The Philippines suffers from what I call “corruption of the rich” at the expense of the “religious poor”, controlled by the “religious ramblings of a corrupt church”, complicit in keeping people looking to heaven for answers when they need to look within to find solutions to their problems.
Yes, that was a long sentence.
The Philippines is a great place in many ways depending on many factors. The location of the islands and the unspoiled beaches and islands are a sight to behold! I was introduced to the Philippines while serving in the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and sailing aboard numerous U.S. Navy vessels whose home ports were Subic Bay Naval Base in the 1980s.
Sailing to the Philippines was an amazing and surprising experience. I had never seen such natural beauty in my life. The water was so clear but blue. The sky was bright blue.
The weather could come and go in an instant. One moment it was sunny and hot, and then the next, there was a thunderstorm and it was raining heavily. The jungles were so full of life. Thick canopies made it seem like afternoon time even though it was noon or early afternoon. The wild variety of wildlife that lives in the jungle and the natural vegetation is terrifying but surprising.
Lizards, spiders, numerous insects, large snakes, bats, monkeys and other wild animals make it a place where your heart will beat fast because you never know what you will encounter. The terrain can be rugged. The dense vegetation brings freshness compared to outside temperatures, but it can still be sultry and hot in the jungle.
Regardless of where I went, I felt compelled by the ingenuity of the Filipino people. They had great attitudes, incredible smiles, looked into your eyes when they spoke to you, remembered your name and were always kind and generous.
It was love at first sight for me. I saw a place where people did not see me as an anomaly or a stranger. Instead, it seemed as if they saw me as someone to look up to. Being a black man in America had challenges and problems that weren’t always front and center, but lurked in the background. In the Philippines, I didn’t feel that. I felt like I belonged, I was admired. I felt that people cared about me and no matter what, we would always have a good time, even if none of us had much money.
As the years passed and I got to know people more deeply, I wanted to know more about the extreme poverty I witnessed. For example, at the Subic Bay Naval Base, it was beautiful. The grass was always carefully cut and trimmed. The streets were clean and everything was tidy.
However, as I approached the main gate to leave the base, before I could reach the gate, I could smell the river flowing under the bridge that separated the base from the city of Olongapo. We call it “Shit River” because the river was where all the sewage was discharged. The squatters built their shanty houses along the river. The toilets were simply holes in the ground where people urinated and defecated directly into the river.
It was not a pleasant smell, and he was quite adept at holding his breath from the moment he turned the corner, went through the checkpoint, and ran as fast as he could across the bridge so that he did not have to inhale the bad smell.
The sad thing about Shit River is that people would throw money at the children in the boats below. They would beg by weight and it was unimaginable to me that these children would be in those boats, begging by weight, and it almost made me nauseous. If the weight fell in the water, the children would go to the river to get the weight.
While many will view my publication negatively, I believe in honesty. First I was friends with the girls at the bar. Actually, it was a combination of waitresses and shop assistants, but I don’t apologize for my friends and what they did for a living. I know that some people look down on the girls at the bar, but at 18-20 years old, I was interested in having a good time in a place where I felt at home. The girls always took care of me and made sure I was safe and returned to the base on time. Many people like to judge and criticize, but for some girls, working in Olongapo or Angeles City was their only option to earn money for their families. I made lifelong friendships with those girls and made no excuses or apologies for my friendships.
I would go up Magsaysay Drive and buy souvenirs and things from different stores. In those days, we had 110 and 35 mm film cameras and we would hand out our rolls of film
There was either outdoor plumbing or no plumbing at all. Sometimes, raw sewage ended up in channels behind the house. There were also places without running water and all the water was supplied by a bucket or bucket of water.
While the people paid their taxes, the governor, the mayor, and other city officials drove around like kings, inspecting their territory. They had bodyguards, big vehicles, and lots of flashy things, but the average everyday person had nothing. All they could do was work extraordinarily long hours and then try to get some rest before doing it again the next day.
The buildings were constructed in a haphazard and sloppy manner. There were many places that burned down due to improper electrical work and if there was a typhoon, there would be damage from floods, landslides, rock slides and other natural disasters that the government was not always prepared for. Poor quality construction, contractors using illegal cement standards to the point that a building would collapse under its own weight. If a person needed construction, he or she would need to hire an independent agent to manage and supervise the construction so that corners were not cut and substandard replacements placed, rather than the actual quality elements that a builder or architect might have requested. Everything was built to the standard of “cheapest cost to the builder, highest profit to the contractor”.
I want to touch the drug abuse. While I knew nothing about drug use in the 1980s, over the years I learned how the Chinese and others had started selling the dangerous products in IP.
