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Philippines

is

Third

World

country;

some

call

it

an

underdeveloped country but actually it has development problems. As in other Third World countries, one major problem of the Philippines is poverty. This evidenced by the stark reality that people are not able to provide even their basic necessities like food, shelter, clothing, health and education. Poverty has a cluster of effects. If one is poor, he may easily suffer from diseases, malnutrition, famine, etc. One of the poorest provinces in the Philippines is Northern Samar. The economy appears to be growing and therefore can be said that it is developing. However, unemployment is still high; together with the high rate of school drop outs, out-of-school youth the uneducated percentage of the whole provincial

population is still high. In the provinces center of trade and commerce and capital town of Catarman many residents especially those in depressed poblacion barangays are either school drop outs or are not schooling at all. There are still plenty of

street children which the government does not take care of. These street children emerged because of poverty; and this is another cluster effect of poverty. There are also a lot of

beggars and mentally impaired people roaming in Catarman. This only shows that poverty is still evident here. A lot of gangs can be seen especially in Barangay Yakal and Barangay Kalachuci. These barangays are in the poblacion of Catarman. The gangs

bully around especially at night time. petty thefts. and The supply of

They are involved in in Catarman is

electricity thus

inefficient

insufficient

residents

experience

intermittent brownouts anytime and especially on weekends. There are a lot of signs and symptoms of poverty. It is a very huge problem of the problem, a problem that is very difficult to solve. A lot of help from government, and socially responsible people and organizations will be needed. We are talking about poverty here. So, have you ever heard of The Vicious Cycle of Poverty? What does it mean? The

vicious cycle of poverty are problems that tend to come up with another problem and that problem gives birth to another problem; its like a cycle - it just goes round and round and never stops. For instance, poverty, it leads to malnutrition and

malnutrition can lead to death. The vicious cycle of poverty is characterized in a

situation wherein: no sustained economic growth is possible because each specific advance is rapidly checked by some counter-tendency in the social system. The most important of such counter tendencies is excessive population growth. Any significant economic

progress tends to prolong life by reducing famine and pestilence. When death rates decrease more rapidly than birth rates, often, indeed, while birth rates are increasing then rapid

population growth occurs. In poor countries population growth tend to lead economic growth by setting rates of increase that must be attained so that the society can stay at its existing levels of poverty. No surpluses can be generated; hence no leap forward is possible.1 Population growth leads to economic problems like poverty and it goes on and on. It is like a domino effect. To discuss more about the vicious cycle of poverty here is a diagram. Low Productivity

Lack of technology

Not enough food

Low savings

Malnutrition

Low-income

Poor Education

Unequal wealth distribution

High Birth Rate

Underemployment and unemployment


1

Introduction to Development Communication, Ila Virginia Ongkiko and Alexander G. Flor page 14

We can all observe that the problems are all inter-related, from low productivity it gives birth to other problems and then it goes back to low productivity. So, it is very difficult to solve this situation because it is a cycle. Another cycle which sociologists refer to is the cycle of deprivation. poverty. The cycle of deprivation suggests that poverty is It is somehow related to the vicious cycle of

cumulative, in the sense that one aspect of poverty can lead to further poverty. This builds up into a vicious circle which the poor find hard to escape from, and it carries on with their children. The problem with this explanation is that, while it explains why poverty continues, it does not explain how poverty begins in the first place. What can we do about it? Two Michael tendency communication Molenda for and scientists Di from Paolo, Indiana observed systems University, a to certain come in
2

Anthony in

problems

communication

clusters and recur. They referred to the presence of this type of problems as a problematique situation. Since then, the word

An Introduction to Sociology 2 Edition, Ken Browne p. 81-82

nd

problemtaique has come to mean a complex cluster of problems that are so virulent in nature that they recur every so often. The vicious cycle of poverty is one example of a

problematique situation; it has a complex cluster of problems. Thus, it goes on and on. So, how do we solve this? Molenda simple way and of Di Paolo also developed an innovative tracing yet and

solving

the

problematique

by

differentiating between symptoms which thet called subordinate influential factors and root causes which they referred to as superordinate influential factors. They argued that in any

given system, problems are usually interrelated, one being the cause or effect of another. Decision makers usually fall into the trap of mistaking a symptom for the root cause. Hence, any attempt at remedying the symptom will only succeed temporarily since these are merely palliatives. Until the root cause is identified and eradicated, the cluster of problems will always recur. The important factors thing through is a to identify of the superordinate This

influential

series

interviews.

procedure is known as the problematique technique.3 Molenda and Di Paolo recommend that to end the vicious cycle of poverty. One must find the root cause and solve it through
3

that

method

the

problem

will

be

definitely

solved.

