Just because I grew up with a golden spoon bedecked with diamonds doesn’t excuse me. And it sure as traffic jams, does not excuse you either.
You have your own car. Maybe one, ten or even a hundred. You live in a gated community. In fact, you own the community. The word ‘health care’ never even crossed your mind.
Spare me the luxury whatnots, private islands and first class lavishness, but DO NOT DARE base the progress of our country on the way we live.
There are 26 million in our country who are so poor they can’t even afford to eat.
There are so many I know who are afraid to go home everyday.
Are we too high up our horse to not know this?
These are the people that we meet everyday:
The waiter that serves you food,
the jeepney driver you yelled at for cutting you on the lane,
the yaya that is your second mom,
your chauffeur that waits on you beck and call,
the saleslady you asked for bigger sized pants.
Or the one, ten or even a hundred of your staff working with and for you in building your empire.
They are at risk in the public transportation they take everyday. The fear that the news perpetuates is closer to their reality than we care to imagine.
Two of my staff (females) have fallen prey to the ‘Bubble Gum Gang’ inside a jeepney. As their name would suggest, they place a bubble gum on your hair. Then, one person offers to help you take it out while the other takes your cellphone and wallet.
Another time, near a mall, my staff was threatened by, in his own words ‘a tubu and kabilya’. He was coerced to give his money and was told to prepare more money next time. Failure to comply to their orders will result to them using the ‘tubu and kabilya.’
Another of my staff, female was beaten after leaving work in the same area after mall operations.
One of my caregivers, before going to work had something sharp thrust against her back, she knew it was a knife and her bag was taken away.
My manager just told me he had to bump a guy with his motorcycle just a few days ago. A female student was harassed and victimized because of her cellphone.
My manicurista and masahista fear walking along the sidewalk everyday. They said that people even take shabu in broad daylight. I ask why they aren’t afraid to get caught. They tell me it’s the police supplying them with the drugs. Do a random drug test with people under you. At a point I was in disbelief to find almost half of them proved positive.
One yaya needed to go to the hospital. She explained to me that it was so full there were some women giving birth on the floor.
Another Yaya explained to me that even some three children would share one hospital bed, while others will sit on their guardians lap because there was no more bedspace at all. Even worst, many will be denied medical attention because nobody can attend to them.
It tugs at my heartstrings to hear stories like this. Even as I type, my chest is heavy and can’t help contain my eyes from swelling at the plight of our fellow countrymen. To be blessed is to have power. To remain silent is to be defeated. One can only hope that ones words prove mightier than the sword.
Some don’t understand my frustration. As if my upbringing and background is supposed to shield me from the disparity in our country.
Fifteen years ago I had my firsthand experience inside a destitute and poverty-stricken area. It was for school immersion. What I couldn’t swallow was that two meters below their bamboo flooring was filled with human feces.
If we do not ask now, then when?
Thanks to my immersion class, I learned early on to ponder and ask questions like,
‘Where is the government and what have they done to uplift those who need it the most?’
Do we really believe statistics, ratings, and success stories?
Have the squatter areas in your town vanished or multiplied?
The answer is right before our eyes.
Fifteen years later, not only is the shanty we visited still there, but they’ve grown to an inconsolable number.
I saw unclothed children taking a break from begging as they sniffed on what seemed to be rugby. They are probably monitored by the syndicates near by. If you have children like I do, it is excruciatingly painful to witness this.
I am asking all of you to hear me out. Now is not the time to lie to ourselves. Corruption in government has been made into a billionaires game. The criminals that roam free are strong and without fear. Drugs are rampant to the levels of being sold and taken like ice-cream pops. To deny this is to deny the air we breathe.
Go ahead and ask the waiter, the jeepney driver, your yaya, your chauffeur, the saleslady and the people that work with and for you. Ask them about their struggles, ask them what they know about drugs and ask them about their encounters with criminals.
Yes we can discipline ourselves. Yes we should be the change we want to see in this world. Let’s not miss the point.
For the problem is not the people, the problem is the SYSTEM.
Who then will enforce discipline to those we have no control over?
Ones who are almighty might I add.
Who then will reconfigure this system?
One that has ins and outs practiced for ages.
Certainly not us.
It is because of the collated stories and personal experiences that I am able to put two and two together. It was then I was awakened at the gravity of my choice as president.
The vote I will cast will stand up for these people: The ones who hardly have money to put food on the table, the ones who have the least access to medical care and wellness, the ones who feel unsafe in our community and the ones who are most prone to danger.
You and I my friend will be guaranteed a stagnant life whoever wins.
But the biggest blow of corruption will be felt immensely by the less fortunate. Our brothers and sisters.
I am a mother of four. This much I know is true–We will never realize the success of our nation with only ourselves in mind.
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