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Opinion

Hunger stalks the land

CHASING THE WIND - Felipe B. Miranda -
Two months after the May 2004 national elections, the most dramatic Philippine statistic might be the number of Filipinos who now worry about having enough to eat. Between January and June 2004, the proportion of Filipinos stalked by hunger increased from 35 percent to 43 percent . Applying these figures to the national population of 84 milion, there could be as many as 36 million people now feeliug hunger pangs daily, almost 7 million more than in January 2004. (These findings are gleaned from Pulse Asia’s quarterly Ulat ng Bayan surveys for 2004. )

Hunger is an apocalyptic curse and famished Filipinos are a most-visible indictment of the political and social system the country has suffered across the decades. Hunger lurks in the eyes of far too many street children desperately foraging the streets of their "strong" republic. It reveals itself in the emaciated bodies of millions of subsistence farmers, fishermen and factory workers. Among streetwalkers, hunger leaves its mark in the form of grotesquely protruding cheekbones, shriveled breasts, bony hips and incredibly extruded extremities; it is hunger that transforms these nocturnal creatures into veritable Giacometti sculptures offering their last shred of sexuality for twenty to twenty-five depreciated pesos.

More than the body’s hunger, however, is the craving for substance that millions more within the nation feel when they regard their national leadership. Bombarded daily by weapons of mass deception, most Filipinos hunger for a trustworthy administration and a credible program of governance. They struggle valiantly to locate reality in their leaders’ ever rosy portrayal of the state of the nation and continue to lodge their hope in authorities that often expose themselves as merciless charlatans. They persist in regarding every new administration as a virginal venture – a truly serious commitment to serve the nation – and award every ten-point program of governance an undeserved honeymoon.

The nation hungers much for spirituality too. The public considers its leading religious authorities and looks forward to being served a banquet that might nourish and fortify the nation’s much-weakened faith and morals. The lean fare subsequently served does not assuage the people’s hunger; blatant politicking and misplaced sexuality spoil much of the spiritual repast normally tendered by their religious superiors. Most people continue to crave for something truly good, something that will fill them with what is undoubtedly good and help nurture them towards being one with their God.

Filipinos hunger much and it is not for food alone. On the 14th of July – a day marking the anniversary of the world’s most dramatic revolution – Filipinos have yet to learn that to be properly nourished, they must learn to feed themselves. It is an illusion to think that others will do this for them.

vuukle comment

BAYAN

BETWEEN JANUARY AND JUNE

FILIPINOS

GIACOMETTI

HUNGER

MUCH

NATION

NATIONAL

PEOPLE

PULSE ASIA

ULAT

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