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Update 10/29/07: Middle Class In RP, Shrinking Too

It was 1997, while studying a certificate course on Labor Relations under Atty. Josephus Jimenez (one of the under secretaries of Department of Labor and Employment of the PGMA administration), when I first heard of the imbalance wealth distribution in the Philippines. If I remember it correctly, he said “10% of the Philippine population owned 90% of wealth while the remaining 90% of the population slug it out for the remaining 10% of wealth”. I bring this to light because of the recent study I read in the Inquirer that this unequal distribution of weath has worsened.

Historically, this has been the case. During feudalism, only a few land owners control the land and majority of the population toils it for them. While our modern economy is capitalist driven, the situation has not changed. Only a few families control the wealth and without them, the economy may collapse.

As a result, both parents must work to make both ends meet. While others, because of lack of opportunity in their homeland, seek their fortunes abroad. The casualties of this arrangement are the kids who may lacked parental attention. And of course, the future of this nation.

It’s not that wealthy families are self centered, I know a handful who are generous and with good heart. But the masses must also be educated to save, invest and add value to their hard earned peso. Rather than being a spending economy, we must also learn how to save and invest.

But several issues must also be addressed:

  • The people must first have the opportunity to make a living
  • Then earn decently (either adjust the minimum wage to cope with the rising cost of living or lower the cost of living) so families can have a few peso left overs to save and/or invest.
  • Filipinos should break away from the culture of dependency. Sometimes, when a relative was fortunate to work abroad, the rest of the clan tend to relax. They become preoccupied, however, in spending the hard earned dollars of their love ones.

I heard over AM radio the noteworthy project of BSP and DOF. They go around regions where the families of an OFW are concentrated and they hold a free seminar on how to wisely spend, save and invest the money of their love ones. This will prepare the OFW to just stay home and have their own business.

I hope each Filipino will do their share to make the economic gains trickle to the poorest of the poor.

What about you? How do you think you can be of help?

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