The Hopeless Saving Effort of the Poor Filipinos
By Apolinario Villalobos
The Philippines as a country that belongs to the third world, has nothing to be proud of when it comes to the self-sufficiency of its people. There are strong indications that the Filipinos are far from gaining just a foothold on the edge of this aspiration. While there is an effort on the part of some hardworking Filipinos to become self-made entrepreneur even of the lowest category, external factors are just not on their side. The best investment that a few thousand pesos can give to the aspirant is a round and flat bamboo tray (bilao) of girlie accessories. The aspiring entrepreneur is also constantly haunted by sidewalk clearing agents of the government who drive him away from roadsides and street corners, and whose effort is enhanced by the threat of fine or arrest. The few pesos earned for the day is not even enough to buy three decent meals for a family of four which is the standard size of the Filipino family.
With small-time entrepreneurship out of question, here comes the encouragement of the government to save money in the bank. Some banks even entice kids to start their own savings purportedly, for a “bright future”. In advertisement, the call is very attractive, full of promises. The banks also zero-in to the sector of retirees to-be because of their separation pays in lump sum that sometimes amount to millions of pesos. Lucky are those who bit the bait five or more years ago due to sufficient return in interest , because, today, such topic does not deserve any serious discussion for lack of financial luster.
Today, if one puts a million pesos in a time deposit scheme of five years, it will not even earn one thousand pesos per month. As if the dismal interest is not enough, bank managers, exert much effort in selling the insurance programs of “sister” insurance companies which do not allow approration of dividend. The client must wait until the placement matures after three years or five years or whatever length of coverage.
For the retirees who have been looking forward to live on their savings’ interest in the bank,it is as if the world has closed in on them. A retiree cannot even rely on the interest of a five- million peso time deposit that was long-planned to be used to buy health supplements and regular physical check- ups.Worst, the social security pension, especially, of those who belong to the minimum level is barely enough to cover monthly household expenses.
The poor retiree is left with no recourse, but to spend the hard-earned savings with much cautious calculation so that they will last until the dayhe draws his last breath.
There is no better choice to head the Vatican of today than Francis in view of his radical effort in reforming the papacy. His refusal to live in the posh papal quarters more than symbolized his humility. In his simple ways, he sheds off the royal trapping that for him sets the pope apart from the people. His actions are always with implied reminder that in the eyes of God, everybody is equal. His stubbornness to project simplicity irritates some Roman Catholics, but for the rest, he is Jesus personified.
During the time of Jesus, the community he lived in was also beset with hypocrites who regard themselves as authorities on the Jewish traditions and the proper worship of God. This kind of “faithfuls” are still very much around, cloaked in different colorful uniforms of religiosities to distinguish them from the “sinners” . That is why, just like Jesus who practically resorted to almost any way possible to carry out his mission, Francis today, even mingle with the people in the Vatican’s square and “invaded” the social media to be able to reach out to those who decided to join other flocks, in an effort to bring them back to the fold of Universal faith.
Francis and Jesus did not promise anything with monetary value. Both just showed their real selves and dwell on the doable expectations of God from us. Just like Jesus who was pestered by his detractors who patiently waited for his missteps, Francis is being watched keenly not by those belonging to other denominations, but by Roman Catholics themselves who abhor reform. Criticisms about Francis are already coming out in the social media.
Those who belong to this generation should feel lucky for witnessing a radical religious reformation, the tableau being completed by different assemblages of fanatics who profess to be the real messiah. Aside from proving the truth in the adage, “history repeats itself”, those who read the Bible will also realize that the prophesy about the coming of false prophets is already happening.
My favorite pages of the Bible are those about the Old Testament because of their historical content. I also like the New Testament which tackle values , development of Christianity, Jesus and His works. It’s about love of God, love of fellowmen, faith in God, etc., that need to be practiced, an expectation that unfortunately, failed, somehow.
There is just one question about Jesus that has been bugging me – his genetic lineage. According to prophesy,the Messiah shall come from the House of David. Josephis only a “foster” father of Jesus. So, though, Joseph belonged to the House of David, Jesus, genetically does not. Jesus was broughtinto the world through virgin birth, that of Mary. But Mary does not belong to the House of David. In other words, Jesus does not belong to the House of David. To simplify the explanation, the Vatican just emphasized the whole thing as a miracle, and that, Joseph is presented as the “father” of Jesus, to complete the picture of the Holy Family. For the faithful, no question should be asked when miracle is used as an explanation.
In the first place, there could have been no question if the writer of the particular chapter in the Bible dealing on the prophesy about the messiah, just espoused the miracle of the virgin birth and understated his coming from the house of David. The faithful I suppose are willing to accept it just like the rest of the miracles. It seems something is lacking in the way the prophesy has been written. The prophet who announced the coming of the messiah should know about it, because the message came from the all- knowing God, or there should have been some kind of a “by the way” about the messiah’s adoption by a foster father. In my simple mind, perhaps, the writer mentioned the “House of David” to inject an image of royalty to the messiah, though, born in a manger to portrait humility. Such an implied intention, if ever, is a deceptive ploy of the writer which drained down to the Vatican which is now submerged in a thick muck of controversies.