Can you still remember the scene when you first step into Tagbiliran? At your first glance, there were many stores with crude decorations selling necessities at the bus station. Be aware of the surroundings, and you can easily find that many child peddlers constantly drop by different coaches in order to earn a thin profit from selling the snacks.
Spending the weekends at Jagna, you may realize that the situation is even worse than expected. While you were chilling with your classmates alongside the pier, you would suddenly feel of a twitch at your sleeve. There were three kids, probably orphans, walking with their bare foot. They didn’t say a word, but kept on spreading out their palm, staring at you in a hope that you would be generous enough to give them some coins or food. I suppose it was not an occasional case but a prevailing phenomenon in Philippine. Therefore, I start to figure out what’s going on in such a less developed country.
In recent years, we can always heard of a proverb ‘Leading the game right from the very beginning’. In Hong Kong, parents would have prepared a variety of extra-curricular activities for their children and even sent them to the first-rated college so as to make the path of their next generation to be easier. Ironically, it is another story in the city that we are staying in these three weeks. Without proper urban planning and well-constructed social facilities, it is no surprising that there is a water outage for more than four days.
There is an old saying goes ‘Knowledge changes destiny’. Yet, most of the people living in poverty can barely afford their living. Hardly can they afford their children from receiving the education (60000 peso per year for attending the university) No to mention their incapability in being the high fliers and pursue for their own dreams.
Assume that someone works extremely hard and able to obtain a full scholarship for his degree, here comes another issue. If you can still remember a scandal happened one year before, it is unveiled that the degree of Tarlac State University and Bulacan in Philippine were up for sale. Some of the professors in Hong Kong are also found to be involved. Study is a process to train up our mentality and critical thinking. Unfortunately, when market economy turns to be market society, will the professional degree in Philippine still be recognized?
Poor in governance, economic growth and education are the three problems confronting the economy. In order to have a full acquaintance on the financial status of our business, our group talked to the business owner last week and find that it is just a social norm for people to conceal their income and evade their tax in Philippine. Even if they get into troublesome, just to spend some money, all stuff is likely to be settled. Low transparency of a corrupted government means the incapability for people to supervise its governance. Despite the efforts of Benigni Aquine III and Rdrigo Duterte in reforming the country, tackling the deep-rooted corruption problem would still be a long-term fight. Insufficient resources allocated to support qualified and qualitative education also implies low in civilization. Added that there is limited scale of international trade, economic growth is greatly hindered. Living in a country without equality of opportunity, rich gets richer with their broad social network. Whilst the poor are hard to get rid of the vicious circle under a low class mobility
For most of the charities, they tend to adopt the approach of victimization in a bid to arouse social sympathy towards the people living in third world countries. However, it is apparently not applicable in our situation. Despite our ambition in bringing some influences to the local society, there is no point for us to act as a humanitarian douchery. As long as we have been staying here, you can even find that most of the locals are indeed satisfied with their living. At least they can enjoy their chilling night singing and drinking; or joining their fiesta and disco night dancing with their neighbors and friends.
Throughout this journey, our classmates always tell a joke that our visit can surely boost the local tourist income. It maybe true. Yet, what the locals need is not a bulk of volunteers, donation, political show, or rapid urbanization. Instead, what they desire is indeed same as our course name ‘Transformative Business Immersion in Developing Economies’ – having more people to immerse into their culture, understand their actual situation and be down to earth to do something practical.