They are, more often than not, run by Christian groups. As one of two women running a community project to provide the children of Alabang with education and food, Ferrer wants to help the local youth—but she also has her own agenda.She’s a volunteer for Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI), one of three secular organizations trying to gain a foothold in Filipino society.
The Philippines' new president came to power on a promise to rid the country of criminals and drug addicts.Their lesson that day was about the water cycle—an appropriate subject, I thought, given how many of the slum’s narrow alleyways were still partly flooded from the previous night’s rains.Educational aid projects like this one are common enough in the Philippines, where more than 26 million people live in poverty.Among filthy puddles of rainwater in a slum in Alabang, a district just south of the Philippines’ capital city of Manila, a young woman named Jahziel Tayco Ferrer was teaching a science lesson.A group of children sat around her on a cracked basketball court, taking shelter from the fierce midday sun in a gazebo that had been erected as a makeshift classroom.The Philippines, a ountry of more than 90 million people where poverty and joblessness is widespread, feels extremely blessed that it has overtaken India in the call center or contact center industry in the world.That means most call center jobs are now in the Philippines, which has an advantage because of its hardworking young men and women who speak English flawlessly. She notes: If you dialled a toll-free customer service number from any English-speaking country in the West a few years ago, you could safely wager a small fortune that your call would be routed to a call center thousands of miles away in India.At least 7,000 suspected drug users and pushers have been killed in the Philippines since July.Some include people who voluntarily surrendered to the authorities.Philippine officials, understandably so, have trumpeted their country’s success in the call center industry and are predicting that more jobs will be generated.(That most of these jobs, while paying more than the minimum wage, are not very secure and that, all in all, the rise of call center jobs masks a sad reality — tens of thousands of Filipinos are not suited for any of these high-tech jobs because they were not trained or educated for it — is something that I shall discuss in future posts.) While any new jobs created is always good, I really hope that the government will not turn a blind eye to the dark side of the call center industry.