Mang Pandoy is dead.
For those not aware who Mang Pandoy is, he was the "mascot" of Pres. Fidel Ramos when the latter decided to give a prominent face to represent the impoverished Filipinos of that time.
In fairness to Mang Pandoy, he properly played the role until his death.
He lived poor. He still died poor. And probably, this will also be the same fate the rest of us are destined to have.
Mang Pandoy did experience a breather during Ramos' term when he was given a consultant position in the House of Representatives. His children were given scholarships, they were given a small piggery, and it even came to a point when he was given a co-hosting stint in a television show.
But when Ramos' term ended, so did all the giving. And Mang Pandoy, for his part, faded into the background and reverted back to his isang-kahig-isang-tuka ways.
Is there a lesson to be learned in all this?
I can't blame the former president, or any president for that matter, for not following through with the charity provided. After all, government can only do so much to help the poor.
Mechanisms have been built to provide the impoverished many with means to help them in helping themselves. However, a lot of these people deem it much easier to just wait for alms from government. Thus, they mishandle livelihood projects, loan more money from their respective cooperatives than they can repay, and misuse logistics meant as rolling funds for sustainable and/or capability-building programs.
At the end of the day, they go back to Square One: still as dirt-poor as ever.
And then, we'll be seeing these people on TV whining to the president to help them with their day-to-day problems. "Presidente Gloria, tulungan naman po ninyo kaming mga mahihirap." Geez...
The president, through her different government agencies, did try to help. It was just that either many of them were too busy squandering whatever money they had for drinking sprees, or making babies.
My assessment of Mang Pandoy's fate was that he simply had no idea what to do with the newly-found opportunities that came his way. Perhaps the lack of education became a factor to his "downfall," but that could have been remedied when his children continued with their studies and eventually graduated.
Notwithstanding, it is evident that a blatant mishandling of opportunities led to Mang Pandoy's return to poverty.
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