Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    July 1st was the 150th Canada Day celebration. It was a very special day for all of us to be a part of this event. I remember 21 years ago how I didn’t have any idea of how my children and I will survive in a new country which will be home to [...]

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Page added on July 29, 2017

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Teardrops of the poor

By: Tigs Tidalgo

It was a beautiful day. The scenery was typical rural Philippines. We had a meeting with barrio folks to implement a livelihood project financed by the Philippine Rural Economic Social Assistance Foundation, a charitable association based in Calgary. With presupposed knowledge of the meeting, about 200 people came. The unexpected attendance compelled us to use the chapel instead of the prearranged barangay hall.

The atmosphere was festive. All seats were taken. There were people standing outside. They were toying with the idea that this meeting would help their needs. Gazing at people around, I noticed that they were the poorest of the poor. They were mostly barefooted and some were wearing worn out clothes. They exemplified peasant stratum in rural society.

There was absolute silence when I went to the podium. I shared my thoughts. In that instance I could have my best moment in public speaking. I failed. My emotion shrouded my speech. I looked down and sensed their expectation. They listened every word I said with fervent hope that I was there to ease out their suffering. It was the most difficult speech I ever delivered.

My mind wondered why food shortage on rural folks happened. Their place was green and verdant where seeds thrown into the soil grew freely. The reason why people hardly had three square meals a day eluded explanation. It was ironic and even illogical. They were hard working people and therefore indolence was not the cause. Their living was from mother earth hence blame could be in the system through the governance of agriculture.

I was born and raised in the barrio. My whole world was with rural environment. I thought then that all people on the planet lived the same as me. There was no benchmark for comparison. I spent my boyhood years happily and contented being unaware of what went on outside my little sphere of comfort.

But time did change. The barrio is no longer the same. The city is rapidly encroaching into the farmland. The once serene little hamlet is now an adjoining part of a polluted city. This is not an isolated case. It’s about the same throughout. Industrial factories are causing tremendous ruin to surroundings. Infestation of horrific flies and other carriers of disease rampantly pester the inhabitants. It’s no longer a good place to stay let alone to raise a family.

There is little they can do but hope that sobriety somehow would eventually come to the minds of those that govern. However, taking glimpses from past performances prevent them to be highly optimistic. People in the barrio are less privileged. They suffer gravely through neglect from people that are sworn in by duty to serve.

Back in the barrio chapel, a decision had to be made on the list of possible recipients. Balance with the available budget of the foundation, only seventy five families would be considered. Local recommendation was not accommodated fully. It was indeed a difficult dilemma. Families were ranked according to basic needs. I felt terribly sad on those that were excluded. They too had barely anything to live on. I craved for better economy.

My heart sank as I watched people that were not chosen. They sadly went out the chapel and walked home disappointed. I talked to some and extended by regrets. They politely accepted. But it did not lighten up my feelings. I felt helpless as they gained distance away. In the privacy of my thoughts I knew, that they shed in disappointment the painful teardrops of the poor.