The Philippines-People and Poverty:The Philippines Series No.1 菲律宾系列第一集 フイリピンの時間シーリズ1


This will be a new continuing series on one country which is dear to my heart because of its wonderful world of entertainment which drew my attention to this hereto unknown and not much talked about country and which previously, like most people, didn’t get my attention nor interest like i am sure most of my fellow readers too, being more famous for its domestic helpers overseas and its slums. I have since fallen in love with its movies and stars and gone on to want to understand the country and its people, and the social, political, and cultural issues which affect them.

The first series deals with poverty in the Philippines, which i attribute largely to its inefficient and grossly corrupt government as well as more importantly, its huge population. I’ve always believed that large populations are not the only cause, but a significant cause for poverty and the backwardness of any country, including countries like the Philippines. I believe that is what prevents Malaysia and Singapore from falling into extreme poverty as compared to countries in the region such as Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, all of which have large populations to feed and develop. Of cos, government mismanagement and abuse of funds as well as inefficiency and corruption also play a large part but these all occur in Malaysia as well but my country (along with Taiwan) have managed to avoid such large populations of poor people or slum areas and regions of the country precisely because of the smaller population in Malaysia and Taiwan.

For instance, in 1999 the Philippines had 65 million people. By 2009, a mere 10 years later, the population had ballooned to 90 million people already. This increase of 25 million people in 10 years is MORE than the entire population of Australia and almost a reproduction of the ENTIRE Malaysian population currently (28 million) as well!! This means that in a mere 10 yrs, the Philippines government has had to cope with an extra population the size of Australia!.

The same goes for Thailand, it has around 64 million people and is well known for having poor parts of the country hence its former fame as the sex trafficking and drugs capital of the world with a large poor population, especially, in the North-East part of Thailand.

Malaysia has by and large escaped from the reputation of poverty as Thailand and the Philippines has precisely because it has at least 60 million less people to look after when compared to the Philippines and at least half the population of Thailand. This means both Thailand and the Philippines may have middle and upper class populations equivalent of the whole of Malaysia, 28 million, but they still have the extra 60 million or 30 million more people which appear in slums and fill the streets of Manila and Isaan in Thailand. I mean, its not like the Malaysian govt is any better than the Thai one, and the Malaysian government oft makes dumb policies and waste enormous public funds as well as corruption but our low population has saved us such that Kuala Lumpur may not be so much more developed than Manila or Bangkok but at least there are less slums and poor people in it as well as around the country, something which plagues Thailand and especially the Philippines.

Large poor populations also lead to other social problems such as high crime rates, sexual abuse, broken up families due to the need to migrate overseas to earn a higher wage in lowly jobs,etc.

Below are some links to these issues in the context of the Philippines:

Aljazeera’s 101 East on Overseas Filipino Workers:

Aljazeera’s People and Power Report on Philippines Baby Boom:
Aljazeera People and Power Report on Jail Kids Sexual Abuse:

And something completely different, and fun to watch:


12 Responses to “The Philippines-People and Poverty:The Philippines Series No.1 菲律宾系列第一集 フイリピンの時間シーリズ1”

  1. 1 aimlesswanderer

    Sadly it seems like the central government is weak, and much of the power is in the hands of the provincial governments, each often dominated by a few rich families.

    Nationally, the small number of rich families seem to control what happens, not the masses. A system where there are several members of many rich families being elected is not a proper democracy… they have a tendency to only look out for themselves, and sadly better conditions for the poor is less of a priority. The system is more like a hybrid oligopoly/democracy.

    As for the population increase, good ol popey may have something to do with that.

  2. 2 hcpen

    aimlesswanderer: i totally agree with seem to know a thing or two about the philippines, i’m surprised! haha..

  3. 3 aimlesswanderer

    Of course. I couldn’t tell you crap about contemporary culture, but I do know at least something about most of the countries in the region. I remember reading a Pinoy saying which went something like “we had 400 years of the pope and 40 years of Hollywood, no wonder we’re screwed”.

    I’m surprised that there hasn’t been rumours of a coup attempt or a localised army revolt recently, they are a regular occurrence. Also there should probably be another round of serious corruption allegations against senior politicians soon, another staple.

  4. 4 hcpen

    aimlesswanderer: yeah, there r so many coups…

  5. 5 aimlesswanderer

    Yeah, the staples of politics over there are corruption, cronyism, nepotism and army unrest. No wonder nothing gets done!

    If it wasn’t for the vast number of overseas workers remitting money back the place would just collapse.

  6. 6 hcpen

    aimlesswanderer: yeah..

  7. 7 aimlesswanderer

    Sadly I can’t see things getting much better unless there are some radical changes.

  8. 8 hcpen

    aimlesswanderer: I sure hope too…

  9. 9 aimlesswanderer

    I’d say the most likely scenario for change would be someone who can mobilise the poor with promises of making life better for the majority. That might end up in a messy situation like Thailand though, as the rich are unlikely to give up without a fight.

  10. 10 hcpen

    aimleswanderer: Actually that’s nothing new at all….all along each and every govt in the world has made promises like that…

  11. 11 aimlesswanderer

    Yeah, but the extent to which ordinary people see an improvement in their lives differs greatly from country to country. Sadly I think poor Pinoys are not seeing much of an improvement.

  12. 12 hcpen

    aimlesswanderer: that’s true:)

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