Battling poverty

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

POVERTY is a social and economic condition that most nations in the world, including the mighty United States (US), cannot evade from or shy away from as if it is leprosy--the scourge of ancient times.

As a social problem, poverty is an economic affliction that most governments use as instrument to make its people abide by its will and to keep moral and material control over the governed. Thus, the government takes precedence over the governed, and rules.

In most cases, the dominance of poverty among the people determines the system of mass rule, or the kind of politics the leadership imposes upon the populace in order to secure or assure effective control of them. This is the reason why, in many instances, the ones who manage and operate the machinery of government would rather have the people remain poor or stay dependent upon the government for livelihood or survival.


Many years ago, when I was still working as an editorial staff member of the Sunday Times Magazine, a weekly supplement of the Manila Times, I was sent to the Visayan regions for a week to gather materials of the prevailing political condition of the area, in the same way that I did a similar series on Mindanao. What I got was a telling revelation of how politics play a calculating role on our people’s lives.

But back to the present. It seems that the number of impoverished families in Cebu have decreased, based on a survey from 2006 to 2012. But surprisingly, it was not the same with the rest of the Central Visayas provinces.

“The survey of the Regional Development Council (RDC) showed that (the number) of poor families in Cebu decreased from 209,301 in 2006 to 200,481 in 2009, and to 185,603 in 2012.

Out of all families in Cebu, 30.7 percent fell below the annual threshold of P15,064 in 2006. This percentage dropped to 26 percent in 2009 when the threshold was P17,770, and dropped even further to 25.7 percent when the threshold stood at P18,855.

At any rate, we should note that, generally, all our leaders in government who ascend to posts of power and influence in their public career, particularly through party politics, often sways more power in areas where they are based than their followers ordinarily imagine they hold. The problem is that the positive gains in economic growth and development are often reversely or negatively matched by the speed of our population growth.

Consequently, there is a kind of competition between the productive capability of our people in the industrial/ agricultural sector and business/ commercial sector which are all concerned with economic activities that meant profits, jobs, incomes, and financial stability. When the result of the desired growth and development is negative, our “war” against poverty is lost.

The increase in the number of mouths to feed must not be faster than our capability to produce food, or the number the ill-fed in our midst will rise.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 17, 2014.


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