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My Sweet and Bitter Reflection on Philippine Prosperity

By: Jansine Matheos

Poverty, population explosion, illiteracy, economic instability, crime, and corruption are some of the
problems that confront us Filipinos. We all know that these are only summon us Filipinos to show our
strengths especially that our country is now on her way to national development. My sweet and bitter
reflection on Philippine prosperity is what on my mind when I tried to anticipate what life our country
could offer in the future. This will be achieved when all of us will help together to achieve national

I will present here the sweet of the success and the bitter reflection of the present condition, the
challenge towards the road to success and the pain of changes. This comparison will bring us an eye-
opener towards national prosperity.

In order to achieve and become an advanced nation, we should remove first the obstacles that might
deprive us in acquiring that goal.

Poverty, as far as we are concern, many Filipinos are experiencing destitution. But what is the real cause
behind on this bitter reality? The truth is, sad to say but I have to, that many of them are idle, unwilling
to work, and most of all, nonindustrial. Some of them are always government-dependent people. Idle
people act as a sponger, yearning for some alms. They always seek government’s assistance. The
observation of the majority is why they don’t find a living to support their basic needs instead of fishing
for assistance. As a saying says “Don’t ask the government what they can do to you; Instead, ask yourself
of what can you do to your government”.

Another problem is population explosion. This is the most sensitive issue in our present society. To solve
it, some lawmakers suggest establishing a law called “Reproductive Health Act” to have a sound family
planning to prevent unwanted pregnancy. But because of this bill, many people, in different walks of
life, still arguing about this matter. Many are pros, but some are cons. According to the pros, it is the
time to have an act to limit the creation of mankind to prevent poverty through proper family planning.
In contrast, according to he cons, this soon-to- be act is a simple means that we are now tolerating
abortion in our country. Few observant gave their point of view, however, for them, there is nothing
wrong to be questioned about this suggested act as long as there is no abortion to be included in the
family planning method, but this is a long process of discussion in the Philippine higher house before the
law will be implemented. The majority should be the basis in finalizing this reproductive law.

If there is a rapid population growth and poverty in our motherland, illiteracy will then arise. Why? It is
because some families cannot afford to send their children in school. Not only that they are suffering
poverty, but also they have many children to be sent in school. That is why their lives are getting harder
and harder.

On the other hand, some people, especially the youth, don’t want to go in higher education. They are
contented holding their high school diplomas. Their reason is that, they cannot afford the tuition fees.
But that is only an alibi. The truth is, they are afraid to continue their studies because they think that it is
hard to study in college level. But, if they really want to pursue their dreams, there are many ways that
they can use.

Yes, they are right, it is hard to study in college. But they should reflect and wake up that, “ It is better to
taste the hardship of education than to taste the wretchedness of ignorance”.

Another problem that we are facing is economic instability. Many people are unemployed. Some are
underemployed. Yes, they are bachelor’s degree holders. Yet the course they took up for almost four or
five years is now useless because there is no job opportunity available for their course. They end up
finding another job even if they cannot apply what they have learned in their college days, just to have
some money to spend for their livings.

Because of high rate of unemployment, crime occurs. Some unemployed people are jus stealing others’
property to support their families’ needs. They even kill their own kababayan just to have money. They
even push illegal drugs to become rich in the society.

And last but not the least among the defects of our community is corruption. This is the mortal enemy of
the society. I think corruption starts from the people in the higher positions down little naïve people. I
don’t know why they are corrupt; perhaps they are just greedy, money-hungry. But why they always
keep on being hoggish to the wealth of our nation rather than to become a good model for the people.
To serve and to do their sworn duties and responsibilities that they have promised during the campaign

See? We Filipinos have many defects to eradicate in our community. But how can we eliminate these
defects in our society? Who will be the solution to these defiant? My answer would be WE, FILIPINOS
ARE THE KEY TO OUR OWN PROSPERITY. The sweet of Philippine prosperity is in our hands. We will help
together to achieve it even bitter challenges will be experienced but achieving the dream of prosperity is
like tasting a glass of honey that all of us will be benefited.
Reflection Time: What is the Philippine’s Biggest Problem?


Low-hanging fruit. It can get some leaders misguided into addressing a problem just because it is easier
to solve and check off, without even first weighing it out against the other more fundamentally relevant

Remember those seminars teaching us the difference between urgent and important? Well there is
much to learn about Filipinos by simply dissecting their thought process and discovering what really
makes them tick – in particular, how they set their priorities.

The Need for Focus

Identifying which problems to focus on and finding the most effective strategy to solve them are the
types of critical decisions leaders face, especially for countries that do not have the luxury of time, cash
and resources to put a plug on every ship-sinker hole simultaneously.

President Rodrigo Duterte comes in as a fresh new set of lenses for Filipinos, whose myopia has made
the country renown for being a sick man that has faltered and lagged behind most of its neighbors in
almost every field that makes up a nation.

