It is not the territorial intrusions of the Chinese into Philippine territory, or the brewing crisis with Taiwan over the killing of one of their fishermen that is the country’s biggest problem: It is the fact that so many Filipinos do not have enough to eat.
In sheer numbers, it is four million families. Not four million individuals, but four million families.
Four million Filipino families regularly going hungry is four million families too many.
The latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey certainly painted a grim picture: 19.2 percent of the country’s population live in abject poverty.
Some four million of our countrymen admitted that they did not have enough to eat last March. Some even said that there were times when they had nothing to eat at all.
Think of how terrible the lives they lead. How awful it must be for a child to go without food and how guilty must its parents feel at their failure to to bring something, anything, to put on the table. Existence cannot get any worse than that.
Only after one has actually experienced what it’s like to go without food because there is not enough money to buy this most basic of all our necessities can any of us understand the plight of the very poor.
Having insufficient food for the family is bad enough, but having no food at all is beyond depressing. When this happens, the members of the family cannot be blamed for thinking of illegal or immoral ways to procure what they so desperately need.
The national government must not let this awful statistic pass without taking action.
The solution is basic. Provide employment opportunities for all so that everyone will have the means to feed themselves and their families.
For those whose situation does not allow them to work, an massive outreach program must be implemented so that no one ever has to go hungry at any time.
The SWS statistics show the areas where the problem is most felt. It should, therefore, be in those areas where employment opportunities must be created. And it is in those same areas that the government can go as far as putting up feeding stations for those who have absolutely no means to assuage their hunger without assistance.
Our elected lawmakers can help since the senators and congressmen all have their pork barrel funds, some of which are used for useless projects. We can’t think of any better use of their pork barrel funds than to feed the hungry.
The national government, church groups, the most profitable private corporations . . . all can work together to end the pathetic plight of four million Filipino families going to bed hungry.
Feeding the hungry is not just the Christian thing to do—and the Philippines remains a predominantly Christian country—it is the humane thing to do.