President Duterte has been criticized for the way he handled the drug problem. I never knew how rampant the drug problem was until he took office and started his war on drugs. I don’t think it’s a war he can win.
Let’s deal with the facts. There are no excuses here. The poor take drugs to ease their pain. Selling drugs is what desperate people do to try to make money just to survive. The problem is that everyone wants to be a distributor and the person who actually sells is the one who has the greatest risk. That person faces pressure from the police, pressure from the dealer, pressure from the customer, and pressure from the vigilantes who want to rid the streets of drugs and drug dealers. This creates a toxic combination in which people place little value on the lives of those who have a drug problem, sell drugs or distribute drugs. Their lives are meaningless and people will kill them first, before seeking treatment.
People are locked up for years and years, with no trial date. There is no court date. No lawyer. No justice. How can this be? In a country that claims to value human life and human dignity, how can people be treated like this?
Because of the way they treat people, the gangs will always be there, waiting for the inmates to return. Drug syndicates do not stand by when someone is arrested or imprisoned. They continue to operate. So stay away from drugs! It’s just not worth it!
Corruption in the police ranks
The police either turn their heads or are involved in drug trafficking.
Not all cops are bad. I hope most of them are good. I’ve seen some amazing officers in Baguio, but I’ve also seen some corrupt officers in Manila.
The war on drugs, crime and poverty will never be won if there is corruption within law enforcement. These men and women are the backbone of a society that is supposed to be law-abiding and responsible. We, as human beings, are responsible for each other and as we go through what we call “life”. Laws are passed to protect the general public. Not everyone follows the laws, so law enforcement is there. They do this job for a reason.
However, to solve many of the problems in the country, corrupt officials must be removed from office.
Corruption is not limited to drug crimes. It is everywhere, on many different levels.
Let’s talk about trafficking and police corruption.
If you have a traffic violation, you don’t go to court. You open your wallet, there in public, and offer money to the police. As a foreigner, your fee will be much higher than the fees for a Filipino citizen. So, for example, if you are accused of running a red light or making an illegal stop, that will probably cost you $25-$40. So, if the average Filipino earns $3 a day, but here is a police officer arriving, say $50-$75 a day, it is
Do you have an overloaded truck, with bald tires, no lights, brakes that barely work, oil leaks everywhere? No problem! Take that truck on the main roads, drive in the left-hand lane at 20 km / h and let the traffic build up behind you.
Do the same if you have a scooter or a bicycle with a sidecar.
Need to turn right from the left lane? Go for it! Just turn right in front of everyone else, stopping traffic, making people go around you and causing traffic jams. Just close your eyes and press the gas as hard as you can! It’s not your problem if you run over some people! They should have known you were coming!
If you’re on your chopper bike or a motorcycle tricycle, just block the traffic by driving right there on the main road, pedaling, chatting, waving to your friends, updating Twitter or Facebook as you go slowly and transit behind you is piled up.
Can people really blame you because you don’t really know how to drive? Your uncle, Kuya or your father taught you how to drive by making you sit in his raggedy car and turn the wheel. Or you learned from watching the Jeepney driver as he drove his route.
How can we solve the problems?
To solve the problem, the LTO and the police must start checking valid licenses! It’s time to confiscate cars, motorcycles and trucks and lock up illegal drivers! You will only have to arrest a few people before the news spreads and suddenly people will stop driving and go get real driver’s licenses.
When you have corrupt leadership, corrupt law enforcement and government offices, people eventually suffer. Taking a shortcut is not always the best way. It’s like cheating on a test because you don’t know the right answer. If you cheat, you can pass the exam, but do you really know the material? What kind of understanding do you have about the information?
The Church; Family, Marriage, Children and Divorce
So, there is corruption in government, corruption in business, and finally, I will talk about corruption in the church.
We do not hear about the problems of child rape in the Philippines as we do with other countries. Here in the Philippines, priests only have their secret girlfriends and “special friends” whom they go to for their sexual needs. People know. It is an open secret in many places. Yes, I would rather have a priest with a secret girlfriend, lover or even a secret family than a priest who is molesting children!
The church is old-fashioned but it plays a critical role in Philippine life. Filipinos are devout Catholics. They attend mass as often as possible, but most go at least once a week. They may not stay for the entire Mass, but they go all day and are always looking to the church, the priests, the nuns and the leadership to tell them what to do.
The church is an integral part of society. It forms the basis of much hospitality, sympathy, friendship and work ethic for many Filipinos. The church teaches or encourages people to work hard and be diligent. The church gives them hope.
