Ang Napabayaang “Bilao/Tumpok/Kariton” Sektor ng Ekonomiya ng Pilipinas



Ni Apolinario Villalobos



Bulag ang gobyerno sa katotohanang napakalaking bahagi ng populasyon ng Pilipinas, o sa Manila na lang ang umaasa sa maliit na pagkikitaang nakatumpok sa bangket at bilao, at ang puhunan ay galing sa mga Bombay. Napakaraming Pilipino ang umaasa sa ganitong uri ng pangkabuhayan dahil hindi nila kayang umupa ng puwesto sa commercial building, mall, at mga palengke. Sa halip na tumunganga sa kawalan, maraming pamilya – magulang at mga anak ang namumulot ng mapapakinabangan pang gulay na tinatapon ng mga biyahero o wholesaler sa Divisoria. Ang iba ay nagpupuwesto sa mga bangketa sa iba pang bahagi ng Maynila upang magbenta ng kape, kendi, biscuit, chicherya, at iba pa na ang tubo ay barya-barya.


Sa halip na mag-isip ng paraan ang gobyerno kung paanong makontrol ang mga taong ito upang hindi sila makasagabal sa trapiko at mga pedestrians, ang ginagawa ay basta na lang kinukumpiska ang mga gamit sa pagbenta at mga kalakal kaya ang mga inutang na puhunan ng mga tinaboy na mga vendor ay nawalang parang bula!


Dapat tanggapin ang katotohanang ang Pilipinas ay hindi pa kahanay ng Singapore at iba pang mga mauunlad na bansa sa ibang panig ng mundo. Dahil diyan dapat asahan na hindi lahat ng mga mangangalakal o nagbebenta ay may puwesto sa malls at palengke at zero ang sidewalk o ambulant (kariton) vending.


Hindi rin mawawala kahit kaylan ang “bazaar o tiyangge business mentality” nating mga Pilipino dahil bahagi na ito ng ating kultura noon pa man. Kahit maglipana pa ang mga malls sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa, magkakaroon pa rin ng mga negosyanteng tingi-tingi ang kita dahil ang kaya lang ay maliit na puhunan. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit hindi 100% na mga vendors ay maipapasok  sa mga modernong palengkeng pilit isinusulong ng Manila sa tulong ng mga private investors. Magkakaroon pa rin ng mga vendors na ang gamit ay mga bilao at kariton sa labas ng mga modernong pasilidad na ang iba ay aircon pa, sa di-kalayuan mula sa kanila.


Sa pagpa-moderno ng mga palengke, dapat maglaan din sana ng bahagi para sa mga nagbibilao upang hindi na sila kumalat pa sa mga sidewalk. Kapag ginawa ito, hindi na magrerekalamo ang mga maliliit na nagtitinda kahit magbayad sila ng legal na arawang upa, kaysa naman magbigay ng tong sa mg protector na taga-City Hall o pulis. Ang isa pang paraan ay maglaan ng mga lugar para sa permanenteng “night market” para sa maliliit na negosyante. Sa ibang lugar ay umiiral na ito tulad ng Divisoria at Baclaran kung saan, ang mga negosyante ay nagliligpit pagdating ng alas siyete ng umaga.


Dapat maging makatotohanan ang mga panukalang pang-ekonomiya ng gobyerno upang pati ang maliliit ay makinabang din. Hindi lang dapat magturo kung paanong magnegosyo na ginagawa ng iba’t ibang ahensiya dahil aanhin ang kaalaman kung wala namang puhunan?

Forty Years Ago, the Peso Had a High Value

Forty Years Ago, the Peso Had a High Value

By Apolinario Villalobos


When I joined PAL in 1976 assigned in Romblon (Tablas station), my pay was less than Php500/month but I still had enough savings left for my sister who was in college, to cover a portion of her allowance. I recall the US dollar to be something like Php3.80 to a peso, and it was at par with the Hongkong dollar or Php1 to HKD1. I was not interested to know the minimum wage during that time, as I was happily and contentedly working with the country’s flag carrier.  But when I joined its Tours and Promotions Division for which I was relocated to Manila, after less than a year, my pay was increased to Php1,408.00/month. Those days were part of the Marcos “regime”.


My point here is that, the Philippine peso value has deteriorated drastically so that to date, a dollar is equivalent to the fluctuating value of the US dollar between Php45 to Php46. The head of the family has to have a gross earning of at least Php40,000/month to cover the expenses for food, lodging rent, water, electricity, transportation to the job site, clothing, and education. That estimate is even conservative for a decent life of one family with 4 members. In that estimate, the emergency expenses for hospitalization and medicines are not yet included.


