The Philippines, despite its abundant natural resources and outstanding manpower in the workforce, still lack in most aspects. Being a Filipino myself, I have jotted down the major factors that we need in my point of view and opinion in order to develop a community in need of improvement through education, hygiene, & livelihood.
The things I’m going to discuss are based on my research and factual information from a community in Manila.
1. Education on Health
The government focuses on children’s education and most of the LGUs (Local Government Units) in Metro Manila have a yearly budget dedicated for education. The children are given free school supplies, tuition fees, and even allowances in some public schools. They’re taught of proper sanitation and hygiene in schools, yes, but the question is, are their parents also educated on health? In my opinion, health education must always start inside the household. Their parents must be the first ones to be educated in terms of hygiene and cleanliness. What are their parents teaching them? What do their parents need in order to apply proper sanitation and hygiene in their homes?
Most of families in the slums don’t wash their hands before they eat nor wash their hands before touching their sensitive body parts. One reason for this could be their belief that a little dirt is good for strengthening our immune systems. Little did they know that some parasites are ingested and could stay in their bodies until they weaken them and thus give them a short life span. Yes, people in the slums have shorter life span than those who live in a hygienic environment. Families in the slums are the most susceptible to fatal diseases due to lack of hygiene. If each health center in a slum area will have a reward system that encourages parents to have a clean and safe household for their children may help decrease sickness and deaths among the children. A livelihood could be an interesting reward for the parents.
2. Water and Sanitation
Most of families in the slums of Metro Manila allow their children to swim and defecate in the canals where they set their houses at. Despite having a tap water source, more than 55 people are still killed by contamination every day. Metro Manila still needs safe drinking water and sanitation because contamination is inevitable. Broken pipes exposed to dirty water of the drainage systems result to contamination. Despite the source of commercial water, illnesses are still rising especially during rainy seasons when floods rise above the water pipes in their homes.
All the human waste present in canals and sewage systems will contaminate food and water thus spreading viruses and parasites. Not all families are aware that there are available water filters such as LifeStraw, that will lessen waterborne diseases. These water filters are often neglected due to budget and their very own idea that living in the slums will not make them vulnerable anymore since they are used to dirty water and surroundings.
Everybody needs a little encouragement everyday and for parents to wake up everyday knowing that they can provide for their children is an ultimate fulfillment. There are NGOs (Non-government Organizations) that support these poor families through their livelihood programs. There are government branches that also support residents to have a decent source of income. So why are there Filipinos who still can’t provide for themselves decently financially despite the support of NGOs and the government? Discipline, cooperation, & decision to change are the factors that affect the growth of a family financially. The Mañana Habit is one of the attitude Filipinos learned from the Spaniards who colonized our country before. Mañana means tomorrow, which is used to indicate procrastination. This habit keeps being passed on to generations and if we don’t take action and make decision to change our lifestyle and way of living, will weigh us down instead of moving upward. Cooperation with NGOs and the government is another way to move forward financially. Whether how big or small the livelihood program is, if the people won’t cooperate, it will just be put to waste, again. We just need to encourage everybody to move forward financially and teach each other to fish, instead of giving out the fish.
To know more about the programs of Force 21 Equipment Pte Ltd for the communities in the Philippines, please contact Telvin Goh through firstname.lastname@example.org
Asst. Country Manager