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Choices and dreams

12:50 AM April 21, 2015

DANILO S. Venida’s article, “PH can soar” (Opinion, 4/9/15) sheds light on two economic models that provide opposing prescriptions. One is poverty alleviation that espouses livelihood projects, punctuated by the conditional cash transfer. The other is wealth creation that promotes industrialization.

Take education and employment: One man has a vision of finishing at least high school or some years in college; another wants to become a salaried breadwinner so he could feed his family of four or five, by serving a company either as a messenger or factory worker.

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That is the idea of poverty alleviation. It begins with the aggressive ambition of uplifting the plight of the poor, but ends up in political patronage; its supposed beneficiaries wallowing in the quagmire of rising debt, then forced to join the diaspora in search of better opportunities abroad.

The wise man knows that development is not only a way of providing food on the table, decent clothing and homes to keep people safe from heat and cold. He knows it is also a means of enabling people to sustain their needs and create wealth critical to nation-building, through the use of resources—natural or man-made—available to them.

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The wise man does not expect the student to graduate overnight nor does he overlook the fact that sustainable jobs depend on homegrown, process-oriented enterprises and investments; that a worker’s salary in a subsistence livelihood means another day of unstable work; that hunger, malnutrition, disaster and other poverty-related social dilemmas are the raw materials that oligarchs use to perpetuate themselves in power and corruption.

And that laborers, for the most part, go to work as pupils go to school, because they are afraid not to. They are afraid even to say they are afraid, for such candor could invite their dismissal.

—RAMON P. ORTICIO, [email protected]

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