Sunday, November 11, 2007


"The desperation that Marianet felt is widedspread, and we all know that the same hopelessness is experienced by others," said Akbayan Youth Chairperson Marie Chris Cabreros as she and members of Akbayan Youth expressed their grief and indignation over the death of 12-year-old Mariana Amper who hanged herself after no longer able to live with the poverty that she and her younger brother had been subjected to since birth.

"We vow to fight for a better future for our generation and the generations to come. We simply cannot allow the status quo to continue," Cabreros claimed
today on the steps of Quezon Hall at the University of the Philippines' campus in Diliman. "Marianet's story reminds us not to allow ourselves to succumb to apathy," Cabreros added.


posted by Señor Enrique at 12:38 PM


Anonymous rhodora said...

This news has been hugging the headlines and going around in threads these past days, but somehow, I cannot react. Or maybe that I'm too shocked to react.

Marianet couldn't bear to live anymore with her family's poverty. Poverty, rejection, hopelessness.

I read in some thread that her case can also be attributed to some biological factor - chemical imbalance, and so on. Could be so. And such imbalance could have been heightened too by malnourishment. And again, the root - is poverty.

November 11, 2007 1:31 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

A very sad story...

November 11, 2007 3:04 PM  

Anonymous noemi said...

Every individual adapts differently to stressors. Others are more resilient than others. If poverty alone was the cause, millions would have died by suicide. Depression that is permanent is a biological illness , chemical imbalance according to psychiatrists. Suicide happens even among the wealthy and the economically advantaged. I have first hand knowledge of suicide cases hence I know.

Aside from being aware of the poverty issues, we can educate ourselves on suicide intervention and prevention. We need to educate our community that suicide is a preventable public health problem in the Philippines. Suicide should no longer be considered a taboo topic, and that through raising awareness and educating the public, we can SAVE lives.

I've contacted Sen Cayetano to followup on the Student Suicide Prevention Act of 2005 (Senate Bill No. 1946) .

Suicide prevention is everybody's business.

November 11, 2007 3:44 PM  

Anonymous leo said...

Blaming poverty primarily is equivalent to blaming the monsoon rain for the chronic flooding problem in Metro Manila. That pitiful girl's parents cannot even support/feed themselves, they should have only one kid or non at all in the first place. We really should put an end to our runaway population growth rate by having an effective family planning program. Whatever economic progress the country will achieved, the excess money will just barely be enough to support the needs of our current members not considering the thousands of Filipinos who are born each day.Just look around the city there are many more street kids who are potentially suicidal like her.

November 11, 2007 5:37 PM  

Anonymous bernadette said...

All I can say is that marianet served as a catalyst for a majority of Filipino people to look at the plight of the poor. We are full of semantics when it comes to describing their plight---especially the children. I am for contraceptives and blast it if I get excommunicated! I know that these really help a lot of women get on with their lives earn for their families or help their partners in the field. I know a lot of Marianettes and we're helping three of them, actually. A lot of perversions abound, and the children are the brunt of these. They try to turn their heads and shut their eyes. I listen to their stories and feel much rage within me because of my helplessness---a liberal arts college degree is worthless in a way. Actually I can write a doctorate on education just by observing what kind of education is needed in the province...and it definitely is NOT a cyber-ed something. It is a caring and humanistic education that is much needed by everyone---which does not preach but empowers!

November 11, 2007 5:55 PM  

Anonymous kyels said...

It is a sad news indeed. Poverty is destructive and has destroyed a life of a young 12 year-old. I hope everyone in the world would pay more attention about this issue because it definitely is a crisis and try to help out in hopes to end it.

May Mariannet rest in peace.

November 11, 2007 8:12 PM  

Anonymous sardonicnell said...

this is so sad, innocent children should be shielded from all these hardships. if only if she was given a better life, she probably would never succumb to suicide. this is truly heart breaking...

November 12, 2007 6:32 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I agree with you, Kyels. Hopefully, the death of this young girl will be come a wake up call for our entire nation to once and for all address this issue.

November 12, 2007 6:39 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

When I first came back to Manila after a couple of decades of absence, Bernadette, what immediately astonished and appalled me was the sight of of some of our streets teeming with children. This was a sight similar to fiestas when I was a child. But nowadays, our economically-challenged areas seem to boast an abundance of young people -- from tots to teenagers.

And from that very moment, I knew that we'd better do something about population control soon and fast. Unfortunately, the overall mindset of those (individuals and institutions) who can actually implement such programs do not subscribe to the idea of family planning, birth control, or pro choice.

Just the other night, after coming out of a restaurant in Malate, I couldn't help but hand out some money to a group of street children for them to buy some pandesal or something. The guard told me this group of young children go there every night to wait for the restaurant's garbage to be taken out.

November 12, 2007 6:48 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Would be nice if Senator Cayetano would allocate some of his pork barrel to ease the hunger amongst his constituents as well, Noemi.

Suicide takes many forms besides the one Marianet Amper had opted. There is also the slow and lingering one such as alcoholism which is incredibly popular among our poor.

