Skip to main content

Felipe Natanio, "Mang Pandoy", 63

Felipe Natanio, better known to Pinoys as Mang Pandoy, was for a few months (I think) in the presidency of Fidel Ramos, the living icon of urban poverty in the Philippines. He passed away last Sunday due to the quintessential disease of the poor, tuberculosis. He is survived by his eight children.

He was earning just 50 PhP a day before he was catapulted into the limelight. After his poverty became a cause celebre, he was offered capital to start a business, had his own TV show in the government network, and became a consultant to Congress. It seemed that he would be lifted out of poverty. Alas that was not to be.

When Ramos was succedeed by Joseph Estrada, Mang Pandoy was forgotten despite Estrada's "para sa mahirap" mantra. It was this time that Pandoy wasn't able to sustain his business, lost his Congress job, sold his house and zoomed back to poverty.

Pandoy's tale is the icon of how Philippine society deals with poverty and is a damning indictment and damnation of all of us, the elite and its perverted noblesse oblige, the politics addicted Philippine Catholic Church, the education sector, show business, big business, in short all of us,including Mang Pandoy's co-poor. Many better off Pinoys feel good when alms are given to the poor and believe they have earned brownie points up there. But that is simply what is wrong. The giving of alms degrades human dignity.

What Mang Pandoy received in his moment of fame is one big dole that failed to lift him out of poverty. The poor don't need doles. Gloria Arroyo in her Catholic piety has fallen into the trap of giving out doles. Of course it is good politics, But Arroyo fails to read the writing on the wall. The poor are not fooled!

Perhaps Pandoy's daughter said it best. "My father should have been given a way out of poverty that was within his capabilities. He never got an education" These are potent words. The only way out of poverty is education not only because it empowers,but because it builds and preserves human dignity.

Education has become an expensive and low quality commodity.This state of affairs will send more people into poverty.

The Catholic Church is damned too. If Mang Pandoy had been empowered by education to determine the size of his family, would his poverty be lessened? The Church cannot find the answers save for threats of damnation and hysterics while it claims it has the truth.

Well for Mang Pandoy, the journey is done. May you rest in peace and like Lazarus who was once poor, show us the way to the Father's house. Amen.


Gabby said…
hi! why is it the catholic church's fault that he wasn't given an education? why was it the catholic church's fault he had too many kids (which i'd like to question too: do we say you have too many kids when u have many kids and simultaneously poor?)? Birth control isn't illegal right? back in his youth (30 plus years ago), could he have bought condoms? (30 years ago... i'm not sure, this to me is an interesting question...)

Let me be restate my question for clarity. It is not obvious to me why the catholic church is to blame for any of this (general case, not just mang pandoy). None of the contraceptives are illegal. People know how much money they make (or don't make). They choose how much sex they engage in. They know how much it costs to raise a kid. Moreover, if the argument is that they have sex without thinking about the repurcussions, (which is against church teachings to be a good person), why do we expect them to be reigned in by church teachings on contraception?

thanks! great blog!
blackshama said…
Did any of the Catholic schools or charities give him a chance for free education? This is beyond the contraception issue. Education empowers and allows a person to make choices.This is simply the issue here.

If he did get to school in De La Salle, (which in 1912 was originally intended for very poor boys or Ateneo de Manila, which 150 years ago was really for the less prvileged), then my indictment of the Church would be lessened.

BTW I indict all of us in equal measure. Fidel Ramos hand washing here is simply distasteful.

Popular posts from this blog

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

Kartilla of the Katipunan

In celebration of Andres Bonifacio Day on Nov 30, I am blogging my English translation of the Katipunan's Code of Ethics or Kartilla (Kartilya). Recruits to the revolutionary association had to learn these by heart. The code was first written by Emilio Jacinto. The Kartilya remains as relevant today as in 1896 .

My apologies for errors in translation. I know there are better translations than this one.

1) A life not spent for a holy and noble cause is like a tree without shade or a noxious weed.

2) Acts that stem from pride and selfishness do not come from a desire to help others..

3) True holiness comes from helping others, charity towards others and the measure of such is in each reasonable act or word.

4) Dark or white your skin may be, all men are equal though one may be greater in knowledge, material wealth, beauty these do not add to one’s humanity.

5) Those who are men of goodwill put honour before concern for self and those who do no good puts the self before honour.

6) For an ho…