“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
— Frederick Douglass
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — It is only the third time in history that the Philippines is hosting the Miss Universe.
The country also hosted the world’s most prestigious pageant in 1974 and 1994. As a host country in today’s modern age, we can showcase to the global village our culture, history, tourism, people, way of life, economic pulse through the power of high-tech media.
Unknown to many people around the world, the Philippines has been “hosting” Mr. Poverty since time immemorial.
In playing host to gigantic international events, the question that has been always badgering the Filipinos is: “Are we a rich country pretending to be poor, or a poor country pretending to be rich?”
Official government statistics showed that more than 26 million Filipinos remain poor with almost half, or a little more than 12 million, living in extreme poverty and lacking the means to feed themselves.
The Filipino poor have families of six or more members, with greater numbers of younger and older dependents, statistics showed.
In the majority of poor families, the head of household has only an elementary education or below. These families have few or no assets and minimal access to electricity, water sources and toilet facilities. They also have limited access to health and education services, according to Gil Dy-Liacco, Development Assistance Specialist in USAID/Philippines’ Office of Program Resources Management.
About 26.3 percent of Filipinos were found to be living below the poverty line, a measure of the minimum income required to meet basic food and nonfood needs in the first three months in 2015, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
This translates to about 26.48 million Filipinos, based on the Philippine population in 2015 of 100.7 million.
The PSA said national poverty incidence stood at 27.9 percent of the population in 2012. It was at 28.6 percent, practically unchanged from the 2006 figure three years before, of 28.8 percent in 2009.
The 2015 survey also found that 12.1 percent of the population–roughly 12.18 million Filipinos–are living in subsistence or extreme poverty, meaning their earnings are not enough for them to eat three square meals a day.
This, too, the reports added, indicates marginal declines from the three previous years the survey had been taken. In 2006, 14.2 percent of Filipinos lived in extreme poverty; in 2009, the number stood at 13.3 percent, and at 13.4 percent in 2012.