Crimes Are Not the Brainchild of the Impoverished
…as what the “comfortables” insist!
By Apolinario Villalobos
It is like the vicious cycle which has no clear answer, as to which came first, the egg or the chicken. There’s a popular belief that poverty creates crime, as the need of the impoverished to survive forces him to earn via crimes. But what has not been taken into consideration is the “second party” or the people who “use” the impoverished for their selfish motive. Simply put, drug lords organize “educated pushers” to explore the impoverished areas to recruit “uneducated runners”, as well as, entice the gullible residents – young and old to be hooked to illegal drug.
In my long years of association with those living in depressed areas, I learned and observed personally that they can go by with even just one meal a day. Committing crime is far from their mind as they are a contented lot. But when illegal drugs entered their life, and they became hooked to them, they were forced to find ways and means to “earn” so that they can go on with their newly-found habit. In this regard, some of them learned easy-to-earn trades such as snatching, sex peddling or hooking, shoplifting, killing for a fee, petty burglary and drug-running. When they came to Manila, they had no vices except occasional drinking. Foremost in their mind was to work hard with part of their earnings to be sent back home to their families. But, then, well-to-do and impressively educated newfound friends gave them ideas how to earn fast and live comfortably in the city.
It should also be noted that in far-flung provinces, life is very simple. Having vegetables and rice for meals is not considered a way of the impoverished. Students walk their way to school. Life is laid back. But when illegal drug is introduced into communities, some of which still have no street lights, a drastic change occurred in the life of the “probinsiyanos”. In this regard, some news heard over the radio and seen as broadcast on TV are about unknown barrios and towns with drug dens raided by authorities, and drug pushers cornered and caught red-handed with marked money!
Illegal drugs are residues of progress. For people to enjoy progress, heavy prices must be paid …with the future of the youth that goes puff with every sniff of the melted crystals… or, with the crumpled values and honour, long nurtured in the heart of the gullible squatting residents and “probinsiyanos”.
On the other hand, if one insists that poverty creates crime, he is like saying that there are drug laboratories in slums, or the poor can afford to buy and hoard high-powered guns, or they have immense garages for luxury cars used in delivering drugs to avoid detection, or they can afford to organize high-end concerts akin to “tiyangges” so that imported drugs can be sold easily at bargain prices, or they are so clever or well-financed enough as to negotiate for deliveries of kilo-tons of drugs from China, or that offices of illegal recruiters can be found in their midst!
Unfortunately, many Filipinos are so comfortably confined within the secured walls of their homes, hence, their knowledge of what are really happening “on the other side” of the country are derived from TV shows and pages of broadsheets. Despite that glaring reality, SOME, IF NOT MANY OF THEM, still have the gall to utter dismay and disbelief….of course, they cannot believe them, because they chose not to open their eyes to the realities of the big chunk of Filipino life!