Many would ask then, how could a family in Manila, whose breadwinner’s take home pay of less than Php10,000/month survive? The answer is by “scrimping” and through “resourcefulness”… by having only 2 pieces of pan de sal for  each member for breakfast and a mug of coffee shared among them in which each member dip the bread,  with the youngest having the privilege of gulping the last drop. Lunch for the members of the family left at home is a plate or two of cold or burnt rice bought at half the price of the newly-cooked, drenched with instant noodle soup – one sachet cooked in two to three cups of water. Meanwhile, the head of the family at the job site is contented with the half portions of rice and viand, usually vegetable.  Dinner for the whole family is whatever salvaged wilted vegetables begged from stall owners cooked with fish heads or just flavored with “bagoong”. At night there is only one 10-watt light bulb used to light the room where the family lives. Water is fetched from a common manual pump three blocks away, or purchased at Php15 per “container” – used for drinking and the rest of basic uses, such as washing dishes, clothes, bath, etc.


In time, changes as a “universal rule” have to happen throughout the world including the monetary power of all nations. But very obvious is the occurrence of drastic changes in Philippines at a very sweeping pace. And, even without my mentioning it, the evident unrelenting corruption in the government is the greatest factor in the country’s economic deterioration. In this view, no GDP (gross domestic product) report that supposedly shows the economic growth of the country can change the landscape of poverty in the Philippines as the benefits are not felt by the impoverished.


PAL pay slip


The Deceitful “Growth” of the Philippine Economy

The Deceitful “Growth” of the Philippine Economy

by Apolinario Villalobos

When President Pnoy Aquino made reports about the “phenomenal” growth of the Philippine economy under his administration, many shrugged their shoulders, as the latter believe otherwise in view of the very obvious poverty that scars the economic landscape, like a creeping amoeba. Pnoy sincerely believes the “truth” in the result of the surveys, which many times have been proven unrealistic, hence, unbelievable. Development should result to fair and real benefits for the appropriate parties. So, whether the Filipinos are, indeed, benefiting from these foreign investments in the country or not, still remains a big question that Pnoy should answer – truthfully.

The Filipino industry is dead long ago, when the country joined the global commerce that enslaved it to one-sided provisions due to quotas involved, favoring giant industrial nations. The Philippines has become the dumping ground of cheap products, especially, those from China and the United States, and woefully, even garbage from Canada! Not even the agriculture industry is spared, as rice and corn fields gave way to subdivisions and business centers. The forests are exploited by loggers financed by foreigners, and so are the mining areas. Manufacturing in the country has become the exclusive venture of foreign investors with Filipinos slaving it out along the length of the assembly lines, and tied to 5-month contract for a measly wage.

The volume and the gross monetary returns of these investments get reported, but the details of the “real profit” are not, because they are hauled back to the countries of the foreign investors. Meanwhile, the only tangible and direct benefit from contractual employment which is the measly wage, is what’s left to Filipinos!…yet, the President Pnoy has the courage to report that the country under his administration has “moved forward” on his “tuwid na daan” (straight path), and that poverty has been decreased!…and very proudly at that!

Pnoy Aquino should stop warbling about “developments” under his term, so that he will not be overwhelmed with criticisms, as he is just basing his claims on questionable survey results. He should not worry, because presidents who preceded him are equally guilty. Just like him, they forgot that the Philippines, is first and foremost, an agricultural nation, yet, this particular segment of the economy was woefully neglected. Instead of preserving what remained of the dastardly exploited natural resources since the American regime, these are left to be further exploited not only by corrupt government officials but by foreign financiers through their dummies, as well.

Public lands were sold, supposedly for their revenue to be used in upgrading government facilities, such as those in the Armed Forces, but nothing happened of it. So, today, the archipelagic Philippines is a miserable sight in the eyes of other nations due to her Navy’s rusty and outmoded ships; the Army’s doleful and inadequate arms and ammunitions; and, the Air Force’s shabby picture with its rickety aircrafts. There are reports that acquisitions have been made…but similar reports were made many years ago…and, remained as just reports.

By the way, though known to be a dictator, Ferdinand Marcos , at the early part of his first term as president, was honest enough to admit the sorry state of the nation with its deteriorating economy. Nobody among the rest of the presidents, including Quezon, the Commonwealth president had the courage to do it.

The situation today is worsened by the obvious cover-up of what are really happening, a gross act of dishonesty. Meanwhile, the country still wallows in the corrupted government system that benefits only a few.