We have all heard Pope Francis’s message of helping the poor as well as the true way of helping the poor. As he said helping the poor is not mere getting money from our pockets and handing it over to them. Helping the poor is way over that.
Awhile ago while walking back home after eating my lunch/merienda and a cup of coffee there were these 3 young able bodied guys in the sides of the fast-food I ate and as pass by one guy tried approaching me asking me for loose change. I just raised my right hand to make the “wala”(no money) gesture. He repeated it once more hoping but his other companion told him that I don’t have any to spare. I was already about 5 steps away when I heard the guy said that I can buy a coffee and yet I don’t have money.
Sometimes the world we live in is really absurd. IN this era the poor even have such guts to say such things when in fact they are the one in need. It is discouraging that is why most people now think twice when giving alms. I am in a big city and yet you can see poverty here and there. Aside from that most beggars in the street are able bodied meaning they can actually have money by doing some work. They could be gasoline boys, street sweeper, parking attendants, etc and yet they prefer staying in the streets all day doing nothing and have the guts to ridicule people who won’t give in to their begging.
Also another scenario is some again able bodied person would come in to the bus or jeep and then would make a speech regarding his or her son/daughter, wife, relative or a friend died and they would need money to get the body from the “funeraria” or hospital since they have bills to pay before releasing the body. They would even show proof and certificate from the barangay, mayor’s office etc that they were granted permit to do what they are doing. It is absurd and really at times annoying especially if you found out the next day the same guy shows up now saying that a different relative just died and would like to ask help for burial.
The question now is what really is helping the poor as our Pope is asking ask to do?
To help the poor means to take them out from that state and be in the same state as we are. The guys in the side of the fast-food or any beggar who literally lives in the street will remain poor if we don’t do something about it. In our society being poor is now being glorified specially that election time is near. Would be politicians are now going here and there making PR and scene in the slums, in the streets, etc. but how come now and if they have really done their job there would be no more poor people in the streets. One of the headlines lately is that the poor in the Metro were brought to a Batangas resort at the same days when the Pope was here.
Helping could be genuine but the other question would be who really the poor are? Again it is obvious that the poor are not the able bodied guys just bumming in the streets or guys with papers asking for donations. Poor are those who really have no means to be financially capable due to barrier like sickness, disability etc. But again our society is absurd. There were reports back then that a syndicate go as far as blinding a person or even cutting a limb so that people will give alms when they are put in the streets. Also stories of rape victims after they help a young one with a piece of paper indicating their address.
So how are we going to really know who are the truly poor?
Personally when a beggar approaches and begs I don’t hand out money. You see syndicate use beggars to get money so I give food instead if I have it with me and if I don’t have I just make a sign that I don’t have. If you give food and the beggar is grumbling and insist money instead that is someone who is being used by syndicate. Just walk away in those cases. At times you will see mothers carrying their babies begging in the overpass under the hot sun. If these “mothers” are truly mothers they won’t bring their baby under the sun. It is so sad that government both local and national just leave this situation as is. Beggars and poor people just staying and living under overpass, underneath LRT stations, streets near busy main roads, and other areas and yet politicians who promised to alleviate the poor have already gone by and nothing really happen. Also the problem is those poor wanted to be poor because they think that it is the work of the government to feed them thus they end up dependent to the government. Unfortunately the government has its own problems handling corruption and no time for taking care of dependent people. I cannot call these people poor technically but rather these are lazy people who don’t use their God given talents to help themselves out to get out of poverty. They would have so many reasons why they are poor and would say it is impossible and blame it to the government instead of taking responsibility themselves.
If only all members of the society are working to help themselves then the economy as a whole would rise.
If efforts and concentrated in making better roads, better systems, etc and not in solving issues of corruptions, issues of taking care of the poor, and others or more yet if people take responsibility of taking care of these things then the economy would grow since all efforts are geared towards growth and no resources are wasted. That is why when we truly correct the poverty issue in our society there will be no poor people. Instead of giving money why not give them livelihood. If you can’t you why not direct them to institutions that can help them. The problem of these people is not that they can’t be of good service to the society it is only that they lost the capacity to dram and have dignity. They would rather be labeled “poor” rather than have a chance to get out of it if given a chance. There are so many good stories of once poor people that were given a chance by good people as well and now they are all good in their lives and a few are one of the wealthiest in our country.
Now being an investor helping the poor would benefit your investment in the very long run. If society is efficient then funds intended for that could be re-directed to infrastructure that the Philippines badly needs. Also if the poor are enabled they could add to the working class of the society thus adding people with purchasing capacity to goods and services internally manufactured and thereby adding to internal growth.
So how can you really help the truly poor?
I believe there are two things of how you can: opening their eyes that poverty is just a state which they have to leave and second is enable them so that they themselves will be able to support themselves and be a contributing citizen of this country. Instead of them being a burden why not turn them into contributors to the society even in the small ways that they can be like being gasoline boys, street sweepers, or any job that would fit their initial capacity and as time goes develop them to handle more jobs.
Helping the poor is not mere handing money from our pockets, as Pope Francis said it is more than that.