“The gap between the country’s rich and poor is widening, with high-earning individuals enjoying significantly faster growth in incomes compared with people from the middle- and low-income classes.” This is according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).
In the Philippines, data show that people from the high-income classes (estimated to be 15 percent of the population of the Philippines) recorded a 10.4 percent annual growth in income while the rest, namely the middle and low-income classes (or 85 percent of the population), saw their incomes increase by only 4.3 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively.
What does this mean? There is growth being seen but more so for the rich. What are the possible solutions to this centuries-old disparity? We just have to look at the numbers. One thing that I have observed is that the numbers of high-income and middle-class citizens must increase in order to bridge this gap, through value-adding creation and a transition process.
From low-to middle-income
Increase the ranks of the middle class by improving the life of the low-income classes so that they can move up to middle-income level. Education is the key. Scholarships and opportunities for our least privileged countrymen is a first step toward this goal. Education on finance, education on entrepreneurship, and education in value-creation. Believing in yourself that you can do it. Believing when others do not believe. Faith with action.
From middle-to high-income
Let us stop being average and live a bigger life. Comfortable is okay, but if one has the potential to be great and amazing, then why not? Creating or offering something with value is another step toward that goal. This can be in the form of new ideas in the workplace, innovations to make the world a better place, renewable innovations such as the lamps powered by seawater by Aisa Mijeno, new distribution methods, different ways of marketing a product, etc. or even simple things, like respecting people’s time by being early for a meeting. One of my mentors often said, “If you are early, you are on time. If you are on time, you are already late. If you are late, that is unacceptable.”
Look for a better way to do things. Do more than what is expected. Keep your word.
These may seem like general solutions that have no teeth, but we should start somewhere. Start by transitioning from one class to another. One cannot share and help if one does not have. Let us grow ourselves to be of service to others. In this way, we can make our country better, each and every day. The change in the world starts with ourselves. Whether you are a CEO, entrepreneur, manager, VP, employee, employer, laborer, supervisor, civil servant, customer, etc., you can make a difference!
Let us do our part. It is in the small things that bigger things are built upon. Let’s be early. I was one hour early to bring my son for his high school entrance exam and I submitted this article one week earlier than promised. For me, this is a good start. Let’s make a difference and start. Bridging the gap does not mean only one person exerting a humungous effort, but a lot of people doing little things for the greater good. May the force of good be with you!
Jeremiah T. Pampolina is a part-time faculty at the Management and Organization Department of the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University, where he teaches Strategic Management. He is also a Vice President of Strategic Planning and Investor Relations of a real estate company and a business development consultant. He can be contacted at email@example.com.