Why is the Philippines poor is in the minds of many Filipinos around the world. Im posting a column written by Nestor Mata verbatim that provides good answers to this intriging question. My hope is that the Philippines becomes a praying nation and every Filipinos to think biblically and have the integrity to live out what the bible teaches.
In these times of economic instability and other multitudinous national problems, not a few Filipinos are wondering why the Philippines is poor. But someone else says that we can still reverse the path of economic decline and moral decadence through prayer.
I got two messages sent through the Internet, one from a Dr. Arsenio Martin of Fort Arthur, Texas, USA, who posed the intriguing question "Why is the Philippines Poor?", and the other from Jesuit Father James Reuter who offered prayer as "our only hope" for national salvation.
Here are excerpts from Dr. Martin's message: "The difference between the poor countries and the rich ones is not the age of the country. This can be shown by countries like India and Egypt that are more than 2000 years old, but are still poor. On the other hand, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, only 150 years old, are rich and highly developed countries.
"The difference between poor and rich countries does not reside in the available natural resources. Japan has a limited territory, mountainous, inadequate for agriculture and cattle raising, but it is the world's second economic power. It is like a floating factory, importing raw materials from all over the world and exporting manufactured products.
"Another example is Switzerland. It does not plant cocoa, and yet is has the best chocolates in the world. In its little territory, the people raise animals and plant the soil only during four months of a year. Not enough, and yet they produce dairy products of the best quality. It is a small country that transmits an image of security and order, and the world's strongest and safest place in the world.
"Executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference among them. Race or skin color is also not important. Immigrants labeled lazy in their countries of origin are the most productive in rich European counties.
"What is the difference then? The difference is in the attitude of the people, framed along the years by education and culture and flawed tradition.
"On analyzing the behavior of the people in rich and developed countries, we find that the great majority following these principles in their lives: Ethics, Integrity, Responsibility, Respect for laws and rules, Respect of the rights of other citizens, Work loving, Strive for savings and investment, Will of action, Punctuality and Discipline.
"In poor countries, only a minority follow these basic principles in their daily life. The Philippines is not poor because we lack natural resources or because Nature has been cruel to us. In fact, we are rich in natural resources. But we are poor because we lack the correct attitudes. We lack the will to comply with and teach these functional principles of rich and developed societies.
"If you love your country, let this message circulate so that many Filipinos could reflect about this and change their attitudes and ACT!"
Here are excerpts from Father Reuter's message of what he calls "the only hope" for the Philippines: "The signs are clear. Our nation is headed towards an irreversible path of economic decline and moral decadence.
"It is not the lack of effort. We have seen many men and women of integrity in and out of government, NGOs, church groups and people's organizations devote themselves to the task of nation-building, oftentimes against insurmountable odds.
"But not even two People Revolutions have made a dent in reversing this trend. At best, we have moved one step forward, but three steps backward.
"We need a force far greater than our collective efforts, as a people, can ever hope to muster. It is time to move the battle to the spiritual realm.
"It is time to claim God's promise of healing the land for His people. It is time to gather God's people on its knees to pray for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation.
"Is prayer really the answer?
"Before you dismiss this as just another rambling of a religious fanatic, I'd like you to consider some lessons we can glean from history.
"England's ascendancy to world power was preceded by the Reformation, a spiritual revival fuelled by intense prayers.
"The early American settlers built the foundation that would make it the most powerful nation today - a strong faith in God and a disciplined prayer life. Throughout its history, and especially at its major turning points, waves of revival and prayer movement swept across the land.
"In recent times, we see Korea as a nation experiencing revival and in the process producing the largest Christian church in the world today.. No wonder it has emerged as a strong nation when other economies around are faltering.
"Even from a purely secular viewpoint, it makes a lot of sense. For here there is genuine humbling and seeking of God through prayer, moral reformation necessarily follows. And this, in turn, will lead to general prosperity.
"Yes, we believe prayer can make a difference.
"It is our only hope!"
(Malaya.com.ph, June 7, 2008)