The Problem with Poverty – MDS

I am just re writing what I’ve read from the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago (MDS) about the problem of poverty from her book “Stupid is forevermore”, published last 2015.

“I use the U.N. definition that poverty is present when the person lives below $1 a day. The U.N. estimates that about 1.2 billion people in the world currently live in poverty, and one half of those are children. The poor people generally in sub- Saharan Africa and in South Asia. In 2000, 189 members of the U.N adopted the Eight Millennium Development Goals designed to alleviate poverty, and improve the quality of life between their borders.

During our time it now appears that globalization is a key factor in increasing poverty levels in developing countries. If we do not give ourselves a reality check, industrialization will leave the Philippines out of the global economy. Therefore, each Filipino with a conscience, particularly young graduates with your entire lives before you, must resolve to help reduce poverty in the Philippines. I emphasize to you, as an intelligent audience, that the likelihood of poverty is increased in our country by our poor governance, ethic conflict, corruption, degradation, and the absence of effective social services.

You and I as individuals share with our government the responsibility for alleviating poverty. In the exercise of your profession, try hard to participate in poverty alleviation programs. Support economic safety nets, demand increased job and credit opportunities, and insist that government should execute programs designed to improve the quality of life, education, and health care.

If you are thinking of joining the brain drain, meaning the outflow of our professional people to higher income countries. I would regret it very much. We all agree that the migrants and the countries that they join represent gains for our national economy. But what happens to the families left behind?

Here are the key points I want you to toss around in your educated brain:

  • The Philippines has borne some of the costs of educating you. If you go abroad, our country will lose the tax revenues from your incomes.
  • If you emigrate, and particularly when you are a teacher, you could be depriving younger Filipinos of your guidance and stimulus. those who could become your assistants will no longer be able to do so after you depart.
  • The brain drain poses the problem that people who move out of the country are mostly those who are trained and skilled, leaving behind the unskilled and the semi-unskilled.
  • Iy you leave, your departure will impact internal income distribution, because professionals who emigrate imply that they will stay if their salary differentials were raised. If our society gives them higher salaries, they would reinforce the inegalitarian income distribution.

The brain drain is external, because Filipinos leave for abroad. But the brain drain is also internal, because the professionals prefer to practice in the cities and often disregard the needs of rural areas.” – Miriam Defensor Santiago


My thoughts about what I read:

My family is not that poor, but we’re not that rich either. We just survive out of our means. I am the eldest among all my siblings. As a young professional in the Philippines, I have always wanted to go abroad when I was young, that’s why I chose nursing as my course, though it was not my first choice. However, there were changes after I graduated college. I went to med school, not just once but twice. But then, I had a lot of struggles with myself, my purpose and my motivation when I was in med school, considering that it is a very rewarding profession if ever I graduate.

I was not able to continue my med school, because I have not passed some of the subjects that I had; and all the while I was so distracted about so many things. Maybe that’s the reason why I was not able to continue. I have always wanted closure from circumstances in my past, but it was never really fully achieved. Even then, I am forever grateful for the learnings that I had from those moments.

Until now, I am still wondering what will my future be as a registered nurse in my country. I believe I am not a hopeless case.

Some of the thoughts that entered my mind, I thought of being in the academe.

I’d like to be a teacher. Be a professor in a College of Nursing.

Motivate aspiring nurses to not give up on their dreams. Sounds great! Right?

Will I be able to make it? Maybe, someday in God’s time.

As of now, I’m still praying for my workplace. Currently, I am a full time Masteral student. I just had a one year of experience as a nurse for the first time. It’s because I have always not reached a hospital stay no longer than six months. I am transferring from one hospital to another before. But, I am just beyond grateful that I have already finished more than a year experience and it is already an achievement for me. But, I believe I can do more than that.

So, back to brain drain. I was really affected by its impact. I love my country. I just want to be a productive citizen of this country. I believe that the Philippines is not a hopeless case as it is included in the third world countries.

I just believe and I pray for my country, my fellow Filipinos, my family and most importantly for myself. I want to be the best nurse that I can be. I want to serve. I want to improve myself not just for me but for my future family someday. If God will find favor in me. I pray He will not abandon me in every challenge and struggles I face. I know I am secured in His hands, that I don’t need to seek greener pastures abroad because I know that my country is blessed, that I don’t need to compare it to other nations because I know for sure that someday my country will just improve too (the government, the transportation, the businesses, quality of education, students and young professionals aspiring for excellence and most importantly the health aspect).

I know some people will think of me as delusional, but I just thought that I need to face reality and not just dwell in my fantasies considering that I had been depressed for so long. If I will just think outside the box, and just not be selfish about my thoughts which sometimes cripples me. I know I can do better than what I have been doing as a Filipino.

However, my future is still in God’s hands. Not my will, but His will be done in my life. Amen. Thank you.