The Slum – Episode 2, Risky Bussiness

Eliza Cana – The Philippines

I watched the documentary The Slum episode 2, Risky Business, aired by Al Jazeera, a state-funded broadcaster owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network which is funded by the House of Thani. The Slum was filmed by Paul Roy as a six-part series about people living in the slums in Tondo, Manila. It was filmed in 2014. Episode 2, Risky Business, is a 50-minute documentary that followed three residents of Tondo and their means of making money for survival.

The documentary shed a light on the rising poverty in the Philippines, especially in Tondo, Manila. In episode 2, three residents in the slums shared their stories of how they provide food and shelter for themselves and their family in their day-to-day lives. Their jobs are not secure and do not provide them with much, but the citizens of Tondo have hopeful, positive attitudes. Prosperity for these people is a different meaning than to most. Their motivation to work is to see their children succeed, and keep their family fed. These residents rely heavily on their faith in God for survival. They believe God will take care of their family and they support their children in school so they can grow up to have a different life.

One resident who was interviewed was a man named Ricky. His job was to scavenge through piles of garbage to find things like silver, gold and copper to sell. Most of the time he only found copper, and on average, he would only make 275 pesos in two days, that is equivalent to $6.50. He had a wife and six children to feed.

A second resident was a man named Freddy, who ran his own tire business on the side of a highway. He struggled because there were many competing tire companies surrounding his own. His advantage, he said, was his strength to lift a lot of heavy objects. He was supporting a family consisting of eight children and his wife.

The last was Chito, a man who made a living off of selling clams and crabs he fished from the polluted river surrounding the slums. He had five children and his wife to provide for.

The filmmakers for this documentary did a good job revealing the hardships people living in the slums dealt with. The residents openly shared their stories and revealed what it was like to work hard for survival. I was not surprised by how much poverty there was and still is in the Philippines. I was surprised, however, by the amount of children these families were having. Given their position in poverty, I do not understand why they have chosen to have so many children. The three families the documentary followed all had five or more children. Although the residents were surviving off of scraps and very little money, the documentary showed that these people do not give up, and care about their family. Based off this one episode, it was very informing. They interviewed not only the working men but also the wives and their children. The documentary showed the slums, each of their houses, the school and their jobs.

 

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