THE ANTIDOTE TO “INEQUALITY” IS SOCIAL COMPLEMENTATION
Before this pandemic, I watched in the evening news the protest rally of those who called (branded) themselves “maralitang taga-lungsod’ (urban poor). It was the rainy season then, and they were occupying the waterways. They are being relocated to safer places, but they stubbornly refused, claiming that they have lived there for a considerable number of years. They feel they are already entitled to the places where they built their homes and demanded the government provide them decent housing and livelihood. After several weeks, it was reported in the news about their takeover and occupied vacant properties and vacant houses in a subdivision in Bulacan. After some time, the government caved in and allowed them to occupy said places at the government’s expense.
I had written before my own thoughts about my personal travails and ordeals about life’s equalities. In the said article, I asked: “Why do those who do not deserve to have more in this life receive and enjoy much more than that they truly deserve, and those who deserve much more and much better in life have much less and are even in the worst condition?”
Handling people for over 40 years in my career gave me my own dose of cries and clamor for equality and fairness. Issues of equality pervade many areas of our personal and professional life. In our family, in our organizations, even in our circle of friends. In my career, I have been confronted with demands for higher wages, better benefits, promotions, and what have you, all in the name of equality and fairness.
Admittedly, many of us have issues involving equality, fairness, and discrimination. About not getting what we felt we deserve. Concerns about social justice that dominate our day-to-day living. It seems that the context by which many of us operate is the achievement of a total “material” equilibrium for all, i.e., no rich or poor (all have an equal amount of money, equal sizes of land, similar house, etcetera). Unless we live in a communist regime, it is an inconvenient reality that clearly tells us that the same would never happen, for we are not created equal in many aspects.
How do we now contextualize equality and fairness that many of us, especially the poor and the marginalized, are crying out? The truth is, it’s difficult unless we approach it from the realm of spirituality except for those who consider themselves agnostics. Thus, while we were gifted with the same image and likeness of our Creator, with opportunities and resources available at our disposal, the good Lord in all his wisdom formed us with individual uniqueness, with different appearances, traits, talents, and status not because He is unfair and out to create inequality amongst us but for us to complement each other, to fill what others do not have or their “kakulangan” so that we may also be filled by others in our deficiencies and what we lacked. St. Paul said it so aptly, “As members of the same church, we are co-heirs and co-partners.” We are all members of our own respective communities, family, society, organization, and together we form part of one global community of people; thus, it is imperative that we are able to contextualize the equality and fairness that we are all asking for.
I suppose equality and fairness should not be construed as inward aspirations on how we want things to be. On the contrary, the same must be understood and appreciated as an outward manifestation of our ambitions and desires on how we should treat one another in all aspects of our coexistence — recognizing (not ignoring), respecting (not taking advantage), and upholding (not violating) each other’s fundamental inherent civil and divine rights; thus ensuring the dignity and self-respect of all, regardless of one’s social, economic and political status. A process I call “social complementation.”
For comments and suggestions, you may submit your inquiries to Atty. Domingo Y. Reyes, Jr.’s email address at email@example.com.