In the Philippines, if you have less than 10 employees or contract employees that work for less than 6 months, the labor laws and benefits can be ignored.
Most malls hire their employees for 5 months. They pay less then minimum wage and no benefits. If an employee is good, they might be offered another 5 month contract.
There is also the “It’s ok” mentality where employees are happy to have a job and if the employer is not willing to pay the “13th month” bonus, which is the law, the employee feels “it’s ok, at least I have a job.”
There are also many tradesman that work day jobs for cash. These people are not in the “employed” counts since there is no record to the cash pay.
In most places in the States we live in nice conditions. If we do not have a high income, we still either live at home with parents, or have an apartment. If needed you get roommates, but you have a decent place to live.
If you have ever visited the poor areas of other countries, you see people living in conditions you would never understand. But for them, they are happy to have a roof over their heads, somewhere to soft to lay down to sleep and something to eat.
I have noticed over the years that the poorer the family, the more love and enjoyment of small things mean to them. They do not have much, but they are content and have so much love for each other.
Two weeks ago, when I was honored to be Ninong (Godfather ) for a friends baby Noah, it turned out another friend who lived across the way was having his baby girl Baptized too. Elena and I know them as I was Ninong for his wedding.
Because of this connection, Elena and I were being called from one home to the other to be the first one feed and first to be toasted. We had to be there with the Priest came to say a prayer.
Seeing their homes and how they live reminded me of the conditions people live here. Both these men are talented tradesmen. Jerry is a construction manager and does quality work in most construction areas. Ramil is a licensed electrician. He does complete electrical in residential and commercial construction.
In America these two men would be making a high income and would be living in nice homes.
Here they live in a small 2 room house plus a small CR with a shower and a toilet that has to be flushed with a bucket, no tank. There is minimal furniture and one of the homes does not have a stove or burner. They have a metal stand where they burn charcoal a put a pot on top. With Filipino engineering that have a small fan unit to blow over the coals to get them hotter.
Since Filipinos love music, they both have a TV and a DVD player so they can play karaoke disks so they can sing for enjoyment and entertainment.
When I first moved here, and I would see this type of conditions, I would feel so bad but over the time here, I see how hospitable and happy they are with their family. They would love to move up in economics and have a nicer home, but they find happiness with what they have since they know there are families with much less.
In future articles I will write about how people find ways to support themselves.