or crazies, Filipinos still kill each other for nothing. I suspect this problem is purely political in nature, but it is putting us all down when what we need is help!

2. Graft and Corruption
The biggest problem in goverment, this problem did not stay there but actually has become the culture from which all of us Pinoys learn to live in. As such, we no longer realize what is corruption. We now tend to accept things as normal. We now naturally give bribes to get by, get through, or survive. But it is that problem that give life to all the problems listed here. It deserves the top spot actually except that the #1 problem listed here involves and is directly felt by majority of the Filipinos.

1. Poverty
Everyday, people are actually dying because of poverty. Many children are hungry. Yes, it is noble to teach people how to fish rather than give them the fish. But if people are dying now, do you still have time to teach them how to throw that bait? No you don't. To address poverty is more like saving people who are drowning - you just do not have the time to teach them how to swim. That is how sad and urgent the problem of poverty is in the Philippines, that is why to me, it is the biggest problem we face.