Reading the Forbes list of the richest men and women in the country is always a vicarious experience.
It transports us into a world that is, well, different from you and me.
Here are a few startling numbers:
They inhabit a universe that is far from everyone else’s reach, circumscribed by the views from their penthouses, gated homes, private planes, boardrooms, yachts and golf clubs.
They breathe rarefied air, enclosed in a bubble floating in a biosphere all their own, as if they’ve been sanitized, sprayed with disinfectant.
The rest of us are a distant blur, especially the very poor, those living below $1.25 a day, who comprise almost 30% of our population.
While more Filipino billionaires have joined the Forbes list, while the country’s economy has surged, our growth, in Asia, next to China’s, many continue to be left behind. The divide between the rich and the poor remains wide, stunning and scandalous.
To the Philippine “avatars for inequality,” we add our voice for change: do remember that you have a civic duty to help lift the poor down below.
Share your wealth, not just through charity, but through sustained efforts in improving access to jobs, food, education, health services, and information.
Run your foundations efficiently, guided by long-term strategic thinking, so that they thrive and benefit more – in micro-finance, food security, teacher training, scholarships, scientific research, professorial chairs, innovative technology to empower communities, local businesses, and schools.
Surely, it wouldn’t hurt much to give back to this country which, after all, helped nurture your prosperity. – Rappler.com