SPECKS OF LIFE: Poverty of the mind and spirit

Negatively as it seems, the stark, harsh truth staring us in the face is that not everyone is willing to lend a hand in solving the problems that poverty brings.

A very sad fact, isn’t it?

While we agree that poverty is the scourge that haunts our nation, only a handful are genuinely interested and courageous enough in getting rid of this malaise.

(Under the Duterte administration, leadership is not wanting. The President has shown genuine love for the poor and is consciously doing something about it. Did you see how quickly he handled the much-delayed rehabilitation of the Typhoon Yolanda victims?)

In this country, if you search extensively the minds and souls of society, you will discover that people are only willing to help if they see that their “charitable and altruistic” actions get media space and are noticed.


Unfortunately, there are scheming sectors who want poverty to stay because they use it as a convenient leverage to exploit the poor and underprivileged.

Let us consider our own history.

What prompted our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal to write his novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo?

It was principally to expose the abuses of the Spanish colonizers and the friars! For nearly four hundred years, the Spaniards taught us to be timid and scared, to be cowardly obedient to their whims and remain unlettered and ignorant.

Today, it is perfectly right for the millions of poor Filipinos living under the poverty line to denounce those who are treating them like as if the Spanish regime is still in effect.

The millions of indigenous Filipinos and other minorities have, since long time past, not been getting what they deserve. Most grew up unlettered, ignorant and neglected. This has been a major roadblock why it is so difficult to integrate them into our society.

The political circumstances of the past and the present have not intertwined to benefit those who have less in life. Ironically, those who have more are getting benefitted by law through sheer political manipulations and connections.

Thomas Paine, an English immigrant and colonist who became one of the founding fathers of the United States, wrote in Common Sense that “government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

Some, if not most, of our national leaders, when facing the media, express their mental anguish about the poverty that has hemmed in our people. They have ideas how to kick poverty out of our lives.

Unfortunately, while talking sensibly they don’t translate their ideas into concrete, positive action. Why?

Because most of them have the elitist’s mindset. Most of them saw the light of day cared for by nurses in first class hospitals and were raised with silver spoons in their mouths. They are of the cacique brand.

They did not know POVERTY from Adam (no pun intended).

So, we go back to the premise of collectively integrating our efforts at licking this scourge. Can it be done?

If the business sector, the taipans and the captains of industries (the oligarchs who belong to the one percent richest in this country), the national elective and appointive officials, the bureaucracy, the common tao, the church (the priests, pastors and the laity), the IPs, Muslims and other minorities, the police and military and the barangay officials join hands in taking POVERTY head on, we can triumph over it.

Problem is – people rush off to different directions.

We are divided. Polarized, disunited and disfigured. Too many geniuses in our midst.

There is the propensity to determine the colors that one wears. The tangerines, the yellows, the oranges and the greens and blues don’t want to merge with other colors for a better mix.

Poverty of the mind and spirit stalks us no end. (Email your feedback to fredlumba@yahoo.com.) GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!