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Philippines and pagpag peddlers

[Pri4 and up: English / Social Studies]

There's a trending demand for non-Science and non-Maths content, so here we go I guess. Welcome to the world stage.

When thinking about food, your normal idea of what food is, or should be, would default to something often made by your parents, or some generic image of a meal from a hawker centre, fast-food franchise or the like. It is important, however, to understand that it's not always available for people to eat.

Enter pagpag, the food prepared by peddlers who collect food waste in order to feed the poor, homeless and socially disadvantaged. The idea might seem like a travesty, and may seem disgusting, but it's important to understand that this is their lifestyle.

Their straits are indeed severe enough that they need to recycle leftover foods from the dumpsters to help the poor and the starving. Similar to the poor in Singapore, those in the Philippines also have to live off of these forms of social service programs.

With this in mind, here's an exercise for you: What do you think? How do you feel, knowing that there are people who have to live off of dumpster food? Is there a way to improve on them, to make their lifestyles better? Write down your solutions somewhere, save it - You never know when you'll need to answer a question like that in the future, be it in exam questions or in everyday conversation.

Allow me to propose one possible solution: Companies and facilities handling leftover foods, like hawker centres and supermarkets, should be allowed to send or deliver their expiring / leftover foods to social welfare campaigns, in exchange for a waiver on the taxes they need to pay. This gives the food-retailer companies an incentive to help out society actively, to help procure foods for those in the lower and working economic classes. In exchange, sending it to a social welfare campaign also means that greedy (or kiasu) families can't abuse the foods intended for charity and abuse the system to stop paying for food items at the supermarket, for example; the welfare program could allow only those who qualify as a low-income family to access said food reserves.

It's not that bad of an idea, if the companies can shift their focus from "earning as much money as possible" to "help out the society they're within". The real problem, however, is whether there are companies, if any at all, who would have the courage to make this sort of switch.

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