Each time I go to Taguig to visit my relatives, I always see the sad picture of reality. I can see people with no permanent homes. They may have one but inadequate and derisory. I see children playing barefooted with their dirty clothes and marred faces. Many of them are malnourished. They are living in unsafe environments and social discrimination. They don’t always have food on the table. They don’t have security. They have limited access to education. People don’t have a livelihood to cater all their needs. My heart sobs with this harsh reality.
Henry George, a newspaper editor even once said that, “…poverty is a curse, the bitterest of curses, we all know.”
On the eve of my flight back to Leyte, while walking towards my auntie’s home in taguig, and while I was barely few steps from the gate of the house, 2 men in a motorcycle came rushing over me. They told me to stop, and when I faced back at them, I was horrified and terrified to see a gun aimed at me. I realized that I was hold-upped. Being defenseless, and being at the critical point between life and death, I yielded to their requests. They got my laptop, my phone, and my knapsack, the one which I was supposed to bring in the province. I was downhearted.
The crime index report of the SPD's District Operations and Plans Division under Supt. Conrado Gongon Jr. showed that 6,592 crime incidents were recorded by the SPD from January to December 2010. And according to the Central Intelligence Agency Website, 32.9% of the population of the Philippines is below the poverty line. What happened to me isn’t even included in that statistic because I did not make any police report.
I get to intertwine things in my mind. This high poverty rate could be connected to the rampant crime incident. Or for the least, crime incidents like hold-ups, car-naps, drugs, etc., can be caused by people who are desperate to live, people who resort to illegal and criminal acts to cater their needs and sustain their survival. Without making weak and unfounded conclusions, I believe that these crime incidents, like what happened to me on that particular night, are done by people stricken by the curse of poverty.
Maybe those men are just in dire situations, and are in great need of money. Maybe their children are hospitalized and needs money to buy expensive medicines, or their houses are to be confiscated, or they need to pay for their children’s school fees, or they have to undergo surgical operations, etc. Maybe they are in greater need. I just ponder upon these things to appease myself.
Though I was a victim of their desperate means of survival out of poverty, at least, I became a blessing to people like them.