by Ralph Dan Gillo
I came from a place where money is all that matters. Yes, my place is synonymous to the word “everywhere”, but if ever there’s a contest on being the poorest place in the universe, I’m sure we’ll top it without even lifting a finger. Just survey the vicinity 5 kilometers away, 5 kilometers away I say, and I’m sure you’ll think the same way I do.
Never mind the name of our place, it wouldn’t ring a bell anyway. And don’t bother to google my identity, because it is a vague one. I’ve had a lot of names – poor, scavenger, vagrant, you name it! And I’ve had enough of those. I don’t even know which among those is my real name. But who cares? I’m nonexistent. Oh, my birth certificate? I haven’t got one, either. Its expensive, I guess. And I dont want to trade my meal –our meal– for the day just to have some stupid documents.
Hey, that’s my mom! That tan and chubby woman with a short (and messy) hair, that’s my mom. She’s carrying some plastic bags, the content of which –I’m sure– are smelly clothes and stuff. She’s gonna do the laundry. That means another day’s meal and other tiny needs are secured. In case you still haven’t get it, that’s our only source of income. Should I tell you that she gets to be paid a hundred bucks in exchange for those hours she spend doing the laundry? That was suppose to be hours of “mother-and-child” bonding.
How about my dad? He’s dead. Some crazy drug-sniffing jackass killed him with no particular reason. Tragic, I know. Oh please, stop being sorry for me. Cut that crap, dude. You wanna help? Send me to college. Or help me become an audience or a studio player of that noontime show, and I swear, I’m gonna dance hard and humiliate myself in public just to earn a lot of bucks!
Seriously dude, I’m feeling sorry for my mom. She works hard, and all she’s got is a hundred bucks a day. I mean, how could we possibly budget that? Its not like food is the only thing we need. You want us to shiver and die because we’re naked? You want us to live in total darkness at night because we have no electricity? You want us to stink and smell because we dont have water? Well, if you provide us a house with free electricity and water and medicine, then maybe Php100 a day would be enough– enough for us to make it through a day.
Just yesterday, I saw something on the TV which says that an average Filipino family could survive a day with only Php36 or something. I dont know if I got it right, but one thing’s for sure: whoever made it is a moron. I mean, hey, earth to moron, what guts have you to day it on TV? Did you even bother to do some research or surveys? Or even visit our place? Or did you even bother to think? I guess you didn’t.
Consider us. Consider even my situation. A hundred pesos a day would still leave us with growling stomach, so how about that Php36 thing? You know, this was not made for you to pity my family or those families out there who were worse than what we’re experiencing. This was made for you, for all those people, to realize that people like us exist, that a hundred bucks a day wouldn’t do considering the situation the whole world is experiencing right now. Now, I hope that message came to your mind after you read this.