That was how poor people can get. Being referred to were lowlander laborers who were working in the mines hereabout during the mining boom in the 70s. As a Cordilleran related, he went down for the burial of a lowlander laborer with whom he shared time underground toiling to find gold for their mining company employer.
When they reached the deceased’s home town, the entourage stopped under an acacia tree beside the road. They unloaded the coffin with the corpse in it and they all rested under the shade for about 10 minutes. The group prayed and then they loaded the coffin back into the jeepney and proceeded to the cemetery to bury it.
At another time, the same Cordilleran went with co-workers to the lowlands for the burial of one of their buddies. The group proceeded directly to the cemetery when they reached the hometown of the deceased for the burial.
That was how things happened. The families of the deceased in both cases did not even have homes in their towns of origin where a decent wake could have been held for their families and relatives to finally come to terms with their loss and their grief. In short, they were that poor.
Both deceased even had jobs, though menial, before they breathed their last.
If the government just gave families money as beneficiaries of a balik probinsya program, they would have receive the money, spend it, and then go back to where they were— as squatters or as jobless waiting for dole outs.
Without the factors to get people to properly settle down, the balik probinsya program is doomed. Just a waste of taxpayers’ money.
The solution is for the government to invest money to make strategic progressive towns in the provinces into cities that will offer opportunities. The trouble is, the government’s resources are being given to the cities. In fact, the internal revenue allotments (IRA) of local governments is promoting the concentration of wealth in the urban areas. The richer LGUs are getting bigger slices of the IRA pie. The bigger contribution to the national revenue means bigger IRA.
One presidential aspirant once said that the poorer an LGU was, the bigger its share from the IRA should be. Revolutionary ideas like that are what we need. Too bad, that politician did not make it.**