President Duterte has set his eyes on drugs and criminality. On top of that, various sectors clamor and
cry hard to be heard: agriculture, education, defense, rebel forces, workers, investors, commuters,
media and businessmen. It looks like it’s a contest of shouting the loudest to get attention. The more
relevant issues though get drowned out in all the noise.

Considering the country’s limited budget, we tend to allot a little for everything. Rather than focusing on
just the few major problems a set at a time and solving each effectively, we choose to solve every little
problem halfway all at once just to appease the many disgruntled voices. This is probably just a
reflection of our national culture of moving into a house that’s only halfway finished.

Take a tip from the medical field – specialize! It is no longer practical to be a jack-of-all-trades master-of-
none country. We as a nation should learn to focus on a niche and build on our few limited strengths.

Knowing the Goal (Motivation)

As we transition from a failed ineffective administration to a new one brewing with promising fresh new
blood, it’s a good time to sit on the sandy beach, look towards the golden sunrise off in the seemingly
unbounded sea’s horizon and reflect on the things that really matter. Let’s begin to ask the deeper
questions – like the why and how, rather than the who and where.

Many of us are just too caught up in the routines of daily life, that we forget why we are even doing
things in the first place. We have allowed empty traditions to take over our critical faculties, and
believed with blind faith in people who claim to be authorities just because they changed their title of
Mr./Ms. to something else.

Learn to say “No.” If you don’t plan how you use your money or time, others will do the planning and
use it for you.

What is this country’s dream? As to a little lad in preschool, we are wont to asking: what do you want to
be when you grow up? Does this country have a dream to be something someday? Why does it seek to
go in that direction? Is it just to feed our national pride?

Everyone is just doing his/her own thing. We are all pulling and pushing one another for our own selfish
agendas. Can we not unite for a common purpose even for once?

Many have grand goals – to reach the top of the mountain. And when they get to the top, you ask them:
what’s the point of getting there? They are clueless.

People are driven by various forces: a force to survive, to live a comfortable life, to become great, to
excel or to fulfill a dream. Ask a pedicab driver, and he will answer you: I just want to provide pan de sal
for my 6 kids each morning. With that motivation he risks life and limb slugging it out on the highway
with trucks and jeepneys, oblivious of the traffic he creates.

At this point in the life of our nation, let us move forward a step higher from “mere survival” to
becoming a decent and functional society. After defining our goal and motivation, we need to identify
the major roadblock that keeps us from getting there.

The Country’s Biggest Problem

Just what is the biggest problem in the country? What issue deserves honing in our strength and skills
most to bring about its resolution? Is it the traffic in Metro Manila, the squatters and shanties that riddle
urban places, the lack of classrooms and navy vessels, the ASG/MILF/NPA, the lack of local jobs, or
overpopulation? Or is it something much deeper?

I don’t think our problem is really that complex. Peering through to see the crux of our dysfunction as a
nation and society, I think our biggest problem is simply the lack of common sense and basic honesty.
These are elements of reality that reside in the unseen world of the mind and heart. And we will never
really rise up above this tide that drowns each passing generation when our teachers, parents,
politicians and priests are bankrupt, with nothing of genuine value to pass on to our youth. Because
these are not really passed on to the youth through just words (as powerful we may think they can be)
but by example through our actions.

All this nation’s apparently big but actually secondary problems are really just symptoms of these two
deeply rooted deficiency-based evils that make the Philippines decay at the core. Ours is a house whose
foundation has been made hollow by termites. But rather than replacing the foundation, we continue to
build on top of the building until all the more the weight bears down on our weak spot and our great
edifice comes crashing down like a precariously built house of cards.

Success – Being Part of the Solution

If you are a student, begin to realize that it’s not the head knowledge that you come out with that will
really make a difference for this country, but how much integrity was ingrained in you while you worked
towards attaining your degree.

If you are a teacher, begin to realize that it’s not the amount of information you were able to spoon-
feed into your students’ gray matter that matters, but whether you have equipped them well enough to
reason by themselves with a level of logic that can withstand a super-typhoon barrage of counter-
arguments in a debate.

Fast forward… Imagine the last day of your life, at which point you find yourself lying down gasping for
your last few breaths before you leave this planet. You ask yourself: what could I have done differently
to make my life a resounding success?
Then travel back in time to this very day. Go and make a difference now. Be a part of the solution. Life is
best lived not by gratifying endless desires, but in knowing our higher purpose and giving up ourselves to
inspire others.

Six years is a short period of time. President Duterte is determined to leave a lasting legacy when he
steps down. Let’s hope he truly finds the mother of all problems that eats at the heart of our people,
and crush it at its core. How about you – will anyone ever remember you made a mark in contributing to
solve this country’s biggest problem?

PS: If you do decide to make a difference by running against the grain, don’t be surprised or discouraged
by all the opposition you’ll get. There’s a saying in Filipino: Ang punong maraming bunga, laging
binabato. Benign0 recently brought up its English counterpart: If you are not annoying anyone, then you
are probably not doing anything important.