"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Children of Poverty in the Philippines

A very moving painting of the last supper titled Hapag ng Pag-asa (Table of Hope) with dirty street children of poverty portrayed in a different light by Joey Velasco. A symbolical portrayal instead of the long robed apostles we see haunting images of street children tempered with scavenging in garbage dumps amidst the squalor of their surrounding. These are children of poverty exposed to the harsh and difficult dehumanizing subsistence has managed somehow to show their good nature and innocence.
In their forage for scraps and anything recyclable in the muck of mountain loads of society’s refuse and desperation to survive will pick up anything of “value” such as pagpag (term used in salvaging dead carcasses of dogs, cats or any spoiled meat by wiping off the dirt) for boiling and frying to feed the hungry body.

Each subject has a sad story and sad experience like Ana used by her mom in their begging activities until she was “rescued” for a “better” life….. living and cleaning cemetery tombs as caretaker of the dead. As Joey poignantly narrated in Sa Kambas ng Lipunan (Inside Society's Canvas) you tube video the dead giving her the means to live but what about us who seems to be oblivious of the prevalence of poverty of our people and children.

Life indeed is unfair but what makes it worse is when out of poverty in order to survive the urban jungle Onse the son of a stripper has to deal with humiliation and embarrassing taunting of other kids losing self respect and self worth at a tender age. Emotionally scarred his life gets tougher when he goes hungry most of the times has to deal with an abusive father that pimps her mother every now and then.

These are the stark realities of poverty unfortunately just a numbing statistics to our political leaders’ hell bent on perpetuating themselves in power squandering meager resources at the cost of economic development. Their selfish greed and lust for power where the rules of fairness and honesty do not apply as long as they win in a fraudulent electoral contest.

They are the “lucky” ones who happen to have the opportunity of getting the attention from the painting but what about those that we just see out on the street. The beggars, scavengers, child prostitutes victimized by pedophiles foreign and locals alike pimped at times by their parents, addicts, homeless and worse children in conflict with the law dumped like animals in prison by ignorant authorities. Unlike those who get noticed which are very few what about the rest? Are they just numbers in the numbing impersonal statistics so life goes on in our own compartmentalized reality? Besides if we look at the statistics of world poverty in the UN Millennium Project (commissioned by the UN Secretary General and supported by the UN Development Group) ours seems to be just a drop in the bucket so it gives some sectors to go ahead and “feel good” for themselves that our situation is not as bad compared to the HIPC Nation.

It is sad that while our law enforcers would rather incarcerate these children in conflict with the law (as if throwing them in jail out of sight out of mind will work) the problem gets worse when we see the misplaced priority of an administration that has no problem giving clemency to a convicted pedophile (raping an 11 year old girl) child rapist. Jalosjos a former tongressman is the same person who is reportedly behind the criminal (I suppose some of the adherents hopefully are not pedophiles convicted rapist as well) political party list that run unsuccessfully (thank gawd) in the last May 14, 2007 election.
While Gawad Kalinga has been tirelessly working to alleviate the plight of poverty stricken people and Fr. Shay Cullen with his tireless efforts at Preda (People's Recovery, Empowerment and Development Assistance Foundation, Inc.) and others that support his cause like Greystones Parish in raising funds to rescue children in prison and running after pedophiles it seems our government's priorities are jailing those "pesky street vagrants" and free those that abuse and rape children. Now where is justice.................... or was that "compassion" to an old convicted criminal rapist who happens to support administration candidates over those children in prison that does not belong in jail?

Photo credits:

Hapag ng Pag-asa, Oil on Canvas 48 x 96 in by Joey Velasco.

Children in Prison, Father Shay Cullen of Preda
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Announcement to see more of Joey Velasco’s painting go see his one man art exhibition entitled "KALAKBAY: A Journey of Faith in Art". It will run from 26 June to 7 July, 2007 at the Beato Angelico lobby and gallery, College of Fine Arts and Design, University of Santo Tomas.
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Related article:

  • Undocumented Children Migrants Casualties of Migration & Poverty

  • Illegal Filipino Migrant Street Children in Sabah, Malaysia

  • Pagpag, A disgusting Glimpse on Poverty

  • Children Casualties of Poverty in the Philippines







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