Ramadhan is giving and sharing.

By Atty. Bayan G. Balt

The ninth month of the Islamic calendar is Ramadan. This is a holy time when a billion Muslims around the world fast and focus their attention on giving to charity,

Why giving and sharing is necessity during Ramadhan.

In Marawi City and Lanao del Sur acclaimed as the poorest of the poor province or LGU in the country, Ramadhan is an opportune time to give and share. LGU Marawi and the province of Lanao del Sur suffers a succession of tragedies and calamities started by the Coco scams, then landslides in the second district of the province, the Marawi war and lately the pandemic. “Out there are thousands living in tents, displaced by human and natural tragedies”. BARMM region, where Lanao del Sur is located, is the poorest region with at least 59% of its 3,781,387-population living below the poverty threshold. The poverty rate in the province, which has a population of 1.05 million, drastically rose in the past decade. From just 44% in 2006, 74.3% of residents in Lanao del Sur lived below the poverty threshold in 2015, making it the poorest among all provinces in the Philippines, according to data from the Family Income and Expenditures Survey, or FIES (PSA)

Here is the list of the poorest of the poor LGUS:

  • Lanao del Sur – 68.9%
  • Apayao – 59.8%
  • Eastern Samar – 59.4%
  • Maguindanao – 57.8%
  • Zamboanga del Norte – 50.3%
  • Davao Oriental – 48%
  • Ifugao – 47.5%
  • Sarangani – 46.5%
  • Negros Oriental – 45.3%
  • Masbate – 44.2%

(Philippines poorest, Updated: Apr 1, 2021)

 What brought this unfortunate event to the Maranaos?

 Political dynasty, corruption and clashes between state forces and rebels are the main sources of poverty. While much has been talks (pros and cons) about political dynasty in the recent second COMELEC sponsored presidential debate, only presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao favors political dynasty. Recent study shows, political dynasties limit political competition, exacerbating corruption, poverty, and abuse of power. On the other hand, poverty invites corruption, while corruption deepens poverty, (Forbes). Corruption and bribery are not victimless crimes. They hit the poorest people hardest and undermines economic development. Corruption [is] among the greatest obstacles to economic and social development, (The World Bank Report) and corruption flourishes where the criminal justice system and governance are weak, where decision-making is unaccountable and access to decision-makers is dependent on restricted social networks, where pay is low and where management controls are weak, (World Bank, Anti-corruption; Corruption, Poverty and Inequality; Corruption, Growth and Investment).

Violent conflict contributes to poverty in a number of ways, including causing: damage to infrastructure, institutions and production; the destruction of assets; the breakup of communities and social networks; forced displacement and increased unemployment and inflation. The Philippines has a fairly high poverty rate with more than 16% of the population living below the poverty line, (Combating poverty in the Philippines).

What Allah (swt.) says about charity.

Charitable giving keeps calamity away and ensures our needs will always be met: “Those who spend in charity will be richly rewarded” (Quran 57:10). Indeed, wealth does not decrease by giving in charity, but rather, grows and is purified, increasing also the individual’s barakah (blessings and spiritual strength) as says in the Hadith of the prophet (pbuh).

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For comment at: bayanbalt@alimacjournalist

Atty. Bayan G. Balt is the former Chapter President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, 2013-2015) Chairman of the Ranao Federal State Movement (RFSM) and President of the Alliance of Regional Coalitions Against People’s Poverty (ARCAPP).

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