For those readers that may not be familiar with the term, the “Nuclear Family” refers to the more traditional family unit consisting of a mother, a father and children. Unfortunately, modern life seems to have taken a very tragic toll on the more traditional family structure and the ability of the average family in the Philippines to provide for the growth and expansion ... and improvement of future generations. In days of yore, the father would work either in the fields or in a paying job for an employer, while the mother would work at home and perhaps help even in the fields and taking care of the children. While nobody is suggesting that these are the only acceptable roles for the members of the nuclear family, it should at the very least, remain an option. Unfortunately, in the world as it exists today, it is all too frequently necessary for both parents to work, thus leaving the children to grow up without the benefit of a more traditional and stable home.
For those Filipinos living in the larger cities, it is generally necessary for both the mother and the father to work. For the families that have been born and raised in the cities, there may be at least some level of family support system in place to allow for the children to be taken care of by families, but a great many of the people living in the larger cities are people from the provinces who have moved to the city solely to work and where possible, to assist their families back home. In those cases, the children must be raised by people other than the family. While it may be necessary, that does not make it right and certainly not any kind of goal to be attained. Rather, the children should be raised mostly by their own families, with the values of the family and their family tradition an integral part of their upbringing.
Again, and for the record, nobody is suggesting that the woman’s place is in the home or that the mother should not have every right and opportunity to seek a career path in the same way that the father should. What is being said, is that this should be a viable option for the family, be it the mother or the father who decides to stay at home, if indeed anybody decides to stay at home. Unfortunately, with the cost of living and the current level of wages, this is very rarely a choice for most Filipino families ... especially when the costs associated with raising children is included. In such cases, it is ultimately the children who will suffer the most, though any parent who has ever been away from their child for an extended period of time will fully understand the same sort of suffering.
This problem is even more pronounced the farther out into the provinces one travels and the farther away from the large population centers wherein one happens to live. In many of the provinces, the children are, by necessity, contributing members of the family unit. They may work in the fields, they may work selling banana-kyu or kamote-kyu or they may wander the streets begging or picking through trash and refuse trying to find anything that can be sold at the junk shops. These children are often denied the right to have a viable education for no other reason than that they are poor. Lacking any education, they will be unable to obtain gainful employment as they age, thus extending the cycle of poverty in to the next generation. So what is needed if all of this is to change?
Programs need to be established that provide for immediate relief in the form of housing, food, clothing and some form of education and training. Care needs to be taken however, to ensure that the people who do receive assistance, are earning it in one fashion or another. For those families with children, the education and care of the children may be sufficient. For those families without children, it may require vocational or technical training ... or even continued scholastic education in some cases. If people are not allowed or made to earn that which is given to them, history is full of indicators that point out that it is a very real possibility, the only real outcome will be the creation of a new and wholly dependent class of needy and greedy people.
If there is no requirement for people to earn these homes or this level of support, a rapid influx of the poor, indigent and other underclass citizens will quickly overwhelm these programs. Further concerns with such an influx would be the vastly increased numbers of low-skilled workers that would drive wages down for those few jobs that are currently available for these people. Furthermore, if the homes and other assistance programs they receive are not earned, they do not even have a perceived value. As such, homes would quickly be destroyed or at least largely defaced. Subsistence programs, as has been the case with other similar programs, would be more likely to be used to supplement a cash income rather than being used for their intended purpose of assisting the entire family. These monies often end up being spent on drugs, alcohol or even down in the cockpits for those who are prone to gamble. No matter what their particular vice may be in those cases where there is one, the end result of such programs would be more detrimental than beneficial for everyone involved.
By requiring the families who do receive assistance to earn it, they are provided with a certain level of support in order to assist them as they reintegrate and become productive and contributing members of society once again. They can take personal pride in the fact that, no matter how destitute they may have been, at the end of the day, they have worked and earned their way out of poverty. Rather than the creation of a dependency class, a new class of society has been formed that can sympathize (and be empathetic to) the remaining underclass population. It is hopeful at least, that such a population would be uniquely and ideally suited to assisting in the reintegration of the rest of those impoverished souls into a newly prosperous and just society that provided for both the economic and social freedom of all its people.