A week after arriving in The Philippines, I came across an English language Filipino newspaper called the ‘Manilla Bulletin’.
Anya and I were staying in a typical tourist lodge on the coast of the island of Cebu and I was perusing the books left behind by other travellers crammed into several shelves of a dark, wooden book case – when I noticed a few editions of the ‘Manilla Bulletin’ lying folded on the bottom shelf.
I grabbed them and took them back to my room and began reading. One article in particular really drew my interest. It was from the hand of a journalist named Tonyo Cruz and it was entitled:
‘DON’T FORGET OUR SOCIO-ECONOMIC RIGHTS’
The following lines got me in:
‘Filipino Governments from the time of Fidel Ramos to Noynoy Aquino have loudly boasted about economic figures. And the boasting continues today under Rodrigo Duterte, with sycophants proclaiming the Philippines economy supposedly besting even China’s!
This is what the Duterte administration wants us to forget: recent economic growth has not resulted in the attainment of the rights to work, to just wages, to land, to an adequate standard of living, and to health, housing and education – in most instances, the situation has become worse…..’
The following statistics were quoted by Cruz:
12% of Filipinos were unemployed and 60% lived on 125 Pesos a day or less.
100 Pesos was the equivalent of $2.60 Australian or, 2 Euros.
Then I read the following: the combined wealth of the 15 wealthiest individuals in The Philippines was equivalent to the income of 77 million Filipinos.
But this was just the beginning of the story, a story which could be told in the form of a very small coin called ’25 Centavo’…