‘I simply stated a harsh reality’
The editorial in the Oct. 27 issue of the Inquirer commented that I “played the poor card” in a recent speech I delivered, seemingly suggesting that my intent was to create a divide between the rich and the poor in our country.
In truth, such a divide already exists and has existed for a long time. Calling attention to it does not make the gap any wider. But it could prompt the rich to acknowledge its existence and motivate the poor to strive harder to close the gap.
You pointed out, quite rightly, that some individuals who were poor—among them, the late president Diosdado Macapagal and, frankly, myself—managed “to rise to the highest position in the country.” But, unless you experienced poverty yourself, you would not fully appreciate the challenges and difficulties the poor must overcome to make it to the top. One reason is that, in our country, the rich control and have first crack at the resources and opportunities for advancement.
You pointed out, again quite rightly, that “Makati is … the city most successful in providing for its citizens, because it hosts the country’s central business district.” In other words, you concluded, the rich helped make this possible. But what you could have added is the fact that it also took a propoor policy of governance, conceived and implemented by someone who came from the poor, to make it possible.
In their desire to tarnish my reputation and that of my family, with the unfortunate acquiescence of some in the media, my detractors have conveniently ignored this fact. Would that these detractors could claim the same record of performance that our hard work has achieved.
In sum, it is not my intent to “play the poor card” or drive a wedge between rich and poor. It is simply my intent to state a harsh reality in our country that needs to be confronted because only by that means can the problem be solved.
—JEJOMAR C. BINAY
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