|A photo I took just a month ago. These "homes" were everywhere along the road from Manila to Baguio. Over 100 miles of them,|
A couple of days ago, a commitment by the Philippine government to eradicate poverty by 2030 was all over the news here in Asia. I wonder how much of that fervor transferred to the U.S.? Part of the interest was based on hope, because the Philippine nation is overrun by devastating poverty, and the other point of view was that the commitment wasn’t real.
More on this dichotomy in a moment, but let me just say I had a personal interest in this story because I spent nearly a month viewing the poverty up close and personal. I felt joy that this problem was being addressed and hopeful that it would work or at least make a significant change. This is part of what traveling the world will do; it will change you and your priorities. Before visiting the Philippines, I was aware there was a great deal of poverty, but had no real idea what that meant yet. Now I know and I care.
Just for some sense of it, here is a startling fact:
One fifth of all Filipino families live below the poverty line. In the Philippines, that means $16481 pesos a year or approximately $354 US dollars.
According to the National Economic and Development Authority, poverty incidence in the Philippines rose to 25.8 per cent in the first half of 2014.”
The quote above accounts for the skepticism of the world community that the country will make its current goal. Yet I suspect, like me, there are those who think any significant drop in the percentage of families living below the poverty level over the next few years would be a welcome improvement.
Since BBC News is now my news source, I also found myself following the floods in France and other international stories that would not have crossed my radar just a month ago. I am so happy about this change in myself.
|Picture from the Saudi Gazette. My daughter and I saw places just like this.|