[This is my simple contribution to Blog Action Day 2008.] October 14, 2008. The most prevalent idea being perpetuated by mass media and other traditional establishments with regards to how poverty could be solved is the notion that it’s all up to the individual’s hard work and perseverance. Nasa sipag at tiyaga lang ‘yan. Kayod lang nang kayod. Mag-trabaho lang nang mag-trabaho. Dadating din ang asenso.
To reinforce this idea, it’s not seldom that we are made witnesses to countless life stories of individuals who rose from poverty rags-to-riches style. Just this weekend, over ABS-CBN, we are made audience to TV biographies of the country’s business tycoons and how they achieved their status through “hard work” and how they return to the poor their riches through humanitarian efforts and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) projects.
This, however, is the reality: anumang sipag at tiyaga ang gawin ng malawak na sektor ng manggagawa, karamihan sa kanila ay hindi talaga aasenso. Not in a prevailing order that thrives on the cycle of inequality that it perpetuates. The success stories we are being made to witness and admire are mere exceptions rather than the norm. Surely, if it’s all up to sipag at tiyaga, then most of our employees, workers and farmers, whom we pride to be hard-working, should be experiencing economic security. Don’t you ever wonder why such is not the case? After all, who benefits the most from the hard work of workers?
We are simply being made to pin our hopes and be content with the way things are done and not strive or fight for something better. Indeed, when it is not coupled with genuine reforms and changes in the core orientation of our economies and in how our governments are run, mere sipag at tiyaga will never be enough to lift the vast majority Filipinos, and even the rest of the world’s poor, out of poverty.