Where I find fault with the church is its outdated beliefs, especially when it comes to contraceptives which the church discourages and preaches. As a result, there are people in poverty, who can barely feed themselves and have babies. Many babies It is not unusual to see a mother who has had five or more children. I know of several families with more than 15 children. They are all destitute. The children work as soon as they can (5 years or even less) to beg and work to provide a few pesos for their families. This is terrible.
What makes the problem worse is that children are often born sick and then are malnourished or undernourished. Parents, already poor and burdened with children they cannot care for, have to focus their energies on those children who can contribute by begging or working. Parents/families are uninsured and, as a result, the child mortality rate is high. In a world where the strong survive, for a country that claims to be “pro-life”, there are thousands of children dying because their parents cannot care for them.
The church is against divorce and it is illegal to divorce in the Philippines. So there are people who are married, who haven’t lived together for 30 years, who are with other couples, and who let their children grow up in a single-parent environment. The mother can hardly provide and the father is no longer there.
It seems that Filipino men love to have “a woman by their side”. It is not absolutely all men, but many men have lovers. They have the so-called “side chick”. And if that chick gets pregnant, there is now more evidence
There is absolutely nothing wrong with sex or sexual intimacy. Whatever your opinion is about when a person should have sex is irrelevant to this discussion. The important thing is that we don’t introduce unwanted babies into the world. I really don’t care about your religious views. Babies are created when a male sperm meets a female egg. Period.
If people are sexually intimate, then that’s their business. They should have the opportunity to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unwanted babies by using contraceptives and birth control. There are so many Filipino men who have no idea what a condom is or how to use it! That’s absurd!
Guys! If you’re going to have sex, put a raincoat in your package! This is protection all around. For you, for her and if you’re going to “have a girl on the side”, then you’re protecting yourself too. Use birth control! Protect yourself!
It’s irrelevant whether you “believe” in premarital or out-of-wedlock sex. It’s really none of your business, frankly. Just support people who prevent disease and unwanted pregnancy.
The Department of Education (DepEd) is supposed to educate the children of the Philippines. Instead, I see it as an international joke and abuse of the Filipino people’s tax money. Department heads, school principals and people in leadership spend more time in conferences than anywhere else. It is not unusual for teachers, principals, school heads and administrators to have 6 to 10 conferences per school year! Why are they wasting people’s money like this?
Conferences cost money. With a typical conference of a minimum of 3 to 4 days, with an average of 5 days, DepEd pays for hotels or resorts, meals, transportation, and associated conference costs. Guest speakers, workshops, project materials, and training materials also cost money – no matter if there are corporations that help fund some of these conferences! At the end of the day, the Filipino taxpayer is being saddled with these school conferences that are not absolutely necessary!
I don’t understand how these schools are often falling apart, have major problems and barely enough money to keep the facilities running smoothly, but DepEd has money to send people, who usually get the highest salaries in the department, to training classes and conferences. in cities all over the country. That’s ridiculous! Stop wasting people’s money!
Computer labs receive inferior computers and systems, usually built in China by companies with a reputation for inferior products, and then they are delivered to the students. With barely any money for the Internet budget, it is not uncommon for schools to have 100 computers but no access to the Internet. How can you teach children about modern technology and the Internet, without having access to the Internet at school? How can schools limit Computer Lab activity for schools with more than 1600 students to 2 hours per week, if at all? Many of the Computer Labs are for viewing only.
Since this is my area of expertise, I was surprised to see the level of knowledge that existed when it came to Information Systems. Most “system administrators” would hardly go through basic computer repairs if placed in a more advanced workplace.
People cause problems
The last thing to touch is the mentality of the Filipino people. People complain about crime, they complain about their salary, they complain about their lives but they are happy people. The problem I see is that many Filipinos unknowingly contribute to their own failures. Their poverty is based on their willingness to take shortcuts or not do things right.
If you throw garbage in the streets, in the rivers, in the sewers and not in the proper containers, they will not be surprised by the inevitable violent reaction that will happen. So, as we said before, you have corrupt government officials. So, are the sewer systems properly built or do they have proper drainage? Probably not. Now, plug up those sewers with the garbage of Filipinos who throw their trash out the car window, out the back of their bikes, out the back of a Jeepney, and where does that garbage go? So now you have clogged sewers, clogged rivers, littered roads in a country where typhoons and heavy rains are a part of life. If you throw trash on the street, you know what happens?
Then, when your whole place floods and you lose your house because it gets washed away by poor building practices, who is really to blame? The shortcuts you use
Continue with the repression of drugs but open Drug Treatment Centers. Don’t just stop the drug addicts; treat them! Help them overcome their drug dependency. If you pay people a decent wage, not many of them will turn to drugs.
