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HomeOpinionTwenty Million Filipinos are now Living in Extreme Poverty

Twenty Million Filipinos are now Living in Extreme Poverty

Kim’s Dream Orlan Ravanera

Modern-Day American Imperialism Perpetuates Oligarchical Control


Peter Goodman Speaker Agent | Contact Economics Speaker

Peter S. Goodman/Journalist

As published in Washington Post by Mr. Peter S. Goodman in New York on December 30, 2023, entitled, “The Colonial Roots of Philippine Poverty,” it was declared that “the desperation confronting tens of millions of landless Filipinos stems in part from policies imposed by the powers that controlled the archipelago for centuries – first Spain and then the United States. Because the United States opted not to engage in the redistribution of land, families that collaborated with colonial authorities retain oligarchical control over the soil and dominate the political sphere. Policies engineered to make the country dependent on American factory goods have left the Philippines with a much smaller industrial based than many economies in Asia.” Such truism is the root cause of poverty in a very rich ecological country that has become so poor because of the modern-day American Imperialism that is now under the oligarchical control of a few elites. American Imperialism in the Philippines that controls more than one half of the world’s resources has either made Third World countries like our country as either Market or Target. Market means, our country has just become a dumping ground of finished products and our rich resources are extracted following an extractive economy. Target means our country has just become US military base which will be the target when war erupts.

Freshly harvested bananas attached to an assembly line. Credit Photographs by Jes Aznar
A man leaning over tubs of water under a low ceiling, with green bananas floating inside them.

Worker’s cleaning and packing bananas for delivery

The blessed island of Mindanao has been repeatedly mentioned as now controlled by corporate globalization which is producing high value fruits like pineapple and banana to supply the consumerist needs of the people in advanced countries while we cannot even produce enough basic staples for our hungry people. 

The fertile land of Bukidnon on the island of Mindanao. Credit Photographs by Jes Aznar

Indeed, the Philippines is the biggest rice importer in the world and 90% of our milk are imported, the reason why 85% of the Filipino children are malnourished. Mr. Goodman has mentioned the pitiful incidence in Butong, Quezon where thousands of tribal Filipinos are living under shattered tents along the hi-way, so poor and hungry because their 1,111 hectares of their ancestral domain where their ancestors are buried, has been illegally grabbed by a rich powerful corporation. 

The author has underscored that corporate globalization has conquered Mindanao where the choicest of lands have been converted into massive plantations by powerful corporation in cohort with powerful oligarchs which is not only happening in Butong, Quezon, Bukidnon but almost everywhere else. Such is very glaring in San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon where in 2016 the 5,000-ha. -ancestral domain of the Manobo Tribe under Bae Merlita Mayantao was fenced by a powerful corporation. When they protested, barrage of firepower rained upon them by a powerful Tagbagani Security Force and then and there, killed three tribal members and wounding three more.  

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What is so painful is what is happening now in Sitio Kibaritan, Malinao, Kalilangan, Bukidnon. The 195-hectared farmland that has been farmed for more than 50 years by the Indigenous Tribe has been converted into military reservation which is contrary to the declaration of the LGU and agencies of government that such was already a community with an elementary school, a chapel, and a day-care center. Such declaration of military reservation was in utter disregard to the prior right of the occupants that had caused the deaths of three innocent children when an UXO bomb exploded without even a warning of the presence of the bomb. 
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The community is now living in hunger and extreme poverty as their farms have been fenced and everytime they would attempt to enter to harvest their crops, they are being pushed around and even mauled. Every night, there are gun fires that have already cause so much anguish and phobia especially to the children who have stopped going to school anymore. Question? Is their land for military reservation? No. They have discovered that such will be converted into massive hybrid banana plantations as the military officials and the DAR Under Secretary Jeffrey Galan have signed an agreement with a corporation. Is corporate globalization being done now through militarization?
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These narrations are just “tip of the iceberg.” The land rights and water rights of the Indigenous Peoples are being violated all over Mindanao, the reason why the Indigenous Peoples are now the poorest of the poor. Every time they will resist, they are either being “red-tagged,” or killed. In fact, since 2016, some 101 chieftains and lady chieftains have been the victims of Extra Judicial Killing (EJKs) but until now, no killer has been arrested. Thus, the Indigenous Peoples are now asking: “KAMI PO BA AY TAO O BASURA?” Indeed, is the enrichment of the oligarchs and powerful corporations means the dispossession and displacement of the poor Indigenous Peoples of their ancestral domain? Where is the rule of law?

We are so thankful to Mr. Peter Goodman for exposing this truism globally. What the intellectuals and social activists were shouting during the 70s are now being reiterated by the concerned people’s movement in the United States named, “OCCUPY,” which has expanded globally: “DOWN WITH US IMPERIALISM; WE WANT AN EGALITARIAN WORLD, WE WANT PEACE. LET US NOT MAXIMIZE CONSUMER GOODS BUT MAXIMIZE OUR VALUES; WE MUST NOW LIVE A DIFFERENT WAY OF LIFE AND DEBUNK MATERIALISM AND CONSUMERISM.”
Noam Chomsky's Political Analysis Comes to Life in Graphic Novel | Truthout

Indeed, the Filipinos have been buried in unbridled materialism and consumerism and the fallacies of life and religions. The liberation time has come as now being trailblazed by the OCCUPY MOVEMENT in the United States. In fact, after ten years, some 7,762 members of the Occupy Movement have already been imprisoned. But they continue to advocate for what is right, what is just and what is true as they have awakened. It is their contention that humanity is now falling into the precipice of its 6th extinction which will happen either through nuclear war or environmental catastrophe. 

The only countervailing force now is to awaken the people from deep slumber. Let us therefore know that a human being is not just form but spirit (CONSCIOUSNESS) that must be connected to the UNSEEN BEING, THE FORMLESS. Know therefore who truly we are and be connected to that Universal Dimension where the Universal Intelligence governs. Let us now debunk the EGO (Satan) as Satanic greed has indeed ruled the homo sapiens. 

Let the message of King Solomon reverberate when he said in Ecclesiastes “Fame, wealth and power are meaningless, utterly meaningless. What is important is how we have served the least of our brethren.” When that happens, we will end up in the loving embrace of the Unseen Formless Being, called God. 

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