Introduction To Development Communication, Ila Virginia Ongkiko and Alexander G. Flor, p. 16

Unlike if you solve the problem through its symptoms it will only recur. So how do we do this? How do we find the root cause of a problem? It is simple. Let us now discuss the problematique map. How do we come up with a problematique map. First, identify a problem situation. For purposes of

example, let us pick up a personal, not a societal problem and assume that our biggest problem is we dont have enough money. Now we shall proceed in drafting the problematique map. For a better understanding I will demonstrate how to make a

problematique map. So, get a piece of paper and write down the problem at the bottom of the page. Enclose this problem in a box. The figure would look like this:

I dont have enough income

Next, ask Why? In other words ask yourself, Why dont I have enough cash? then list down the reasons that directly

cause this situation of not having enough money. Again, for the purposes of example, let us say that the following reasons

contribute to our cash flow problem:

1. Low income; and 2. High cost of living In your diagram, link these reasons to the problem

situation with a line and an arrowhead pointing towards the problem to establish causality. Our diagram would now look like this:

Not enough opportunities

Low Salary

Low returns on investments

High cost of living

I dont have enough income

Now, go over these reasons one by one and ask yourself, Why?

1. Why is my income low? 2. Why is the cost of living high?

Let us assume that you have two sources of income: your salary and your investments. Let us assume further that your salary is small and that the returns on your investment are also small. Moreover, your salary is pegged to the minimum because of the lack of advanced degree or you dont have proper education. Similarly, the low returns on investments and high cost of

living may be a function of unsound economic policies. In the previous diagram link these factors to the respective situations to establish causality.

Lack of advanced degree

Unsound economic policies

Not enough opportunities

Low Salary Low returns on investments

High cost of living I dont have enough income

We may continue this process by again asking Why? for each reason identified until this question can no longer be answered. boundaries The of problematique the system itself, study. however, In other shares words, the the

under

factors identified should not go beyond the system. Let us assume that such is a case in our example. The lack of an advanced degree could no longer be attributed to any other factor and the unsound economic policy goes beyond the system under study, i.e., our personal circumstances, So, the problematique map was shown, it is the basic tool for analysis of the problematique technique. The bold-bordered box is the condition under study or our personal circumstances. The boxes with arrows pointing towards them are the subordinate influential factors or the symptoms of the root causes. The boxes with no arrows pointing towards them are the superordinate influential factors or the root causes. The problematique situation may be described in the

following manner: The root causes of our poor cash flow are the lack of an advanced degree and the poor economic policy

environment. Symptoms or subordinate influential factors of this problem situation are: the high cost of living and low income, which in turn is caused by low salary. So, to solve our situation we must find a solution to our lack of advanced degree and unsound economic policies. The

tendency of recurrence is large if we try to solve the problem through its symptoms. For instance, low returns on investments, if we think of ways to increase our profit it may work but only temporarily because the root cause is still there. Hence, we must go to the root cause of the problem which is unsound

economic policies and solve it there. Its like if you want to increase your income you will look for a better job but you cant find one because you lack on an advanced degree. So, the better solution is to finish an advanced degree first before looking for a decent job that will satisfy your basic

necessities. This is a simple way of solving your problem but we cannot say that it can totally eradicate poverty. If a person tries to analyze his or her problems this will be a good way to do it and they can solve their problems. But I say this is not absolute. There may be some other factors that may affect your situation. In conclusion, Catarman needs development. So what is

development? Does it mean that our economic status should rise? Or many business establishments should emerge and the gross

domestic income should also rise?

During the early years of

people, yes, but now that Development Communication (DevCom) is here, the answer is No. When we say development it must be from man himself. The development must be seen on the people not with the economic statistics. If there are no bums on the streets, if

no one is poor, if everyone is happy and satisfied with their lives, then we can say that this place is already developed. For instance, in the United States of America, it is a First World country or a developed country. The people there are socially responsible unlike people here in the Philippines and Catarman. They dont care about our society. Thus, we are still

underdeveloped. Most of the people in America can afford to buy cars because of their sound economic policies. But here in our country corruption is rampant, making the poor even poorer.

Development wont be seen in our economy, or infrastructures and other factors. Development can be seen in man himself. If we want change in our country, we must change ourselves first since development is in man.

Development Journalism
(An Article about Poverty)

Mikhael O. Santos