Let’s be honest. There will always be people who will abuse drugs. But there will also be people who will not see the need for drugs because their lives will have meaning. They won’t be homeless and use drugs as a way of not feeling hungry or having to deal with their poverty.
Police / Law Enforcement
Fix the police! It’s time to retrain the officers. Most officers are physically fit but are they mentally competent? Are they dedicated to their jobs? Do they care about their communities and the people they serve or do they just do the job so they can get paid?
Refine the laws. Make laws clear and understandable. Do not impose laws on the poor, but allow the rich to pass. Be just. Justice doesn’t care how much money you have! Justice cares about the truth. Let’s be honest. There will always be people who abuse drugs. But there will also be people who won’t see the need for drugs because their lives will have meaning. They won’t be homeless and use drugs as a way of not feeling hungry or having to deal with their poverty.
Enforce traffic laws! Good people for operating illegal vehicles. Ban tricycles from the main roads and highways. Stop smoking! There is no reason for 6 (or more) people to be on a motorcycle! If a parent is on a bike with a baby, without a helmet, and the child is hanging on the mother’s lap, then fine everyone, confiscate their license, and confiscate their motorcycle. That will stop these crazy accidents where babies die from accidents.
Yes, I know confiscating a family vehicle is very hard, especially for the poor, but we have to be smarter than what has been happening! How many children have to die from these accidents?
This is a picture of a habal-habal in the province. Do you think it’s safe?
I was trying to count the hulls in the picture above…
The Philippines has many shortcomings. I have touched many but there are more. The Muslim-Christian conflict, particularly in Mindanao, the New People’s Army of the Philippines (NPA), and China’s incursion into Philippine territory.
The People’s Republic of China is trying to dominate Asia, Africa and the world. They are doing so by attacking what humans love; money. China is waving pesos and dollars around, and suddenly Filipinos, Americans and other countries are losing their minds and putting everything they own up for sale.
Giving in to China weakens countries. Having big debts with China does not benefit any country. Africa is being invaded by China. So are many other territories in Asia. Move cautiously. Be aware of what China is trying to turn into the only superpower in the Asian theatre so that they can dominate both economically and militarily. There should be no room for bullies in Asia.
Foreign workers abroad
Students need to be taught how to fix their country. Today’s students are the future of the Philippines. The country needs lawyers, doctors, teachers/educators, engineers, technicians and specialists who are motivated young people who will not give in to corruption. The country needs strong, independent, caring, wise, cautious but optimistic leaders who will not bow to the whims of the church but use honest and prudent judgment about what will work best for the country. It’s a shame that students spend more time dancing, putting on fashion shows and participating in parties than they do in the classroom and learning skills that will help them in life.
Every day, it seems that there are students practicing for some parade, some party or some event that will cost their families money that they really cannot afford and that takes away from the student’s general education.
Yes! The parades and parties are amazing! Yes, the students work hard! They practice long hours and look beautiful in their uniforms, dresses, gowns and all the entertainment. I understand it’s beautiful to see.
But I don’t care how well you can dance! Neither does the rest of the world! That’s a fact! Filipino boys and girls are really amazing dancers, but what kind of work is it that dancing and parading around in a beautiful dress really gets you?
Students can do all the pomp and circumstance when the school is on break. Do it then. But when school is in session, those things should have a lower priority.
Learn life skills such as reading, writing, math, carpentry, sewing, auto repair, science, plumbing, electronics, and more.
Movie stars, athletes and the rich
The country needs visionary leaders who will break the cycle of admiration for rich movie stars and athletes as if their wealth magically transforms the Philippines. Rich movie stars and actors care only about themselves and their immediate families! They may love their fans but you won’t see those stars paying for housing, clothing, food or medicine for their fans! Stop idolizing those with money!
The Philippines exports more talent than any other country. Students get an education, find an agency and then fly away. Unfortunately, they are often abused by their employers.
Joanna Demafelis’s story
I had heard many stories of abuse from Filipinos while working abroad, but one tragedy struck me incredibly and that was with regard to Joanna Demafelis, who was a maid in a family in Kuwait.
I will state that I am usually a person who has felt conflicted about the death penalty. I believe that it is often abused and that innocent people end up being executed.
But in this case, Mrs. Demafelis was working for a Kuwaiti husband and wife. She was repeatedly abused and eventually killed. What broke my heart was the fact that those Kuwaiti savages, who are not worthy of being known as human beings, put that child in a freezer and then left. She was not found for over a year. Who in the world would do something so wild and cowardly? What kind of mentally deranged animal would stoop to such levels as to do this to another human being? Surely they’re not human, so they could justify treating Mrs Demafelis that way.
