Growing Older.

 “Please go to counter 10 for verification. Please ask counter 4 for the schedule. Counter 1 please…” Imagine you have to do this for more than 5 times, I tell you, it is patience-draining.

Forums about the current situation of the pre-need company, College Assurance Plan (CAP), are everywhere. This shows how many Filipinos was hoping to secure good education and retirement (for some) years ago and my dad was one of them.

Since college, though I lived with my aunt and cousin in Manila, I was doing and learning most of the things on my own (well, this is how my dad raised us). Since my dad worked in a Real-Estate company (before he moved to work independently) and mostly project-based, he hoped to secure my college education through CAP’s College Educational Plan which went down during the time that I was in college. It was so disappointing having that piece of paper on hand but couldn’t do anything to pay my school bills because the pre-need company don’t have funds plus the fact that they would never give back the promised ROI to its plan holders. It was a gamble and my parents need to start over.

I normally have no drive to try and visit the CAP office because I’ve experienced the rude and very slow process for reimbursement but when I was playing around with my phone and thought of calling them, for the first time someone answered their hotline and told me that I have check to collect. But that didn’t entice me that much because the last time I got a check, it was 599 pesos which was almost just what I spent for transportation and time to pick it up. As I go through the old papers, I’ve seen that my parents started thinking about securing my future at the age of 5 and I’ve realized how much money they invested on it especially now that I am working.

I went to their office to check the status of my reimbursement and as expected, there was a long line of people hoping to get money from their investment from different parts of the Philippines. It was so sad to see people, mostly old parents, from different regions/provinces endure 5 to 8 hours of bus ride to go back home with nothing. I tried to observe just to let the time pass by. I had long conversation with people, listened to their complains and watched them smile as they start a new friendship to the people they spent almost a day with waiting for the office to give them answers to their questions. But even if it turned to be an easy and happy experience, I still don’t want my parents to experience the long waiting and not-so-nice process. As I looked at the huge room packed of people waiting, I realized that the window serving the educational plan holders was busier than the window serving the pension plan holders. I was fixing my dad papers for his pension and was done in less than 30 minutes while the educational plan reimbursement inquiry was finished after 3 hours (including not having lunch). I’ve seen angry and disappointed faces in the packed window and grasped that Filipinos are not that educated or don’t put much priority on thinking about “retirement.” Filipino parents normally give everything to their children’s education which is very adulating but may or may not be the reason why some parents force their children to support them on their retirement as return. I am a daughter and I care about my parents so much but I’ve seen a lot of Filipino parents putting all the responsibilities to their children after graduation that force them to just think about earning and not do what they want in a long run. I’ve seen parents blame their child of not having a good life after spending so much for the child’s education. I’ve seen corrupted children that seems to stay in where they are for 5 years just because they needed to stay “just earning” monthly just because they are not thinking of the “long-term” and they chose to be blamed.

Every society has a good and bad side and I think this is a part that the Filipino society needs to improve: the education on retirement. I also think that Filipino youth should think more of their long-term plans and the cause and effect of their every action. This is what I like with the Japanese society, they always leave you with the question “How do you see yourself 5 or 10 years from now?” (But I hope there’s back up when the insurance company closed down. Haha.)

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