I say poverty and lack of birth control programs did this little girl in.

November 12, 2007 7:00 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

A sad but recurring story, Sidney.

November 12, 2007 7:00 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I agree with you, Rhoda.

A gentleman I met yesterday told me of a group of siblings -- orphans -- in which the eldest is about Marianet's age. As a way to ignore the hunger they feel, they would tighten the belts around their waist.

This group used to live somewhere along the coastal road going to Paranaque. He has been looking for them for many months now so he could help place them in a much safer environment. He found out about these kids through a friend who had been helping them before the friend went back to the States. Now, he wanted to continue what his friend had started.

November 12, 2007 7:05 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

It is indeed a sad situation, Nell. But how can she be given a good life by her parents who are literally dirt poor and have absolutely nothing to begin with? Her parents should have thought many times before having any children. This is one of the reasons why I think parenthood ought to be a licensed endeavor.

November 12, 2007 7:23 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

But it was the flood that drowned the little girl, Leo.

I agree with you that some of our local folks could hardly feed themselves let alone bring more babies into the world whose mouths they have to feed. I need not look beyond my own backyard when I say this -- there are those within the circle of my own relatives who would pop out a baby as if merely going to the toilet to pee. And would then obligate their parents or those other relatives to feed and educate their children.

Sadly, these kids also grow up with a false sense of entitlement -- hey, I'm poor and you're rich so, it's your responsibility to take care of me.

This way of thinking has really got to stop!

November 12, 2007 7:41 AM  

Anonymous cacofonix said...

Based on personal experience on childhood depression (from ever since I can remember) and having overcome it without medication or even psychotherapy (not that I did not attempt to do so, it just did not work for me). I'd say that that girl's suicide was caused by poverty-aggravated chemical imbalance .

My redemption came (in my adulthood) from proper nutrition, along with the regular use of certain nutraceuticals, exercise. as well as understanding the mechanics of the kind of depression that I had; and knowing when and how exactly to address it psychologically and spiritually.

Truth is, I left the Philippines mainly to live in a society where depression is widely understood and systematically addressed if you seek help. When I was young, most Filipino families didn't even recognize that depression was a legitimate physiological disease amongst children (including mine, and my parents were white-collared professionals); some did not even know that such a "thing" existed. Lackadaisical, withdrawn, broody kids were branded as simply lazy or having attitudinal problems. Hanggang ngayon, ganun pa rin sa Pilipinas, but what can we expect? Poverty nga di ma-address, edukasyon pa kaya beyond the basics?

Hope through poverty-alleviation , good nutrition, education beyond the basics and a societal/medical system in place that addresses mental health issues - these would have saved Marrianet.

She would have not died in vain if her case jolts corrupt politicians currently resting (in apathy) their desensitized butts in the glory of their stolen wealth. Mahiya naman kayo! You can't forever sit there and not realize that you can't take earthly power and (decaying) riches to the next life. Di na kayo nahiya, majority of the people whom you continue to rob are already languishing in hapless ignorance and abject poverty! When will you realize that you can not take your power and rotting riches to the next life?! Let God's (Filipino) people free.

And Pilipinas GISING!

Hay, pasensya na S.E....umusok na naman tuloy ang tumbong ko! How I wish I were a college student again (just like in the picture) and able to rally with other kids at some UP hall steps. I had my share during the Marcos era...:).

November 12, 2007 9:09 AM  

Anonymous bw said...

Really tragic indeed. I've never heard of a 12 year old committing suicide. It's just too young an age to succumb to extreme depression :(

I've always said im my posts on this subject that I can understand if a 12 year old jumps off a bridge but to commit suicide as elaborate as hanging oneself with a cord sounds a bit too complex for a 12 year old to do by herself. I just hope that there was no foul play involved here.

November 12, 2007 9:41 AM  

Blogger INKBLOTS said...

The ramifications of poverty and its consequent effects have wrought destruction to many lives. In my 18 years in development work,I have seen how poor families have to make both ends meet. There is truth about population explosion as one of the causes. Couple it with irresponsible parenting. However, there are also people forced into poverty. Talk about land grabbing by the rich, money lenders who put high interest rates which makes it more onerous for the poor, and people and situations that take advantage of the poor.

But the poor families have got to stand up and learn how how to fish. Many NGOs have taught them how. It is sad to note, however, that only a handful really get to cross the border. Nonetheless, it does not stop us, development workers--both from the government and NGOs--to continue on providing them the opportunities and access to help them improve the quality of their lives.

November 12, 2007 1:19 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks for sharing with us your insight, Ding. You're right! There are groups out there who strive to provide assistance to our less fortunate, but they have got to help themselves as well like you said. Most important is that they must develop the initiative and enthusiasm to improve their predicament.

Thanks also for reminding us that there exist the so-called scums of the earth who attain perverse pleasure in continually exploiting and profiting from our unwitting folks. But you know what? The universal law of karma does work.

