Privilege in a developing country

Cultural differences have contributed to standards of independence. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, farmers, fisherman, children, self-employed, unpaid family workers, and women (belonging to poor families) have higher poverty incidence than the general population, estimated at 21.6 per cent in 2015.

Filipinos revolve around an idea of constant dependence. Parents send their children to school and pay for it all, including university, in the hopes that maybe someday the children will have good enough jobs to give back.

This is where the evidence of privilege comes in. In a country that is relatively poor, not everyone has parents who can pay for university, despite many wanting to. Three people from different incomes share their lifestyles and how they afford to keep up with it.

Felisa Duenas is a graduating university student who is completely dependent on her parents. Duenas is studying full-time, with an allowance that is enough to get her through her day so she doesn’t have to worry about her basic necessities. Both her parents are doctors who have their own clinic, and are well off.

Duenas does not have to worry about paying for her expenses for university, and only has to worry about not overspending her money for one meal. Her transportation expenses are covered by the driver her parents hired, and she uses an Uber when she does not have access to him. Duenas is a girl from an upper middle class family. They have the resources to travel to different countries for leisure, and can ensure Duenas’ financial security while she is studying.

Jordan Mariano comes from a lower middle class family. Although he still lives with his parents, he has only finished one year of university. Mariano has not been able to attend university because his family cannot afford to pay for it. Mariano works minimum wage which is roughly $250 CAD per month. His income is not enough to save for school and greatly affects his life.

He works to slowly save money, but also has to pay for his own everyday expenses. Mariano is an example of how the minimum wage in the Philippines is not enough to support one person. Families at a certain level of privilege do not expect students to work because it usually interferes with their university and leaves them stuck in a rut.

Aman Chamdal is an international student in Canada, who grew up in the Philippines. Her expenses here are fully being paid for by her father, who runs a lending and training corporation in the Philippines. Chamdal gets an allowance that is meant last for a year, while her living expenses are separately covered (also by her father). She comes from an upper class family who can send her to a foreign country for university.

She does not have to worry about where her income comes from because she is financially dependent on her parents. Despite the fact that international students are allowed to work part-time, Chamdal chooses to focus on her studies instead. She has the privilege to choose if she wants to work, because her parents are paying off her international student tuition.

Edited by Joseph Tjosvold

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