According to the assessment conducted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in 2019, Cebu City had 11,805 poor households, the highest number among local government units in Central Visayas.

Assuming that each household would consist of an average of two parents and three children, although I have the feeling the number would be higher, that would equal to 59,205 individuals, or almost six percent of the city’s total population of roughly one million.

I’m not really sure about my calculations, but you know what I mean.

Now it doesn’t seem much, but I guess the agency was referring to the “poorest of the poor.” Those who eke out an existence. Those who truly deserve government assistance.

But how does the Philippine government define poverty?

Republic Act 8425, or the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act, states that the poor “refers to individuals and families whose income fall below the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority and/or cannot afford in a sustained manner to provide their minimum basic needs of food, health, education, housing and other essential amenities of life.”

So what does that all mean?

I guess it refers to people who go to bed hungry, who don’t go to school, who don’t have a roof over their heads and who don’t have proper clothing and hygiene, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

If that doesn’t give you a clear picture of the situation, then think of all those people who hang out in skywalks, especially the two near Fuente Osmeña.

Before, you’d see three or four people begging but with Christmas fast approaching, some brought along their small children. I even saw one young mother nursing her infant on the skywalk near the Department of Health 7 headquarters along Osmeña Blvd.

And what about the teens who roam the streets at night?

I thought Mayor Michael Rama’s Oplan Disiplina would address the problem, but it looks like the City Government has abandoned the directive in pursuit of Rama’s “Singapore-like vision” for the city.

It seems like everything the City does nowadays has to connect with the mayor’s vision.

Oh I know his intentions are noble, albeit quixotic, but the City cannot sweep this new development under the rug and pretend it never happened.

So I want to know what the Rama administration plans to do about the problem before he goes to another “investment begging” trip.

Let’s face it, I don’t think the 11,805 poor households would give a hoot if the City became a bland simulacrum of the “fifth-richest city” in the world.

They don’t even know when their next meal will be.