Imagined poverty, shameless treachery | Inquirer Opinion

Imagined poverty, shameless treachery

The country’s official expert on poverty has spoken. Those who claim that life is getting more difficult in our country are engaged in speculation. Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation Larry Gadon said so in an interview last week.

By way of evidence, the Marcos administration’s poverty expert offered his personal observation that our malls are crowded with people, that the provincial branches of Jollibee and McDonald’s are teeming with patrons, and that our roads are clogged in traffic because of new cars.

We have the one official who has the President’s ear on poverty issues, saying that poverty in our country is merely imagined. With confidence and pride, he cites the fact that the rich are getting richer, and because of that, he concludes that life must be getting rosier for the whole country. And where does Gadon get his evidence that the population is getting richer? He goes to places where the rich congregate to enjoy their wealth—malls, fast-food restaurants, and our traffic-jammed roads. On the basis of the display of wealth that he sees, he concludes that life is getting so much better throughout the entire nation under the Marcos administration that he serves.

Gadon looks in places where the poor do not go to. He fulfills the mandate of his job by observing places where the poor are invisible. Because of the absence of the poor in these places, Gadon virtually declares that those who complain that times are hard nowadays are peddling fake news.


If you genuinely want to find out the state of poverty in our country, you must go to where the poor congregate. You should go to the palengkes and carinderias to check on prices. You must interview residents in the mega slum areas to find out how they are coping with high prices. You should join the massive throngs of people who ride jeepneys, buses, and mass trains.

If Gadon’s knowledge of, and methodology in measuring up, poverty are not displays of lack of competence on and unfamiliarity with poverty, I don’t know what are. All these do not even include the disbarment and multiple disciplinary sanctions imposed on him by the Supreme Court, which reflect the kind of character that he brings to public office.

And then there’s Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa who cried openly before television cameras after Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri was booted out as the upper chamber’s top leader. Dela Rosa even went to where Zubiri’s wife was seated and hugged her in public, obviously to show that he consoles and commiserates.

A day after Dela Rosa’s emotional display of support for Zubiri, however, everyone was shocked to discover that Dela Rosa had, in fact, voted to oust Zubiri. This left Zubiri dumbfounded, as he expressed feelings of hurt and betrayal. Zubiri said that what Dela Rosa did was just very surreal, which made him feel like he’s in the twilight zone. Zubiri was aghast because Dela Rosa even had the nerve to hug his wife.


Turncoatism, treachery, and betrayal have become very common among our politicians. Such practice is in full display when senators, congresspersons, and local government leaders abandon the outgoing president’s political party and pledge allegiance to the new president or promise blind alliance to the latter’s political party. But the gall of Dela Rosa is something else. It really takes the cake.

The appointment and continuing retention of someone like Gadon represents the utter fakery of the Marcos administration in finding genuine solutions to poverty. Poverty is a mere issue that’s used to increase the political spoils, employed to create an added cushy position, and utilized to pay off political debts. On the other hand, the election and forecasted reelection of Dela Rosa in the 2025 elections represent our voters’ lamentable lack of appreciation for the kind of genuine leadership that our country desperately needs to get out of the deep rot we are in.


With the kind of leaders and voters that we have, it’s really a long dark night ahead of us.


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