It hurt my heart to see someone treated this way. I have no kindly feelings towards those vile, disgusting animals that murdered her. I never knew her but she was a human being. You don’t do that to people!
The savages, whom I will not name, have been sentenced to death. In my opinion, death is too kind and would be a gift to them. Death would be too easy. Too convenient. If it were up to me, I would demand great pain from them. They should be forced to work in some of the worst conditions in which many of these countries force Filipino workers to work. Make them pour concrete. Force them to work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. No days off No medical care No breaks I would work them to death. All the time they were working, I forced them to look at a picture of Demafelis’ lifeless body and how they murdered an innocent woman. I don’t care if they go crazy. That’s not my problem and it’s not your problem either. Let them suffer for what they did to her. Yeah, this is hard. Yeah, this is cruel. Yes, you can call me “mean” but that girl did not deserve such a death by those evil people.
Death sentences in Kuwait for the murder of maids
I mention the things I have because it’s more than one case. There are so many!
Filipino domestic worker bleeds to death in Dubai
Beaten, trapped, abused and underpaid – migrant domestic workers in the UAE
Abused OFW escapes employer in Dubai
Stop supporting billionaires: you will never be one!
To help the world appreciate the contributions of Filipinos, more young Filipinos need to stay at home. Work for your country. Stop going abroad to be abused by foreigners. You’ll never be a billionaire working for those rich people.
Start your own business. Maybe start your own unions. Organize and make these countries pay better wages. Big corporations want and need your work and labor, but they don’t want to pay you part of their record profits. There are billions of dollars going to a small number of people, while the average Filipino worker working outside the country gets a small salary that is not fair for the amount of work they are doing. It is not fair! Make them pay better wages! They are getting richer and richer for their efforts as they work so that their bodies wear out and they can say “I had a good job”. Congratulations! You worked yourself to death and what do you have to show for it? You’ll have little or nothing!
People make the countryI don’t have all the answers Many will disagree with the things I’ve said, but I’m just thinking out loud. However, one thing is for sure is that we need people to stop depending on others and start looking inward to their future.
Although I have listed many shortcomings, I must be fair and say that the Philippines is an amazing place. I have been all over the world. I’ve been to most places in the Caribbean, after living in Jamaica until I was 6 years old, I’ve been to all of them.
For all the negative things about the country that the average Filipino can’t do anything about, he will find a resilient people. They find ways to do things. For every Filipino who will swindle you blind, there are 999 good Filipinos who will do everything they can to help you. They work extremely long and hard hours. They will do jobs that many people will not like or want to do. They are a determined people. They are loyal
They love their families and they love to sing. While some of them really need to work on their vocal “skills”, it’s always fun to listen to a group of Filipino girls trying to sing the latest songs and may or may not be in tune!
They are happy people, regardless of the problems they face. Filipinos may never top the world’s “richest people” list, but they have things that money simply cannot buy. They are warm, passionate, loving, generous, honest, trustworthy and generally forgiving.
If I had one criticism of the Filipino people, it is that they are not as forgiving as foreigners. A Filipino will forgive a foreigner for a great betrayal with a simple apology, but that same Filipino will hold a grudge against his own countrymen for some small or even insignificant disagreement.
Love more than your family. Love everyone equally. Forgive. Don’t hold grudges. Here’s some advice even I can use. I do hold grudges but I’m working to stop that. That’s not all. Just some people who do that. But it’s something I’ve noticed.
I love the Philippines People ask me all the time why I love the Philippines and I find it hard to express it. Imagine that! A guy like me who can write all day and describe a lot of things, but when it comes to describing my love for this country, I get excited and just say “the people are the best people in the world”. They really are.
Now, let’s put things in perspective! Of course, there’s the 10% of the population who won’t always be so nice, but I’ll take 90% of the amazing people any day of the week. The country has treated me well. The locals treat me like one of their own. I reiterate; I love the people of this country. I don’t know how to say it.
I don’t worry about my safety. I’m comfortable there and you will be too. Stay away from vices and questionable activities and you won’t have any problems. The Philippines is not the only country with poverty and it won’t be the last. The problems won’t go away overnight. But with the right attitudes and leadership, poverty can be a thing of the past. I look forward to the day when poverty is eradicated from the Philippines.
Edit: Thank you for all the kind messages! Wow! I am humbled by so many private messages and acknowledgements. The comments reinforce the truth about the Filipino people. Truly amazing. Thank you.
Edition II: 54K seen and counting! Wow. Thank you all again. I really appreciate your kind words.
60.4k views – View Voters – View Shares