Saturday, July 28, 2007

Teaching the poor good values

Mr. William M. Esposo stated in his Philippine Star column, "The poor need to form new, right values in order to exit from their cycle of poverty." I agree but how? How can you change the mindset of the poor?

From where I sit, it is the norm to see able bodied men drinking red horse early in the morning. All day, you see women playing either tong it or bingo. Chismisan is a favorite past time.

Will I tell them to stop dong what they are doing? Magpapakasanto ba ako? Sesermonan ko ba sila and tell them to make themselves productive?

Years ago, I allowed myself to socialize with the squatters in our neighborhood. But for now, I have distanced myself. Why? If you have more than what they have, uutangan at uutangan ka nila. Utang yon na walang bayaran. If you ask for payment, ikaw pa ang masama. Kaibiganin mo sila and they will take advantage of you. They will see you as an opportunity to give them pulutan or a share in their drinking expense. Kung makakaisa sila, mang iisa sila. Not all of them, but a lot of them behave that way. Good values are alien to most of them.

Mr. Esposo has cited intervention works of Gawad Kalinga and the economy of communion of the Focolare Movement to empower the poor. These groups had a wholistic approach in fighting poverty which includes value formation. Great! Excellent! But what percentage of our population is being served by these groups? As I said in a previous post, where do us who are not in anyway part of Gawad kalinga fit into the picture? Will good values be taught only to Gawad Kalinga beneficiaries?

I have nothing against the works of Gawad kalinga or other charitable foundations/institutions. I commend and admire them for what they do. But my issue is how about those who are not reached by these institutions? How can we influence the mindset of the poor who are not Gawad Kalinga beneficiaries?

My response is to create a critical mass of good citizens. There are a lot of good citizens among us. Unfortunately, us, the good citizens, can't get our act together. Kanya kanya pa rin ang approach. From the middle class, we need to make it "fashionable" to become good citizens. In doing so, the poor will hopefully adopt these good values. The next quesiton will be, how to create that critical mass of good citizens from the middle class?

Hopefully, this blog will lead to that.

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