This message has already passed our feeds one too many times: “A middle class man is one sickness away from poverty.”
This brief message shakes us into reality, as it terribly captures a majority of the Filipinos’ lives. Living a hand-to-mouth existence sets aside the thought of saving for the future; expenses are always kept to a bare minimum, and even this quality of being “masinop” does not guarantee us enough to last a lifetime. With COVID-19 once again setting higher tallies on a daily basis, it is nearly impossible to keep one’s worries at bay, particularly when money is the remedy.
Money, however, is both the remedy and the perpetrator. Filipinos continue to lay strict scrutiny over the purse, particularly allocations of the budget to different agencies.
Earlier last year, hospitals grappled with inadequate hospital beds; we failed to secure additional vaccines; and our lack of support for our local PPE manufacturers cost us thousands of jobs, on top of 11,000 more after the issue on the renewal of ABS-CBN. The new year is not any better: people are on the lookout for the Omicron variant, individuals are actually failing to comply with health protocols, and the holidays have brought forth another surge of infections.
That being the case, what is the middle class man’s creed? To simply stay alive, to keep one’s self afloat, to work day and night for food without energy left to worry over sickness and health. A middle class man has no other choice but to worry over the present, setting aside thoughts of the future because they simply cannot afford it, literally.
A middle class man keeps himself afloat, all the while holding up those around him. A middle class breadwinner understands other’s needs as much as they understand theirs; philosophers are right in saying that the rich have different needs than the poor and that the former rarely understand where the latter may be coming from. This can be seen through community pantries, and the will of various agencies and local government units to lend a helping hand.
A middle class man dutifully follows through their sworn oath: to practice their democratic freedom the right way, wisely. In the up and coming 2022 elections, a middle class man is a law-abiding citizen who seeks to fulfill his duty for the country. Voting, and exercising the power to do so, is a right empowered upon us by the law.
Perhaps it is high time for us to choose our leaders wisely, for they hone the lifestyle that we have for the years to come. No amount of money, bribing, or sugar-coated words must cloud our judgment in these critical times, but we must will our neighbors to see reason, and will ourselves to picture what is to come. We may not afford to save for the future, but we can afford to vote for its development. — Samantha G. Gutierrez – Intern