A recent survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that most Filipino households are excluded from the country's financial system.
The survey indicates that 78.5% did not have a deposit account and 92.8% of those with no deposit accounts said the reason was that they did not have enough money for bank deposits.
This survey was a clear depiction of the two face of Filipinos.
If you are not rich, you are poor. If you are not living comfortably in a condo, you live in a shanty. If you are dining in a restaurant, you eat left-overs. If you are not shopping in those posh shopping malls, you are buying clothes in UK (ukay-ukay). If you are not swiping your credit cards, you are counting coins to buy basic necessities. If you are not depositing for a savings, you are having hard time stretching your budget.
Lets face it, there's a colossal gap between the rich and the poor, and that gap is certainly getting wider.
But whose to blame in this economic inequality?
Is it the government that favors capitalist who contributed large amount during their campaign periods? Is it our constitution that institutionalized the practice of contractualization and other forms of labor flexibilization, hence undermining job security? Like a joke from my previous job, "If you are not a regular employee, you are casual. And after 5 or 6 months, your employer says TY (Thank You) to you which makes you a casualTY.
Can we blame capitalist that hoard as much wealth as possible leaving only a thin slice of the pie for the masa to share among themselves?
I'd like to point out, base from my experience, that a crucial factor is why the poor are not getting chances to improve their financial status is the cost of living in the Philippines. While the rich can comfortably afford basic necessities and can still stash a generous amount for savings, the poor are constrained on a tight budget. While in Malaysia, the cost of living compared in the Philippines is much lower. Basic necessities are even subsidize.
For comparison, a salary of a median employee in the Philippines is around Php 15,000.00, in Malaysia it is around RM 3,200.00 or equivalent to Php 44,500.00.
1 kilo of rice in Malaysia is equivalent to Php 24.00 while its over Php 30.00 in the Philippines.Subsidize gasoline price is at Php 29.00. A good meal in a restaurant in Malaysia cost you around Php 100.00. An apartment, take note, with a spacious living room and even more spacious bedroom, only cost Php 6,000.00.
For the sake of argument, you may say that Malaysia is "richer" than the Philippines.
Yes, that's true. But I'd like to point out that in the recent list of billionaires from Forbes, Philippines has 6 billionaires. Other "richer" country like Singapore and New Zealand has 5 and 2 respectively. This directs again the blame to those chosen few in the upper echelon of our society, the capitalist and the oligarchy. While they lining up their bursting pockets, they leave few rooms for the poor to improve their financial status. So, a county's wealth is off the equation.
In other point of view, the poor must also take a part of the blame why the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Filipinos are luxurious and has a habit of being a "one day millionaire". Some spent almost half of their meager earnings into vices like going into a beerhouse every payday, betting lotto or horse race, and playing tong-its. Some spent on buying gadgets like the latest celphone and spend considerable amount for their load. I've even seen scavenger sporting a rather high end celphone.
If only we all have an equal opportunity to benefit from this so-called capitalization, if only we try to save every single centavo we spent in luxury and vices, if only our constitution safeguard our tenure in our job, then I think, the gap would be closing in.