Blog #7: Philippine poverty, economy — is it any better now?

Notebook Jun 26, 2015 at 2:56 pm

HG_Notebook_color-picIn my Blog #5, I wrote about Canadian household debt, the worsening debt-income ratio (debt divided by income) and the rising consumer debt.

It wasn’t a treatise or an exhaustive essay. I merely provided some links to news reports from the mainstream media about those topics. It was like a quick online research, the current way of finding out what’s going on about a certain topic. It’s the online digital world. You don’t have to go to the library or the archives to research. Just log on the Internet. Google it, remember?

Anyway, I thought of doing a quick research on the Philippine counterpart situation because many of my readers are Filipinos too, be they in Canada, U.S., other countries or the Philippines.

So here’s what I found out:

4 million poor Filipinos more

IBON Survey: Majority of Filipinos think economy has not improved under Aquino

Most Fiiipinos rate themselves poor

P15-wage increase meaningless

12.1 Filipinos consider themselves poor

Here’s the president of the country’s statement which says the opposite of the above.

 PNoy boasts of economic growth under his watch: ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’

What is the end result of the lack of decent jobs and opportunities for Filipino workers and professionals? They leave the country, at the rate of 6,000 leave everyday to work or try to find work in other countries.

This sad because it leads to long-term separation of espouses and between parents and their children. It takes many years usually or even decades before a parent can return for good and re-unite with his or her family. These conditions breed social problems — the estrangement between a mom or dad or both from their children. And increasing numbers, separation between espouses leads to permanent separation.

When they finally, if ever, reunite with their families, you would think their economic problems would have been solved because of years of working of a parent overseas. Generally, they would have improved their financial situation by then, whether they have reunited in the home country or in another country, Philippines or Canada. But what they find are the economic conditions I blogged about in Blog #5 (Canadian household debt) or conditions in the home country described in the above links.

What’s the solution? Either they work in a second job, work overtime, or build another source of income. Maybe study and build another career. Or start a small business on the side. But for many, they don’t have the entrepreneurial inclination or the drive for it. They remain wage earners in an economy where there are no decent jobs available for the ordinary worker. One reason is the deprofessionalization of the immigrant population in the adopted country where they work in low-income jobs not related to their education and professional experience. This is true not only in Canada but in most countries that are considered developed First or Second World in north America or Europe or parts of Asia like Japan.

Those who return to their home country like the Philippines may have saved some money for their families but how long can that last given the rising of costs of living as reported in the media recently like the costs of  water, electricity, food, transportation, gasoline and cooking gas, etc. To many families who had reunited with their overseas working parents, it’s back to square one.

So the parent, before long, leaves again for overseas to work, until their retiring years or worse, until they become ill because of overwork, abuse at work or die abroad or had to return due to wars and other causes beyond their control like restrictions or changes in labor policies in those countries.

What is the alternative? Unless decent jobs become available in their home country, there is no long term alternative. But this may not happen unless the system that makes exporting labor a major plank of economic policy is changed or a more progressive leadership in government is installed and start implementing progressive labor policies.

In the meantime that this hasn’t happened, what is the short-term alternative? One is to achieve a paradigm shift. Be an entrepreneur and build a home-based business that will serve the short-term interests of their low-income families. How can ordinary wage earners send their kids to university? Put enough and healthy food on the table? Provide the school needs and other needs of their kids?

I’ve seen low-income Pinoys or Canadians don’t accept their economic status and work hard to upgrade their income-earning abilities for the benefit of their families. Some go into part-time ventures selling whatever products or services like insurance, health care products, cosmetics, vacuum cleaners, clothes. I know of one guy who sells suman or sweet rice desert at the corner of Bathurst St. and Wilson Ave. I have also seen, one summer, a couple who sell packaged breakfast and snacks out of their car in the same area that’s become a hub for Filipinos in Toronto.

In short, their circumstances make them more resourceful. They are resilient enough to adapt to the situation and break free, even if in the short term, from the economic conditions imposed on them by the system.

What’s wrong with supplementing the income of the family? What’s wrong with working hard as part-time entrepreneur or perhaps turning into full time entrepreneur in the future? If you are treated as wage slaves in your job, you don’t have to accept it for life. With enough guts, imagination and drive, you can create a full-time income from being an entrepreneur. One usual path taken by those with entrepreneurial spirit is the MLM or network marketing. Problem is, not too many succeed in this alternative. Very few do. It’s because it’s very difficult to build a large organization to create a decent income especially if you do it the traditional way using the old methods. And it’s only by building a large organization, in the thousands of people, before you can build a decent and recurring income.

With the use of the Internet, social media and digital technology, it is a different story. But that needs a separate blog. If that is something you want to explore since you must have been hearing unbelievable stories of online marketing creating unbelievable incomes in the past years, and you can’t wait for my blog about online businesses using social media and having the world as a market, let’s connect. You’re in the right place right now. Shoot me an email. Now. Talk to you later.

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