One of the risks of being an advocate/activist is that once your eyes are opened, it is so hard to unsee what you’ve seen, and all you want, henceforth, is to find solutions. In my case, one of the heartbreaking situations that I and my fellow advocates encountered was the plight of the families of victims of extrajudicial killings related to the brutal and deadly war on drugs. There are two main concerns that need added help. First, is the livelihood aspect, that is, the economic devastation suffered by the families because of the loss of one — sometimes two — breadwinners, and how to address it. Although many organizations and groups are doing their best, a lot more need to be done. Second, are the orphans/children traumatized by the killing of their parents and loved ones. We need more resources and more manpower to attend to their psycho-social needs.
When I first came across the concept of Unconditional/Universal Basic Income (UBI) and started studying it, I realized that the concept could be applied to assisting the EJK families as well. I did a preliminary consultation with some of the families, and they immediately appreciated the concept of an Unconditional Basic Income. Basically, I learned what I intuitively knew: that each family is unique, and that a certain amount of cash will go a long way in meeting their needs — some will spend it on basic needs like food/groceries, on emergencies, on the needs of the children (school allowance/supplies, etc.), further education or skills training of family members, and then livelihood. In short, a Basic Income will address most of the economic needs of the families, and thus help with their psycho-social/mental well-being as well.
In this regard, I would like to seek your help in making the piloting of Unconditional Basic Income among EJK families a reality. In order to focus, I need to free up my mind of my own financial worry. Every month, I am always scrambling to come up with a little less than 15,000 pesos for rent and electricity. If I could only meet this basic need for even just THREE MONTHS, I’m sure I will be able to eventually launch a UBI project in one parish, and then if successful, expand the project later to other communities. I’ve already talked to leaders and priests in at least two parishes, and they are willing to give the UBI experiment a try.
I am, therefore, asking for donations of 500 pesos (10 USD) or 1,000 pesos (20 USD), or whatever you can afford, to help me support myself myself for at least three months (45,000 pesos or 900 USD), while I come up with a more long-term sustainable situation. My main plan is to apply for Basic Income grants and seek donations so I can pay myself and other volunteers, and then fund the pilot. Meanwhile, one NGO ally has indicated that they are willing to help out in terms of grant-seeking and provide the organizational/legal structure while my fellow advocates and I try to found our own non-profit.
Moreover, I will also continue to do the following:
1)Studying/researching UBI, and sharing my findings and experiences in my blog. For the long term, I would like Basic Income to be piloted/implemented in municipalities, and eventually all throughout the country. Aside from reading books and perusing research studies, I will also interview economists, governance advocates, and other specialists on how to best implement UBI in the Philippines and how it can help solve our country’s long-standing problem of poverty and inequality.
2) Supporting Andrew Yang’s run for the U.S. presidency, whose flagship policy is the Freedom Dividend, a Universal Basic Income of 1,000 US dollars per month. If he gets elected in 2020 — and signs are pointing to a rising popularity and growing candidacy — UBI will be mainstreamed not just in the U.S., but the rest of the world as well, especially because of international support for his UBI and other policies, and what he represents: a new administration with a solutions-based and abundance mindset. But even now, Andrew Yang has helped tremendously in bringing basic income to the forefront of possible and effective solutions to a growing worldwide concern of inequality.
The personal growth coach Barbara Sher has said in her talks and her books that one of the keys to realizing our wishes and dreams is to reach out to others and ask their help. My family, friends, fellow advocates and global citizens, I am now asking for your help. That said, I am deeply grateful for your taking the time to read this. If you cannot help with monetary donations, forwarding this to a friend will be greatly appreciated as well.
If you want to donate, you can help me via the following platforms:
Account Name: Medardo M. Manrique Jr.
Account Number: 3076015537
G-Cash / Paymaya : 09215482622
Other: Or pls e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for other arrangements.
Again, thank you, and wishing that your own wishes come true and may you be showered with more blessings.
UPDATE: After initially sending this post out to friends and contacts, I have so far received 5,000 pesos in actual donations and pledges. Others have indicated that they will be donating soon. Thank you very much for your generosity! And thanks to all who shared this post!
If you enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter), be one of my patrons at Patreon, or please contact me at email@example.com — your way of providing me a basic income — so that I may continue my advocacies and continue to research & write more such articles.