Friday Randomness: Rants of a Middle Class Filipino
Published on September 05, 2014
This is not an anti-poor blog post. Because first, my heart goes out to the poor. I don’t mean to brag, but I think I am doing my part as a Filipino citizen to help them. And second, I know that the poor are victims too. This is not an anti-rich post either. I know that a lot of rich people have worked so hard to achieve whatever they are enjoying. But in this poor vs rich battle, where does the middle class fall?
1. Unfair Taxation
You have no idea how relieved I was when I heard news of legislators who have initiated tax reforms. May mga mambabatas pa rin talagang may utak at may puso. Because believe it or not, the system is so outdated. It’s the same system that kills the middle class. A lot of the poor don’t get to pay income taxes. What the heck?! A lot of rich people do it too. But the middle class, who mostly work in the corporate world, just do not have the choice. 30%+ of their salary is long gone even before they get a hold of their hard-earned money. If you belong to the middle class, then you have probably heard of statements like “Grabe! Sweldo na ng ilang public school teachers ang tax ko” every payday. And it’s not bragging. It’s actually stating a fact! E ang kaso, hindi naman napupunta sa mga public school teachers ang mga taxes namin! Minsan naisip ko, magpakulong na lang ako ng tax evasion e! Haha! :p
2. A public institution is just a second choice.
I am a product of both private and public schools. I am very proud of the skills I was able to acquire when I went to a government-funded university. I met a lot of brilliant professors. (There are the a-holes type of professors too, but I guess even private universities are not exempted from those kind either.) I met a lot of talented classmates who are equipped with brilliant and resourceful minds. It was a running joke during my time that the computer-to-student ratio in our university is 1:1. Hanep ‘di ba?! 1:1 as in 1 computer per 1 block! Haha! So can you imagine 30-40 Computer Engineering students sharing computers? OA lang pero hindi naman 1 computer. Mga 5 siguro pero block! I. AM. NOT. KIDDING. I remember bugging my parents to buy me a desktop because I needed one. Yes, I became resourceful which is definitely needed in the corporate world. But don’t you think we deserved something better? Our kids deserve something better.
I once talked to a Canadian client. Her son got into an accident, and they didn’t shell out a single centavo. The government paid for it. Well technically, they paid for it through their taxes! E dito, may tax ka na, sagot mo pa pagpapa-ospital mo. May sakit ka na, magkakasakit ka lalo sa gastos.
I am not belittling those who work in these public institutions, but let’s not be hypocrites. There is really something wrong with the system. I want to live in a country where the poor, the middle class and even the rich will have public institutions as their first choice. I want to send my kids to a public school because I am confident that the teachers are just as efficient and the facilities are just as good as those in the private schools. When I get sick, I want to go to a public hospital because I paid for it. I rightfully deserve the same care that the rich are getting from a private hospital. I want to run to a public institution because I trust it. It should be my first choice, not my second choice, and definitely not because it is my ONLY CHOICE. Ngayon kasi, pupunta lang tayo sa public school/hospital kasi no choice. Kasi wala ng pera. Hindi dapat ganun. Sa atin ‘yun. Tayo ang nagbayad nun. Karapatan natin na gamitin ‘yun. At karapatan natin na makuha ‘yung nararapat para sa mga gaya nating nagbabayad!
3. Getting your own house is such a hellish experience.
Everybody wants to have their own house. I am so fortunate that my parents were able to buy their own house so I grew up not worrying that someone will kick us out of the house if we fail to pay the rent, or if the owner decides to terminate the contract. I also want my future kids to have that same security. Luckily, my husband and I will be homeowners really soon. We wanted to live in the South where the houses are cheaper, but our careers are in Manila. So even if it’s more expensive, we decided to buy one in Manila. You have to believe me when I tell you that it’s not easy. First, we needed some drastic lifestyle changes so we could afford the down payment. And I don’t think we could go back to our old lifestyle because we will still be paying for the house for years, not to mention the fact that we need to buy a lot of things when we move in. Second, we had to deal with a lot of paper works and government BS! Ang bagal lumabas ng titulo! At bawat utot, may bayad. Bayad sa poste ng Meralco, bayad para sa tubig, bayad sa papeles. We even had to pay the bank as “processing fee” for our housing loan. Kulang na lang magbenta ako ng taba ko, makabayad lang e! And lastly, even if the house becomes legally ours, we still need to pay the realty tax! At grabe ang realty tax sa Manila ngayon!!! So picture this. Ikaw na ang nagpakagutom para makabili ng bahay, ikaw na ang nagpakahirap para sa mga papeles, ikaw pa ang sisingilin. I wouldn’t mind paying at all. Kaso lang kasi eto e. Ikumpara ninyo ‘yung mga squatters! Taenang ‘yan! Walang kahirap-hirap. Squat lang kung saan. Libre ang lupa. Walang bayad sa renta. Walang amilyar. At kapag pinalayas, aba! Babayaran mo pa at i-re-relocate. At sila pa ang galit dahil malayo daw sa trabaho nila ang relocation sites. Inaapi daw ang mga mahihirap. Wala daw silang pera, pero may flat screen TV sila. At may cable pa! Again, don’t get me wrong. I know that there are a lot of poor people who just don’t have a choice but to live that way. But I know that you will agree with me na ang daming tao na dinadahilan lang ang pagiging mahirap. ‘Yung mga spoiled na nga, choosy pa!
