Money and its Impact on Filipinos

Mang Arsenio, a 67 year-old vegetable farmer from Tuba, Benguet earns less than PHP 100 (~$2) a day. He works around this amount to feed his 6 children. In his home , there is no electricity, no water, no bathroom. But what’s worse is he lives in a vicious cycle of debt.

Among him are 11 Million other farmers, wherein the majority highly depend on debts. They often go to loan sharks or private individuals offering easy access to cash but with interest rates that could go as high as 20% per month. Some of the lenders also require the farmers to sell their harvest to them at a lower price, making life even more difficult for these farmers.

Jessa is 17 and eldest of five. Their family makes just enough to eat and live, which is why college is unthinkable for her. 4.5 million Filipinos share Jessa’s dilemma. And in a few years, her younger siblings will be just like her.

Even if Jessa managed to go to college, she would need at least 59 thousand pesos per year. This is a big problem- since 2003, half a million Filipino college students drop out each year because of financial problems.

And Jessa doesn’t actually have many choices of funding. Scholarships are too few and too competitive. State and Cooperative loans are insufficient or limited to its members. In fact, for every peso that Jessa needs to attend college, the government can only lend 8 centavos. And this is why, for every five Jessa’s who find their way to a classroom, only one makes it to graduation day.

Henry, is a 27 year old call center agent. Like many others in the Filipino working class, he doesn’t have other sources of income besides his salary. He barely saves money, because of all his monthly expenses and other wants, which makes him stuck for so long relying solely in what we call the ‘salary cycle — working our way up the ladder till we’re 60.

While there is no dishonor in working honest jobs, the problem is, many in our society get stuck in the comfort zone — where we are merely working for ‘money’, often being unhappy in our roles in life.

While our economy is booming and having the strongest growth in the world — 99% of our population, including Henry, is missing out the chance to ride the growth of solid Filipino companies due to the lack of education and awareness in the stock market.