Monday, October 16, 2006

second world

The more recent wishful pronouncement of the national leadership is the following: “right now, we are not a third world anymore.” The dreamy reason forwarded by the same Malacañang leadership goes this way: “our people will be enjoying a per capita income of $1,400.00 this year.” Lo and behold, the windy statement concluded: “we are now a second world, a middle class country.”

To be the kindest and to say the least, such quixotic pronouncements could only come from someone living in another planet and staying in cloud 9. That is why no matter how preposterous and incredulous the claims are, these remain understandable and the claimant is still forgivable.

A per capita yearly income of $1,400.00 this year? There are billions who are jobless. There are millions who barely eat thrice a day. There are thousands who die for lack of common medicine and basic health. There are thousands who live by raking up garbage in sordid dumping sites. There are progressively more suicides due to despair and helplessness. And there someone is delusory enough to say that the Filipinos live in a second world country!

There is more: “we can reach hopefully first world status by the year 2020”. This is not merely a fearless forecast. It is a vacuous vision. How can such a difficult and unstable present be the rational premise of such a glorious and glowing future? And even the very wealthy, powerful and influential national leadership is not the least sure that it would be still around to see such a blissful vision in the life of this nation.

A pitiful service economy that makes people merely market commodities. Unabated graft and corruption in government. Summary killings unlimited of people from poor farmers to churchmen. So much public discontent and resentment on account of structural social injustice. Consumer goods cost more and more to buy vis-à-vis the less and less money of the common tao to buy them. Nature itself even repeatedly bringing extraordinary havoc and destruction in the country in the recent years past. Under these circumstances, one can simply stand in wonder and awe how and when this country could be a “second world” this 2004—the more so, a “first world” in 2020!

All the above big social liabilities notwithstanding, would that the claim that the country now belongs to “second world” and thereafter have a “first world” status, become a reality. But just the same, let no one hold his or her breath—because one thing is certain: it takes a lot of gall and guts to speak of a huge forthcoming prosperity amidst profound distressing poverty. This is simply reality check.

+O. V. CRUZ, D.D.
19 October 2006