Its one of those puzzling things about life in the Philippines as squatters are pretty much part of life everywhere here. Over the years here I do start to question what the hell is going on in the world as many of these problems are made worse by international interference at the same time local issues and mentality stop things from improving.
Politically the Philippines is riddled with corruption which in some cases drove people out of their lands in other parts of the country forcing them to the cities for work. At the same time what is done about fixing the problem? Well in the time I have been here I have seen very little activity in improving things except for politicians liking to have their name in the newspapers and their faces on the TV saying how wonderful they are. But is it fixing the problem? Look at the health bill as the country is now divided on those who follow faith blindly and those who realise that the population of the country is out of control as well as poverty. Odd thing is this came up the other day regarding Haiti where people discussed those who had concrete structures that collapsed and those who lived in makeshift shacks. Even though the presidential palace took a lot of damage we have to bare in mind that was government contractors who no doubt skimmed money from the structure when it was built in the same way many of the buildings if built properly would have stayed standing, the relevance to this is the fact the educated and smart people would have been a so called middle class which are likely to have seen more than its fair share of deaths due to having the concrete homes. You sort of get left with the elite smart enough not to live in houses they sell to others but also the poor who couldn’t afford one in the first place.
In reality the Philippines has sent too many of its educated abroad and its problems constantly increase because nobody is plugging the hole. Education leads to development but also a more aggressive stance on stopping corruption. What we are seeing is those who can leave often do and an ever increasing number of lower educated population. Long term we are already seeing the affects as baby boom fever is in the Philippines and the average age drops while the population sky rockets. Easy solution? Not here as nobody is even asking the question of how do you fix this problem as its not just a case of simply saying no more babies but the fact the cities are already overloaded with people and there is no-one fixing the problems of land ownership to help eleviate the issue in real terms.
Poverty for me is also an odd one as people measure in Dollars a day without actually valuing the dollar because in reality many places you could live without money because you have a job. For example a restaurant worker has a roof over their head and fed daily its only if they had family above that they would start to hit issues. In reality the dollar a day means nothing to the worker yet in the West charity organisations make it look like its the be all and end all figure without taking into account ownership of a farm, home and crops to eat every day. The issues of education and health are not a foreign countries problems to be interfering and manipulating except when its actually improving the general well being of the nation. Having things like Pro life groups misinforming people in Manila and hampering real sexual education is a typical example of foreigners that shouldn’t be here. They are generally well financially backed American organisations.
This gets me into a strange area of logic as I don’t understand why so many people are in the cities, yes I can understand wanting to work at the same time why is it literally thousands of people just turn up expecting things to get sorted out and everything will be ok? Why cry when the house gets washed away in the floods that wash it away every year as you keep building the house on the river? Why is it the government isn’t organising better housing schemes as well as actually trying to make things work instead of every project seems to find big holes in its financial budget?
If the West wants to fix the problem it needs to stop lining peoples pockets who are supposed to help but instead like to keep the open wound as it allows a constant flow of money and aid from abroad.
The only wake up call I am seeing these days though is countries realising the current recession in the West is unlikely to end anytime soon which may in turn make people start looking closer to home for development. How much has been spent not only on the Philippines but other countries that have literally not even scratched the surface? What could have been done with all that taxpayers money as well as charity funds if it had stayed in home countries?
The problems in the Philippines are caused by Filipinos and as such so is the solutions. You take a look at South Korea or Indonesia they stepped up to the mark with Nationalism and pride taking a social responsibility for the country instead of blaming others and becoming part of the problem instead of the solution. No quick fix today maybe possible in the Philippines but it could be tomorrow if people started even the most basic of things to improve the nation as a whole. Money is not the problem here yet people dragging down the corrupt government instead of pushing through is. You cannot fix the government at the same time push through yourselves forget them, they will be quick to come running when they want a face on the side of something for an election.