4. Ang waley na waley na public transportation system, bow!
I stayed in the US for three months. I travelled to and from the office by bus. I didn’t mind even if it’s a non-stop forty-minute ride. I even had the luxury to sleep without worrying that I’d get robbed. I even have officemates who live in another state, and commuting has never been their problem! USA is just one of the many countries where even the rich trust their public transportation system. E dito, waley na waley! MRT na tumitirik, mga kaskaserong bus drivers, taxi drivers na part-time holdaper, jeep na may libreng tetano. Those bratty rich kids are probably rolling their eyes saying, “Duh! Poor problems!” But I guess nobody has really given enough thought how difficult it is for the middle class, too. We have two options, to take the public transportation or have a car. Let’s not discuss the first one because we all know how horrible it is. Ang kawawang middle class, bibili ng kotse with the hopes na mas convenient. You buy a car using your own money. You pay for gas, parking fees, car maintenance and toll fees if applicable, still using your own money. You renew your registration every year, and that entails cost too! I have to admit that even if it’s pricier, it is more convenient for us compared to my 3 sakay ng jeep at 1 bus ride papuntang office. E kaso eto na. Eto talaga ang point ko e. CODING! Why will you deprive me to use the car I bought using my own money? It’s my right to use it. But because it is a system that aims to reduce the horrible traffic in Metro Manila, the middle class has no choice but to give in. Commute kapag coding. Or gising ng mas maaga para hindi mahuli! Nasaan ang hustisya samantalang ang dami daming kolorum sa daan?! Again, I would not be ranting if I am seeing that this scheme is really easing congestion. E kaso hindi!!! Ang level ng traffic na ‘yung binili mong itlog ay roasted chicken na by the time makarating ka sa pupuntahan mo ay hindi makatarungan! Those who can afford will just buy more cars which they can use when their other cars are not allowed to hit the road. So paano luluwag ang kalye?! Aba, at may humirit pa dati na gawing two days ang coding?! Don’t think that I am whining without any basis. I am willing to sacrifice, but why am I being prohibited to use my own property just because the government can’t solve this horrible traffic situation in Metro Manila. They keep on implementing “band-aid” solutions. Ang coding ay halimbawa ng band-aid solution. It’s not my car’s fault that Manila is congested. Had they thought of creating more opportunities in the provinces, then I don’t think people will flock to Manila just to seek for greener pastures. It’s not my car’s fault that the government is building roads that are not big enough for cars. It’s not my car’s fault that they can’t implement traffic rules. It’s not my car’s fault that there are a lot of undisciplined drivers. At lalong hindi kasalanan ng kotse ko kung bakit parang araw araw may regla ‘yang lintek na MRT na ‘yan! So please, I hope you let us use our cars whenever we want to.
I don’t mean to sound like someone who hates this country because it’s not true. Inis na inis ako sa mga nagsasabi na “Reklamo kayo ng reklamo, tumulong na lang kayo!” Ang sarap sagutin na “Gusto mo isampal ko sa’yo ‘yung ITR ko nang malaman mo ‘yang pinagsasasabi mo?! Gusto mo isa-isahin ko sa’yo lahat ng times na nag-donate at nag-repack ako ng relief goods para sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo? Gusto mong ipamukha ko sa’yo na pumipila ako, sumusunod ako sa batas at bumoboto ako?!” Nagrereklamo kami, dahil may karapatan kami. We are being robbed of the things that rightfully belong to us – our precious time and our hard-earned money. I have nothing against the government’s efforts for the poor. But the government must save the middle class too! Kung hindi, dadagdag lang kami sa statistics ng mga poor na poproblemahin ninyo! In this continuous battle between the rich and the poor, the middle class is being crushed little by little. For God’s sake, just do something that will benefit everybody, regardless of their status in life! Utang na loob naman! Listen to these rants. I am pretty sure that a lot of Pinoys share the same sentiments.
Are you also a middle class Pinoy? Do you feel the same way?
P.S. Sorry for the rants slash nobela. Kelangan ko lang ilabas kasi baka bumaho kapag kinimkim ko pa e. Bwahaha! :p