By Glemir Sordilla
Have any of you experienced dreading the arrival of your disconnection notice from the electric company? How about the horrible situation where you and your family will not be able to eat because of your empty rice container? I am pretty sure every one of us was once in that situation, if not currently living it.
The pandemic, of course, worsened this trend among Filipinos by throwing everyone’s financial state into turmoil. As per a February article by Rappler, more Filipinos will remain poor and unemployed even by 2022, as the Covid-19 crisis continues to affect the labor market.
Before the reign of Covid, the economic team of the government sought to decrease poverty to 14% as well as for the Philippines to be classified as a middle-income country. Considering the global impact of Covid, that plan now seems far-fetched.
I remember a quote posted on social media by HAPI Founder, Marissa Torres Langseth wherein she said,
“Do not glorify poverty. It is never good to be poor.”
I couldn’t agree more. Even with all the resources that this world has to offer, there are still people dying because of their empty stomachs.
“Mahirap maging mahirap” (It’s hard to be poor) is a common saying among Filipinos. Because of the popularity of this sentiment, many of our countrymen probably feel it is okay to resort to harmful activities like theft or forcing your own child to start working. But the truth is that no one deserves to put their dignity on the line just to commit some petty crime. No kid deserves to work ten hours a day only for the whole country to romanticize child labor instead of actually dealing with the core problem.
One of the items in HAPI’s Code of Conduct is “compassion towards life”, a line that embodies a kind heart that is willing to help our fellow human beings who are struggling. It is a reminder that no divine being will help us barrel through poverty as well as a reassurance that quells fear and worry in people who are having a hard time surviving.
Being a humanist is a way of life wherein we believe in our nature to be empathetic. This is how HAPI works at its core and where our events take their inspiration.
Bottomline, poverty can really give us a different perspective on things. Heavy rains and strong winds might be “cozy weather” to more privileged individuals but for many others, it fills us with unease and dread, as a flood might come and our sources of income might stop being able to provide for us.
It is really unfortunate that so many of us are distressed when we are just trying to survive. Poverty is an issue that a lot of us can relate to but unless there is a major change in the cycle of resources or in the way the world works, we and the future generation will never be able to experience true luxury.