Chil­dren vic­tims of a glob­al­ized world econ­omy

Manila Times - - Opinion - Pag­pag. Daily In­quirer. Philip­pine FR. SHAY CULLEN, SSC Read the suc­cess and sur­vival sto­ries of chil­dren in a novel from Ama­zon pub­lish­ing

THE Philip­pines is a coun­try with some of the great­est in­equal­ity. There are 16 mil­lion Filipinos who suf­fer se­ri­ous poverty out of a pop­u­la­tion of 107 mil­lion. Six mil­lion live in ex­treme poverty. They suf­fer the burn­ing heat of sum­mer and the down-

hov­els made of plas­tic sheet­ing, scrap wood and rusty metal sheets. They eat a mea­ger one meal a day and sel­dom

Most are un­e­d­u­cated, job­less and have low ac­cess to health care.

The chil­dren are the worstaf­fected. They suf­fer from bad food re­sult­ing in stunted growth and learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties. They live in neg­a­tive dys­func­tional fam­i­lies where harsh words and re­jec­tion, hard work and abuse is the norm. They wit­ness vi­o­lence and sex­ual ac­tiv­ity from an early age. They are the aban­doned throw­away chil­dren and fam­i­lies of the Philip­pines and the poor ev­ery­where.

They eat low- qual­ity rice, a pinch of salt, a spoon­ful of veg­eta­bles and sel­dom meat, if ever. The ur­ban poor eat re­cy­cled left­overs from un­eaten din­ners from restau­rants called Their life is harsh, crude, rough and hope­less. Year after year, more chil­dren are born into dire poverty. Gov­ern­ment, which is sup­pos­edly there to up­lift the lives of the poor and cre­ate a more equal so­ci­ety, has con­ducted a "war on drugs" pol­icy, killing as many as 22,360 since May 2016, ac­cord­ing to the

The chil­dren take to the streets to es­cape beat­ings, bro­ken homes, hunger, and sur­vive by join­ing street gangs, sniff­ing in­dus­trial glue to block the pain of liv­ing with­out love, care, ed­u­ca­tion and en­dur­ing a life of mis­ery with­out a fu­ture. They are mostly in­no­cent chil­dren aged from 10 to 15 years old, and while not crim­i­nally li­able for mis­de­meanors, are nev­er­the­less ar­rested for be­ing home­less street chil­dren. They are jailed il­le­gally and suf­fer beat­ings and “slav­ery” to other older in­mates, sex­ual abuse and life in an empty cell. Chil­dren com­mit only two per­cent of all crimes in the Philip­pines.

Their al­leged sur­vival strate­gies — petty theft and drug use — are not crimes but an un­con­scious re­sponse to life. They en­dure in­jus­tice, greed and self­ish­ness of so­ci­ety that con­demns them as crim­i­nals and does lit­tle to change their dire sit­u­a­tion. They are the first line vic­tims of a Philip­pine econ­omy dom­i­nated by a tiny rich elite where an es­ti­mated some .00001 per­cent own as much as 70 per­cent of the na­tional wealth. They are part of a glob­al­ized world econ­omy that cre­ates dire poverty for hun­dreds of mil­lions.

The wealthy politi­cians are mostly mem­bers of the eco­nomic elite, the rul­ing dy­nas­ties, and they buy their way to gov­ern­ment po­si­tions of power to pro­tect the wealth of the .00001 per­cent of the Philip­pine

them­selves and their rich sup­port­ers with lower taxes and low level of reg­u­la­tion so their cor­po­ra­tions and multi­na­tional part­ners can more or less do what they want to save money like dis­re­gard­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions laws.

The in­equal­ity has be­come greater with the glob­al­iza­tion of the world econ­omy. Cor­po­ra­tions are mov­ing pro­duc­tion to poorer coun­tries that al­low the low­est wages and over­head costs. They fre­quently have sweet­heart deals with politi­cians and pay bribes to get ahead with il­le­gal trans­ac­tions. This is a sim­ple state­ment but holds much truth. The rule of the rich, through dy­nas­tic fam­i­lies keeps the poor very poor, un­e­d­u­cated, job­less, and ready to sell their votes for a tri­fle and re­elect their op­pres­sor.

It al­lows the global cor­po­ra­tions to ex­ploit nat­u­ral re­sources and earn

wealth through­out the world in the hands, pock­ets, and bank ac­counts of very few peo­ple. They are known as the 1 per­cent of a world- rich pop­u­la­tion. So, while a few are very rich, many hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple are very poor, hun­gry, un­em­ployed or earn­ing star­va­tion wages.

It is now a proven fact that 1 per­cent or less of the world’s pop­u­la­tion owns, con­trols and en­joys more than half of the en­tire wealth on the planet. Ac­cord­ing to Credit Swiss bank, the wealth­i­est 1 per­cent of hu­mans grew richer by 6 per­cent since 2012 and now own as much as $ 280 tril­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to Ox­fam re­search, the in­equal­ity is get­ting worse. It is re­vealed that 82 per­cent of all the wealth cre­ated in the past 12 months (2018) went to the 1 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion amount­ing to few mil­lion peo­ple. Whereas, 3.7 bil­lion im­pov­er­ished peo­ple who make up the poor­est half of hu­man­ity got noth­ing. They live in dire poverty, strug­gling to sur­vive and stay alive. That’s the great­est in­equal­ity the world has ever known. Greed and

The list of the most equal coun­tries in the world starts with Ice­land, a very small coun­try with a vo­cal and vi­brant democ­racy that tol­er­ates no cor­rup­tion. It is fol­lowed by the Scan­di­na­vian coun­tries — Nor­way, Den­mark, Fin­land, Slove­nia and then Aus­tria and Swe­den. The Philip­pines is among the most cor­rupt, ac­cord­ing to Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional, and among the great­est un­equal coun­tries of all where thou­sands of chil­dren marked as crim­i­nals are jailed. Ricky and Julie,

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