Nov 08

12-Year Old Girl Commits Suicide Due to Poverty

Amidst the controversial 500K bonus given to Filipino congressmen and local officials, a 12-year old girl from Davao City, Philippines decides to give up her dreams of finishing school as her unemployed father did not have the means to provide her PhP100 needed for her school project. News like these make you want to scream at the top of your lungs especially when it comes after reports on political squabbling and corruption in the Philippine government. How can the Arroyo government claim that we are moving forward when poverty, unemployment and illiteracy is rampant all over the country. I have long ago turned a deaf ear to Philippine politics because I find their bickering and audacity at corruption exasperating. Lately, everything seems to be getting louder that not even my deaf ears can ignore what is happening.

Still, I refuse to discuss politics. We can speculate and discuss the source of the funds given to the officials or the details of the ZTE deal for months and never get anywhere. Somewhere along the way, we will get sidetracked with bombings or pardons awarded to opposition leaders until we get tired and forget. So, let me just tell you about Mariannet Amper, or Manette as she is fondly called by those she left behind.

Manette is a a sixth grader at the Maa Elementary School. She keeps a school diary where she pours out her soul and secrets. An entry recounts how she feels like she hasn’t been to school for a month already and Christmas is just around the corner. She loves going to school. Unfortunately, on days when they do not have money for transportation or food, they have no choice but to skip school and stay at home. Some days, she does not go to school to help her mother do laundry jobs.

Along with her diary, Manette’s family also discovered a letter she wrote for GMA 7’s television program, “Wish Ko Lang.” She only asked for simple things — new shoes and a bag for school, a job for her dad, a new bike, and to be able to finish school. Things too simple that most of us in a better situation just take for granted.

On November 1, 2007, Manette asked her father for PhP100 for a school project. Her father, not having a job at that time, could not give it to her. In the afternoon of November 2, 2007, Manette was found hanging on a thin nylon rope. Ironically, her father was able to get a PhP1,000 cash advance that morning for construction work on a chapel. But by the time he got home, Manette was already gone.

I still refuse to talk about politics. I prefer the truth.

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