Overworked, underpaid, unacknowledged: The Filipino poor on the roaring buses of Edsa | Inquirer Opinion

Overworked, underpaid, unacknowledged: The Filipino poor on the roaring buses of Edsa

/ 05:00 AM October 15, 2021

Before the pandemic, my normal everyday route going to my workplace was riding a jeep from my residence and taking an ordinary bus ride on Edsa. Chasing after and riding ordinary buses along Edsa is very hazardous. One needs to have strong and athletic legs because buses would often stop just for a few seconds and swiftly drive away to catch another batch of passengers at the next corner. This is very unfortunate for some people especially the elderly, women, or children who were often pushed aside trying to get on the bus.

An ordinary bus ride gives you a glimpse of the situation of Filipino workers who are overworked and underpaid. Their purchasing power allows them fares only for jeeps and ordinary buses. Every morning the bus is packed with factory workers, construction workers, vendors, struggling professionals, public school students, and poor people like me. I smell their struggles in the aroma of the crispy fried “galunggong” packed lunch of a sales lady, or the perspiration of a “taho” vendor who amazingly is still able to squeeze himself into the crowded bus with his silver containers.


Ordinary bus riders like me look forward to a good government that does not blame the poor for their suffering. A government that recognizes that poverty is a result of systemic injustice. A government with leaders who consider public office as a public trust and not as a position to protect their ever-ballooning wealth, family businesses, and political interests.

I look forward to a government that will honestly and sincerely address the grinding poverty afflicting many of our people. A government that aggressively works to eradicate bureaucratic corruption, which denies ordinary people access to job opportunities, affordable health care, proper education, adequate housing, and other social services, and a fair justice system. I look forward to a government that works hard to end the systemic and widening gap between the rich and poor. I look forward to a government that truly addresses the root causes of the raging armed conflict in the countryside through comprehensive peace talks. I look forward to a government that would look deeply into the health system and redeem the country from the mismanagement of the pandemic by the current leadership.


Come election time, I hope the next president, vice president, senators, and elected officials will prove themselves to be Filipinos who will truly shepherd us toward a better Philippines and not toward their narrow, partisan, and selfish political interests and those of their masters.

Already, I am praying and looking forward to a system change, and to calling the current government to account.

Tomorrow, I will be taking the same route again. I will be seeing the same fellow passengers—bent-over workers, vendors, struggling professionals, public school students, and poor ones like me. I wish to ask them what they think about the never-ending political noise and what kind of government they are looking forward to, before asking them who they will vote for.

Norma P. Dollaga, Kasimbayan, [email protected]

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TAGS: bus ride, economy, EDSA, Filipino workers, Good Government, Laborers, Poor, Poverty
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