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Mr. Poverty meets Miss Universe

“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

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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.

EDUCATION

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.

INCIDENCE

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.

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Posted by on January 18, 2017 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, TOURISM

 

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We pray amid poverty in Christmas

“Silent night! Holy night! Guiding star, lend thy light!” J. MOIER

By Alex P. Vidal

CAN prayers save us from poverty? Will there be a miracle if we pray hard for gifts and for Santa Claus and his reindeer to knock on our doors this Christmas season?

Francis Galton, the progenitor of human genetics, said in his 1872 Statistical Inquiries into the Efficacy of Prayer, that he could find no evidence that prayer is effective. Galton found no scientific grounds for believing that prayers are answered. But he conceded that “prayer can strengthen resolve and relieve distress.”

Because of poverty, many of us continue to find it increasingly impossible to enjoy “the most exciting season of the year”, the season that carries a strong emotional resonance for many Filipinos. We continue to pray nonetheless. We believe that “prayers can move mountains,” as the saying goes.

As obedient Christians, we continue to follow the church-mandated traditions on how to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas is probably ideal only for those who don’t have a daily bout with financial difficulties.

Many people now begin to believe and realize that society celebrates the so-called season of the birth of Christ heavily from the commercial point of view. We equate Christmas with material possessions.

When think of gifts, decorations, parties, wines, caroling, merrymaking, vacation, etcetera, we think of extra funds and extra expenses.

MONEY

Christmas has become synonymous to expenses and money. Without extra funds, many Christians tend to develop a morbid feeling of insecurity and inadequacy.

How can one actively take part in Christmas parties and gift-giving binges if he does not even have enough to buy a decent meal for his family?

However, we can always celebrate the Yuletide season on a different perspective: embracing the spirits of love, humility, simplicity, forgiveness, hope and understanding.

Expecting nothing and continue living a simple life is a key to overcoming anxiety, stress, emotional and mental anguishes if we don’t have economic capacity and abundance in life.

A very interesting piece about science and Christmas has rekindled the debate whether the scientific worldview somehow undermine the religious beliefs that are the basis of Christmas for so many people.

Science has been viewed suspiciously as a force that turned people away from God ever since 1916, according to Roger Highfield, author of The Physics of Christmas. In that year, an oft-cited survey by James Leuba of Bryn Mawr University found that 60 percent of American scientist did not believe in God.

Highfiled revealed that the finding caused a scandal at that time, prompting warnings from politicians about the evils of modernism and accusations that scientists were leading college students away from religion.

PREDICT

Leuba himself predicted that disbelief among scientists would only increase in the future.

“But research conducted recently, repeating the 1916 survey word for word, has proven Leuba wrong,” Highfield contends. “The proportion of scientists who believe in God has remained almost unchanged in the past eight years, despite the enormous leaps of discovery made during this century.”

Highfield cited Edward Larson, from the University of Georgia, and Larson’s colleague Larry Witham, from Burtonsville, Maryland, who questioned 600 scientists listed in the 1995 edition of American Men and Women of Science. It reportedly achieved the same results as Leuba: about 40 percent of scientists believe in God.

“The future of Christmas and Hanukkah in our increasingly technological age seems assured,” concludes Highfield.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in CHRISTMAS

 

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Ilonggos fear poverty more than Ebola

“Given the scale of issues like global warming and epidemic disease, we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a can-do attitude to science rather than a can’t-afford-it attitude.” Martin Rees

By Alex P. Vidal

Amid reports that 4,877 of 9,936 patients have died of Ebola worldwide and there is a possibility that the deadly disease might spread in Asia, Ilonggos are unfazed.
“Poverty is more to be feared than Ebola,” thundered sidewalk vendor Ricardo Jerez of La Paz Public Market in Iloilo City.
Jerez, 52, is a father of three kids aged 16, 14 and 9.
He sells fruits and vegetables outside the public market.
Jerez’s 39-year-old wife is seven months pregnant to their fourth child.
“We don’t fear Ebola even if it will spread in the Philippines,” said Jerez while watching a “flash” report about Ebola on a small television.
“We worry about our foods every day, where to enroll our children and how to feed them on a day to day basis.”
Jerez, a former fishing vessel crew member, said his sister, a health worker in Saudi Arabia, was adamant to come home for the Halloween and Christmas vacations for fear of Ebola contamination.

FALSE

“She must have received a false report about Ebola,” Jerez surmised. “There is no Ebola in the Philippines yet. Only poverty and graft and corruption committed by our politicians.”
Siomai and fruit juice stall attendant Jennifer Amigable, 27, of Tubungan, Iloilo said if given the chance, she is willing to work abroad even in Africa “to make both ends meet.”
“Ebola does not scare me. What scares me most is my bleak future here,” sobbed Amigable, a single parent and commerce graduate.
Money remittance security guard Rodolfo Junco of Tibiao, Antique said the threat that Ebola might spread in the Philippine if health authorities are not alert and don’t have the expertise to prevent it, does not alarm him.
Like Jerez, Junco watched the Ebola news on TV inside the money remittance center.
“I am more alarmed by the threat of our landlady (in a boarding house in La Paz district, Iloilo City) that she would evict us if we can’t pay our monthly rental fees for August, September and October,” Junco said in jest.

NOT ENOUGH

Newly-wed Junco, a former karate instructor, admits his salary as a security guard is not enough to sustain a baby and a housewife.
“Poverty remains to be the number source of our depression and anxiety,” Junco said in a Karay-a dialect. “Ebola is nothing compared to poverty which is like a slow death.”
According to the United Nation’s public health body, 9,936 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone–the three countries at the epicenter of the world’s worst-ever Ebola epidemic–have contracted the disease.
Reports said 4,877 people have so far died in total.
Researchers around the world are scrambling to beat the tropical fever, for which there is currently no licensed treatment or vaccine, with experts warning the rate of infections could reach 10,000 a week by early December.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2014 in HEALTH

 

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