Friday, November 09, 2007

"Girl, 11, loses hope, hangs self"

Mariannet Amper, sixth grade student of Maa Central Elementary School, second youngest in a brood of seven, daughter of Isabelo -- a carpenter -- and Magdalena -- a noodle factory worker -- both of whom earn P200 per week, hung herself with a nylon cord last November 7.

"Girl, 11, loses hope, hangs self" was splashed on the front page of the broadsheet which broke the story yesterday. It was a contradictory juxtaposition to the main headline which screamed boldly: "Senate probes cash gifts." Supporting that: "Inquiry to focus on source of money" and "Palace admits cash doles from Kampi."

As if to color the disparity further, a small banner produly proclaimed: "Forex reserves hit all-time high of $32.4B" while on the side: "11M Pinoys among 1B living on less than $1/day."
Hope comes in the form of a reality television program, "Wish Ko Lang!", a modern-day fairy godmother to the starving millions, including Mariannet Amper. Under the glare of lights and for the edification of many, "Wish Ko Lang" promises to grant you your fondest dreams.

In the case of Mariannet Amper: "I wish for new shoes, a bag and jobs for my mother and father. My dad does not have a job and my mom just gets laundry jobs." This, in an unsent letter to the fairy godmother.

But the modern-day fairy godmother works only once a week and grants wishes only two at a time. The other 11 million, unfortunately, must wait until next week. Or the next. Or the next. Which is better, then: to leave out one or two that you might have helped, or to dangle a thin hope to that one or two like a lottery on the condition of spectacle for all the rest?

In a corner of the broadsheet, the Archbishop of Lingayen accepts responsibility for Mariannet's Amper on behalf of all of us. "We are all to blame for her death," he is reported to have said.

Which brings to mind a story: A man entered a war-ravaged city. On the street he saw the body of a dead child. He took the body in his arms and wept copious tears over it, bewailing the cruelty of the world. He buried the body and went on his way.

Further along, he saw the bodies of a dozen more dead children. Distraught at the sight, he shed tears, and wrung his hands, and shook his head in grief, but he simply passed them by.

Finally, he came to a field, where there were scattered the bodies of hundreds and hundreds of dead children. At this, he simply turned up his nose and complained about the smell. "I wish," he said, "somebody would clean up this mess."


  1. To ease her guilt, Gloria has given the family P5,000 .....about $100.
    I always thought Capitalism would take care of things, but now, I'm not so sure.

  2. That seems to be the standard price for the bereaved here, at least according to Our Dear President. That's also the amount she offered to one of the victims of the Glorietta blast.

  3. Unless society will get its act together, poverty will not be addressed. In my opinion,

    The RC Church must cooperate in population management. Preventing the sperm from meeting the egg, whether natural or not, is not abortion. But messing it up after the union is already a crime.The rich in society to act like a big brother to the poor ones

    Employers to give and do more, when capable, i.e
    The rich barangay for a poor barangay
    In our own little way, we can share our time. resources, talents to educate, assist and help the less privilege get out of their situation.

    Citizens action, political will to rid our society of the corrupt and cheaters.

    More budget for education, health and other public services.

  4. 5000p per head? So Philippines has about 80million people. That means The entire Filipino population is worth grand total of $8 billion?

  5. Dominique,
    A personal question. I have been visiting your site for a while now. Don't you get scared that someone out there may get angry at you and take a swipe?
    I know that many things don't seem to work right here in Philippines. But to openly criticize them could result in personal injury or even death as seen on TV.
    I just want to applaud your courage to speak out on injustices.
    God only knows, I have to suppress my feelings or else I will go crazy.
    Once in a while, actually quite frequently, I see people driving around in Ferraries and Porches. I perfectly understand that people, when they reap rewards for their hard work, can spend the money at their pleasure. However, Ferraries cross the line of good human decency. Do these drivers actually lower their windows to hand out cookies or coins to starving street children or blind elderly? I wonder.
    For God's sake, go abroad and spurge. Not here. Not now. Be decent!
    But, if they had any decency in their heart, they woudn't have bought their ferraries and porches and mercedes roadsters...
    Keep up to good work!

  6. Hi, Anonymous: thank you for reading. In answer to your question:

    It is considered bad form to kick the child who said that the Emperor was not wearing any clothes.

  7. It's good to see how concerned some church officials are about Mariannet's suicide. Maybe, this can be opportunity for them to look into their stand on population control.