In a recent report, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported that the percentage of Filipinos living below the poverty line has remained almost unchanged in the past six years. Meaning despite the “matuwid na daan” programs and the robust economy of the country, President Benigno Aquino, III, most Filipinos are still in utter poverty.
It is ironic that on one side of the country exists a totally different social strata that is wading in an ocean of money. To prove this, mega-buck car brand Rolls Royce opened its Manila branch with funny man Willy Revillame as its supposed first customer.
The presence of billionaires and millionaires in the Philippines is only a testament to the fact that while the majority is poor, there is still chance for them to get rich. Yet, a genuine “get rich” formula is still elusive. As all the best economic minds (like Georgetown-educated Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) seemed to fail in solving the poverty crisis in the country, it is time to hear “out of this world” suggestions on how to get rich. Who knows these may just do it.
Here are some suggestions:
1.) Relax Taxation. The Philippine government should do something about the business sector’s biggest torn: taxes. If it is not going to totally close down the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), it should reduce taxes with the condition that whatever big businesses will be able to save, it should use the same to increase the salaries of its employees. This will shortcut the delivery of benefits to the people by avoiding inefficient management, partisan politics, and “un-remedied” problem of corruption.
2.) Relax the Labor Code provision on minimum wage. Through the years, our manufacturing sector cannot compete with cheap labor cost of other countries like China and Vietnam. The burden of monetary and non-monetary benefits required by the Labor Code from employers and investors are actually crippling our manufacturing sector and its export potential. The government should allow the private sector to establish “Free Trade Zones” where labor code provisions on minimum wage is relaxed thereby giving market forces a free hand. This way, Filipino laborers can bargain with capitalists and factory owners just like a simple “pakyaw” transaction. This is giving both parties more options.
3.) Scrap government requirement for overseas workers. The government should allow overseas workers to work abroad without too much regulations and requirements. For example, if a Filipino is willing to work in Iraq for example, the government should not meddle. What it should do is just to bolster the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Overseas Worker Welfare Administration (OWWA)’s capability to rescue or assist stranded workers.
4.) Glamorize Domestic Helpers. If only the government will change the mindset that working as domestic helpers abroad is demeaning, then millions of jobless Filipino women can work abroad as professional domestic helpers without the stigma of shame.
5.) No Work No Vote Policy – To up employment in the countryside and urban area, a work/employment record must be made a requisite in exercising the right of suffrage (right to vote). In this manner, politicians will make sure that their constituents and supporters will have work in order for them to vote.
6.) Gambling Only to Foreigners. The government should follow Macau’s gambling policy: gambling is strictly for foreigners. This will not only bolster employment opportunities (imagine the demand for dealers, waiters, waitresses, GROs, massage therapists, entertainers, security guards, drivers, hotel workers once casinos around the Philippines will be opened). Since the government has thoroughly marketed the country as a tourism destination to beat its neighbors, why go further by making gambling tourism a priority.
7.) Affordable hourly lotto raffles. To give hope to the common man, lotto draws should be made frequent – in an hourly basis if possible. Furthermore, to make it affordable, the government should make bets as cheap as 50 centavos (which can make a bettor win the top price).
8.) Encourage technical education. State universities should re-asses their priority. It should focus on high-demand professions and skills. On the other hand it should discourage 8-year courses like medicine and law, it should train the youth in short term courses like call center operations, culinary arts and hotel management, home management (for domestic helpers), care giving courses and other technical skills with high demand abroad.
9.) Make the elections an annual event. Since rich politicians seriously spend to buy votes during the elections (sometimes in thousand of pesos per voter), the government should make the national elections an annual event. It should also remove the cap on election spending. This will bolster re-distribution of wealth.
10.) Spend on a nationwide fashion designing, singing and boxing development programs. With the recent success of Filipinos in the fields of fashion design (Michael Cinco), singing (Charice) and boxing (Manny Pacquiao) in the international market, the government should launch a nationwide talent search for the next fashion designer, singing sensation and pound for pound boxer. Another Manny Pacquiao who brings in the bacon will also bring in money to his constituents either as “balato” or bonafide assistance to kababayans.
11.) Require all TV variety programs do a Willie Revillame. In order to improve the chances of the common man to become a millionaire, the government should mandate that all TV variety shows should have a “Pera or Bayong” portion where simple folks can join and win the grand prize daily.
12.) Encourage and support inter-marriages. The government should play matchmaker and help Filipinas (and Filipinos) to find their ideal mates abroad. The government should help set up internet connections in far flung areas where there are lots of dreamy eyed Filipinos who are looking for sweethearts abroad. This does not only bring in the foreign currency but also improves our race. The government should not worry as the last say would be on the brides (and grooms).
13.) Allow Tambays (homies) to moonlight as traffic enforcers. By following this suggestion, the government not only alleviates traffic (that delays production) but also gives jobs to street urchins that litter Metro Manila streets. What more for those who want more challenging (and high paying jobs), they should be allowed to moonlight as “trainees” at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Customs (BOC), or Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
14.) Ask Japan, China, and other Asian neighbors to dump their garbage here. Don’t get me wrong. Our government trained our scavengers well. Through the years of encouraging garbage segregation and recycling, Filipino scavengers are the best in the world – even coining the word “May Pera sa Basura” (There is money in waste).
15.) Encourage the people to eat Grass! Green and leafy vegetable, I mean. To save on food expenses, Filipinos should change their diet. From expensive staple of pandesal and coffee in the morning to simple tea (like the chinese). Instead of meat and fish for lunch and dinner, they should be encouraged to eat salad made up of usual backyard vegetables like alogbati, talong and sitaw, etc.
16.) Bicycle everybody. The government should put more bicycle lanes at all thoroughfares. Like domestic helpers, bikers should be glamorized. This suggestion does not only solve the traffic problem, save gas but also save the environment.
17.) Recycle hotel and restaurant food. Every day, hotels and restaurants in Metro Manila throws away good food for the fear of food poisoning. These tons of nutritious and delicious food are left to rot. What if these were recycled and distributed to soup kitchens? That is one less meal expense for the masa (masses) who cannot afford 5-star hotel food.
18.) Allow Chinese poachers and fishermen who fish in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – Since the Philippine Navy seems helpless in preventing illegal entry and poaching by Chinese, Taiwanese and Vietnamese fishermen within our EEZ, why don’t we just charge them a “fishing fee” or better yet a “entrance fee.” So that this will not really be hard to swallow for the government, it should remit whatever they earn from the poachers to the local fishermen so that the latter need not risk their life and limb catching fish in their pathetic tiny fishing boats.
19.) Send our Police and Soldiers on UN abroad. It is rumored that members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine military would go to lengths to be included in the United Nation (UN) Peacekeeping Force regardless of the theater of war they are sent to and the danger that awaits them (like being kidnapped by Syrian rebels). It is because these assignments are paid in green bucks!
20.) Negotiate (strong arm) like the MILF. Just by looking tough, parading a bunch of fully armed men and using the plight of Muslim brothers as their only leverage, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which was a spent force during the time of President Erap Estrada was able to demand a chunky “wealth share” from the supposed Bangsa Moro provinces of Mindanao. Gee whizz. If only the Ilonggos, the Warays or Ilocanos have wise guys like Alhaj Murad and Eid Kabalu to bargain for them.
Heck there are others of suggestions in how to get rich! All you have to do is to have an open mind.