“Hungry stomachs have no ears.” This is a popular saying that forwards the obvious. The more people are hungry, the more they become deaf. And when no less than millions are hungry, the same number of citizens suffers from deafness.
The deafness caused by hunger simply means that hungry people no longer listen to beautiful speeches, impressive promises, loud assurances. Hungry people no longer have the patience or the time to wait for words and more words to become realities if ever. What they long for is food to live and work to live by.
The present national economy is doing well and the future of the country is bright. The investments have come and more are even expected. The stock market is active and doing very well. There are thousands of employment available. Millions of Phil-Health cards are given away. Scholarships are for the taking. All these social wonders are supposed to mean that the country must be doing well and the citizens should be at ease and in peace.
Yet the fact remains that there are more hungry people in the Philippines. Why do more families have less and less food to eat? Why is there more poverty in the land? Why are there more old people and young children going through garbage piles in avid search for anything to eat, anything useful, anything to sell?
The phenomenon of hunger nationwide is not resolved by the grant of noodles here and there. It is neither addressed by putting up little stores in this or that corner, selling goods at less prices. Even goods sold at lower prices are a problem to those who have no money to buy them. Those who have empty stomachs precisely have empty pockets as well.
The hunger of people constitutes some kind of a present and imminent danger. The serious absence of food and the presence of big frustration, the strong feeling of deprivation plus the sense of desperation—all these bring about a volatile situation likened to a boiling social volcano. Those leading the nation and therefore have a command on the taxes paid by the citizens from birth to death, have to do better and do this fast. Otherwise, the hungry might eventually “swallow” them up. And that would be one big bad news for the country.
13 May 2006