Work this week has been rather uneventful, I spent most of the time researching what a living wage is in the Philippines. It comes out to around 20 dollars a day for a family of 6. To me this is astonishingly low, especially when one considers this is more or less what we as interns have been given as our living stipend and we only have to provide for ourselves (minus housing). The even more shocking pat is minimum wage in the Philippines can be as low as 6 dollars a day and the highest in the country is only 9 dollars (minimum wage changes depending on where you live in the country). Not only is the minimum wage significantly below the living wage, but many are payed below the minimum wage and nowhere near a living wage.
This weekend Chris, some of the FNRI interns, and I went to an old fortified island called Corregidor. Corregidor sits at the mouth of the bay which Manila is in. The USA spent tens of millions of dollars fortifying the island and during World War two the Japanese and Americans fought over it. The visit was very interesting, and it was quite cool to see the old US fortifications and armaments.
Something which I found a bit interesting, yet quite ironic was that our guide neglected to mention why the US had fortified the island in the first place. During the tour, the guide mentioned that for them (as guides) it can be rather awkward at times having Japanese citizens in their tour, because they don’t know if they can really say what the Japanese did (during WW2 the Japanese committed many atrocities and war crimes against the civilians of the east Asian countries). The guide said often they simply would neglect to mention certain facts. In a somewhat similar way (though of course completely different) our guide never mentioned why the US had fortified the island, though It seems quite clear. The US did not fortify to defend against the Japanese, instead the US fortified the island many years earlier as a means of controlling the bay, thus controlling which ships could and could not reach Manila. The island in many ways is a clear sign of the US occupation of the Philippines, yet this never came up. Just something which I found interesting.