Few days ago, as debates raged on the question of the urban poor and how we should solve the issue, I wrote a Note on Facebook. Here it is, improved and extended a little bit.

Carmen Deunida leads a protest rally by urban poor group Kadamay. More popularly known as Nanay Mameng, she is the face of the militant urban poor. Her fiery speeches captivated crowds in the anti-Estrada, anti-Arroyo protest actions. (Pinoy Weekly)

When I was growing up, my family moved from one apartment to another because the parents could only earn so much. There was even one time when they moved to a new rented apartment while I was away and I was the last one to find out about our new address! Anyway, my point is that it is not easy to rent an apartment or a house. One has to have more than enough money to pay “advance and deposits” and, of course, the monthly rent. The frequent transfers only ended when Dad decided to bring us all back to Bulacan where he has his own small share of land from his own parents.

Which brings me to the problem of hundreds of thousands or even millions who don’t share the same opportunities many of us have. They are people too, many of them from far-flung areas who went to the city because of the utter lack of opportunities where they came from. They opted not to plant palay or kamote because, rightly or wrongly, they thought there would be better opportunities in the city. Many went on to become minimum-wage earners (check Google for the daily minimum wage). Some are seasonal workers.