Then there is the inveterate predilection of even "the poor" to the illegal numbers game, JUETENG, which contemporary Senate investigations showed "consumes" about 200 MILLION PESOS daily, and among the middle and upper classes to a comparable amount going to the legalized Pagcor games of LOTTO and other games of chance in the casinos. What Filipinos spend on GAMBLING alone could probably wipe out most the moderate hunger incidence reported by SWS and interpreted as due to "poverty." But what is the cause and what is the effect?
Prostitution (male, female and juvenile sex for sale) is also a major "money earner" on which billions are spent by Filipinos in their incessant pursuit of momentary pleasure. All these vices, which the President called "luxuries" and got herself knocked on the head by the mass media and punditocracy, are probably the true source of the HUNGER statistics. Every quarter from here to eternity I suppose, we shall now have all sorts of moralistic and hypocritical people wringing their hands and displaying their bleeding hearts about how it's all the President's fault! A lot of the blame surely goes to the government but the editorialists and some of the bloggers are equally disdainful, especially in such places as the blog of Ellen Tordesillas whose Comment Thread seems to be be populated by anti-government scream therapists given to the creation of colorful, but hardly enlightening insults and epithets.
Billions of pesos are spent by Filipinos on these vicious "luxuries". No wonder the hunger statistics seem to be going through the roof. What I can't believe is how easily it has all been turned to anti-government propaganda. Surely, some of those "heads of households" have some responsibility and culpability when their families go hungry for lack of food!
Of course, since Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is really no different from her paleoliberal critics in philosophy and ideology, her response to the surveys and the ensuing propaganda deluge is that equally silly one billion pesos to fight hunger. That is the equivalent of five days of jueteng.
To me it's really a question of VALUES among Filipinos generally. Not the need for some new giant government program.
Maybe SWS should do a survey on how much "hungry" Filipinos spend on these "luxuries"!
(1) According to Euromonitor International San Miguel Corporation's GINEBRA SAN MIGUEL is the world's leading brand of gin, and a Wikipedia entry adds:
Ginebra San Miguel's flagship brand, Ginebra San Miguel, is currently the largest-selling gin brand in the world, with 22 bottles consumed every second in the Philippines.Last month I was trekking Mount Pulag and noticed a poster in a small sari-sari store which shouted that "P20 na lang ang isang bote!". Now this gin, called "gin bulag" is definitely a poor man's drink, but 20 pesos times 22 bottles per second times 60 seconds per minute times 60 minutes per hour time 24 hours per day times 365 days per year divided by 4 quarters per year is 346,768,000 pesos spent on gin bulag every three months. That's about 3.5 million MacDonald Quarter Pounder Hamburger meals per SWS survey quarter just in gin consumption. No wonder the hunger stats are up! And I haven't looked up San Mig beer sales yet.