The Vicious Cycle of Progress and Poverty

The Vicious Cycle of Progress and Poverty

By Apolinario Villalobos


Poverty is a mean excuse to do things for easy money by the weak in spirit. But the strong are ready to go hungry in the name of ideals and principles. The exploiters use poverty in blackmailing the unfortunates, one result of which is the dirty election due to rampant vote buying.


Exploitation of the illiterates and impoverished also result to virtual land grabbing because they are made to “sell” their ancestral domains to rich real estate developers at below  the decent value level. As subdivisions, golf courses and resorts sprout, the displaced former landowners and the fortune-seekers from other parts of the country huddle in not so far depressed areas with many of them working as low-waged employees of the mentioned business institutions that sprouted.


Poverty is the corner where the impoverished are pushed to make a choice between death and survival. Also, when the government alleges progress, poverty trails a few steps behind. Along this line, poverty breeds animosity in a community, especially, on matters of politics. In this regard, while some members of the community are ready to sell their soul for a few pesos in exchange for their vote, others are steadfast in protecting theirs which has always been viewed as a “sacred” right. Even some of the clerics of the Catholic Church have joined the confusion by counseling their members to accept the bribe but vote according to their conscience.


As soon as the corrupt candidates are finally put in place, thanks to the rampant vote-buying, in no time at all, they start to engage in schemes designed to insure the “return of their investment”. Projects that involve infrastructures are conceived, supposedly to carry on the “progress”…the bigger project, the better, as assurance for fat commissions. The worst scheme is connivance with non-governmental organizations for ghost projects. While all these things are going on, the suffering constituents see around them towering manifestations of progress in the shadow of which, they cringe in poverty.


Progress and poverty are the two forces that push each other to create the never ending loop that goes round and round…a never-ending cycle that plagues the people of the third-world countries such as the Philippines, and the culprit are the “investors” – exploiting nations that promise comfort in exchange for “developments”. Yet, despite the prevailing realities of the time, the rest of third-world nations still bite the bait.

The “Community Outreach”…a give and take effort

The “Community Outreach ”
…a give and take effort
By Apolinario Villalobos

The effort of “reaching out” to the community sounds benign, caring, compassionate, generous, etc. This “effort” has given birth to Foundations and NGOs. What I know of such groups, is that they are supported by patrons whose generosity, they have solicited. Or they are maintained by the establishments and organizations that they represent.

However, there is a big “but” in the operation of these “generous” groups…as they also get some kind of a “rebate” for their “effort”. For the big establishments, the expenses they incurred for benevolent projects through their Foundations are tax deductible. And, aside from the tax deductions, the establishments that cater to the information and entertainment needs of the people, also get very significant mileage.

For other NGOs, people behind them, derive a direct “cut” from grants and donations. While there is no problem with popular establishments that regularly dole out financial and material help to the victims of catastrophes, the rest are being used as conduits for ill-gotten grants from the government, and worse, the existence of some are even fictitious, so are their projects!

There is a joke now, that brilliant guys who graduated even with honors from reputable universities but could not find a decent job, better establish an NGO. If an undergraduate woman who is now languishing in detention while awaiting a final verdict on her misdoings was able to amass wealth with her Foundations and NGOs, how much more if one is a magna or summa cum laude from a State University or colleges administered by religious educators?