Case in point:

I was at New York City's Port Authority Terminal one time waiting for a bus to New Jersey when I decided to get a hot dog. The woman behind the counter was a Filipina in her late 40s. It didn't take for me to finish the hotdog before she started spilling her life story. Turned out, she made much money when she was still in the Philippines by lending out money, five-six. She admitted that in the end, her life became only a series of bad luck and missteps that she finally gave it all up and went to the States. She claimed that to that very day, she was still coping with the ill wind that she had attracted to herself.

So, moral of the story: perhaps, not today, but in due time, those scums who exploit our poor will get their just dessert.

November 13, 2007 6:04 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Point is, BW, if there are young kids who'd tighten the belt around their waist so that the pain from which will distract them from thinking about the pains of starvation, I can surmise that a mind battling with extreme misery could easily opt for a final way out by tying a rope around her neck to hang herself.

On the other hand, I've met some kids as young as Marianet here in Quiapo who wouldn't think twice about sticking an ice pick in your gut like seasoned assassins. Now, they may not have the audacity to hurt themselves as Marianet had but they'd easily hurt anyone instead that cross their paths.

Incidentally, the average value of human life here is a mere 50 thousand pesos, negotiable.

November 13, 2007 6:17 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That is quite understandable, Cacofonix.

And thank you for sharing with us as well your insight. The ill effects of malnutrition can indeed manifest beyond what can be apparent.

Mental health, unfortunately, does not get top priority here as you've mentioned.

There is also an unwritten code, so to speak, amongst local men to never to wallow in one's inner turmoil such as depression, but rather deal with it "like a man" with alcohol. And this is why alcohol bingeing is so pervasive in our society; worse, young boys as young as 13 or 14 are sometimes encouraged to start drinking.

The women, on the other hand, are often told to find solace in the church. While some become martyrs for life, others get exploited even more so due to their emotional vulnerabilities brought on by the dilemmas they suffer from.

November 13, 2007 6:34 AM  

Blogger luna miranda said...

Great comments here S.E. But we can’t blame everything on the government. While it is true that the government is not very successful in alleviating the poor, there are self-reliant folks who manage to get out from the muck of poverty. The sad thing is, there are poor couples who continue to produce babies like rabbits, and hope that out of their dozen children, “isa d’yan ang mag-aahon sa amin sa kahirapan”. What happened to Marianet is tragic and let us hope this would serve as a wake-up call to each Filipino---there are lessons to be learned from this sad incident.

November 13, 2007 2:06 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Excellent point you brought up, Miranda -- that hopefully one of the kids becomes the family's salvation from such misery. Actually, I think Mariana wanted to work in some noodle factory, no? Truly tragic.

November 13, 2007 7:47 PM  

Blogger reyd said...

Is this tragic news a wake up call?
Maybe, for everyone.
Who are we to blame anyone? Did she really do it because of poverty? I have more questions than answers. Only those close to her might be able to answer some of my questions but, what for? It is too late to find a probable cause. If we dig deeper, we might find something that we could not even handle ourselves.
I just have to pray for her lost soul wherever she is right now.
And hopefully she might find peace and her family might find hope or something to live for.

(my only regret is ~ most likely she did not really tried hard to survive with those pains and sorrows and rather choose an easy way out. I've seen kids younger than her who stride to help their parents in even the filthiest way to earn a small income to survive.)

November 14, 2007 10:19 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I can understand where you're coming from, Reyd. And the points you've raised are well taken.

However, I am one of those who fail to find piety and virtue in pain and suffering. I don't believe in a God who would put people on this planet simply to live a life of maddening misery. I believe all of man's sufferings are basically man-made to begin with.

Yes, let's pray for Marianet's peace>

November 14, 2007 6:13 PM  

Blogger reyd said...

I agree with you, life has its mysterious ways on every person.
Mahirap umasa sa gulong ng palad.

"If Someone from above is just testing you or punishing you, it is up you to know and to find out why"

Saan ko ba nabasa ito? it might not make sense, but it got me thinking until now....

baka huli na pag nalaman ko. :)

November 15, 2007 3:15 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Perhaps, truths will unravel before us once we go back to the spirit world, Reyd. And then everything will make perfect sense :)

November 15, 2007 6:47 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

^^ Naku, wag naman muna, gusto ko pang ihatid ang anak ko sa altar at magkaapo. :)

But, pag nandiyan na yan, kita kita na lang tayong lahat!

November 15, 2007 10:18 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I'm sure we still have many more years to enjoy our present world, Reyd ... hehehe!

November 15, 2007 10:34 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

This is what I'm afraid of. Another angle of that tragic incident.

(Marianeth was raped – according to NBI)

November 16, 2007 4:06 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Yup, heard about it, too, this morning. Perhaps, better just wait for official conclusion. Praying for a prompt resolution on this case.

November 16, 2007 5:16 PM  

Blogger dave (",) said...

I'm with the call for suicide prevention. It should not be glorified, but look at how media has treated this. See how recent developments spoils the drama they have been spinning on it. Any act that has ridden on this event to push some selfish agenda is in bad taste.

November 17, 2007 10:56 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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