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Change. Make it Happen.

A reaction to F. Sionil Jose's "Why are Filipinos so Poor?"

I had to read F. Sionil Jose's article three times before I was able to write, or type, my thoughts. Maybe because I had to make sure I am in the right mood while reading the article. For one, I believe that this article is one of the best pieces that I have read recently. It seems like it has captured me right from the start and reading through it, I ended up asking myself, 'What have we done to ourselves?' 'What have we done to our country?' 'What have we done for our country?'

There are so many valuable points in F. Sionil Jose's article. But I will just focus on a few that really struck me the most.

On Education

...half of all grade school pupils dropped out after grade 5 because they had no money to continue schooling.
According to the article, that was from a survey some 15 years ago. This is just a very unfortunate fact that our fellow Filipinos had to give up education just because of money when in fact it should be accessible for all. Coming from the a teaching curriculum before I shifted to BS DevCom, me eyes have been opened to the reality that until today, money still hinders one's right to learning. There are so many issues that we could tackle under education but as the article stressed, these kinds of poverty, apart from the physical poverty or even economical poverty, are really the more important reasons as to why the Filipinos are so poor. Many of our countrymen are deprived from material possessions but for me, I think there are more Filipinos who are deprived from all those priceless treasures. Sad to say, there is literally a price that we have to pay to be able to have good education.

On 'Yabang'

This, for me, is also true. I could also be wrong, but I also feel like Filipinos value how other people see them individually. We pay attention to physical impressions so much that we sometimes forget that this is not the only thing that matters. We find multitude of ways to look 'sosyal' or classy but if only we could use that kind of resourcefulness to better things in life, we may not have to do so much to impress other people at all.

On Being Filipinos

I have never been more proud of being a Filipino, but I guess not everyone does. If only we could change our way of thinking that Filipinos are inferior to other race, we may not be in this kind of situation we are today. I believe that we are having problems with our being poor. I believe that this is because we have set our standards to that of the Western. Maybe, being poor is dependent on who do we consider as rich. And as I have already mentioned, it's not only material richness that matters. Well, not all rich are happy after all. But I believe that this all boils down to us being Filipinos and how we see ourselves. Not all government officials are blinded by money, as the article even cited examples of clean governance. Filipinos shine all over the world and we take pride in all their achievements. Overseas Filipino Workers are also highly commended abroad because of their hard work and perseverance. You see, we just have to appreciate our own greatness as Filipinos. Everything has to change from within. And only us Filipinos could make that happen.

It's hard to admit, but I think F. Sionil Jose's article said it all as to why are we so poor. As much as we want to shout to the whole world that it's not true, we know deep inside that this is all on us. It's time for us to stop blaming colonialism and start being united in having the strength to change for the better. This, for me, is the challenge imposed on us by the article.

Do we have what it takes to change ourselves? Let's think about it.

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