First, I must confess to having a sheltered life that has somehow isolated me from the harsher realities faced by other Filipinos, especially those in rural areas.  I know the general facts of their way and quality of life, but not really the nitty-gritty of it.  Once in a while, I would get snippets and glimpses of it though, the most recent of which was just a couple of weeks ago.

We received financial settlement from a court case, and since it’s not hard-earned money, we decided to give part of it to people who would benefit more.  My friend’s dad suggested that we use it to supply rice to disadvantaged families in Mindoro (where their family has a farm).  At first, I thought it was merely to help out with the rice problem.  It turned out that it has a deeper importance.  According to my friend, they use food there to make the children go to school.  However, public school funds could not cover both rice and viand.  (Let’s not even think yet WHY they do not have the funds.)  Therefore, they usually just provide the viand and it is up to the students to bring rice – and the schools cannot even guarantee regular supply of the viand.

So, this can only mean that if there is no food, then the students do not go to school.  It seems that they go to school primarily so they’ll have something to eat, with learning as a side dish.  If the schools do not have enough funds for food supplies and if the parents cannot give their children food to bring to school or money to buy it, then they don’t go to school.  A very sad situation.

This then brings us to eternal “the chicken or the egg” question.  Is lack of education the root of poverty, or does it really begin with poverty being the cause of lack of education?  It’s just going in circles.  The only thing clear is that something has to be done and someone or some group must have the will, fortitude and integrity to wade through the mess and sort it out.  I wonder if the assigned ones are up to it, and if there would be those who would willingly volunteer with the purest of intentions and would actually have significant accomplishments.

Just my two cents’ worth of what the most urgent problems are that need to be solved so our country can finally truly begin the climb out of the deep Third-World hole:  Education and Poverty.  One really can’t be solved without the other.