Girl Who Killed Self Is Buried in South RP

November 10, 2007 at 5:47 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 10, 2007) – A poor girl who committed suicide because of extreme poverty in southern Philippines was buried Saturday.

Mariennet Amper, 12, hanged herself Nov. 2 inside their thatched house in the village of Maa in Davao City. Hundreds of people, many of them moved by the girl’s tragic end, came to pay their last respect. They cried as the girl’s white coffin was buried.

Television network GMA-7 also aired a special on Saturday as a tribute to the girl, who had written a letter asking the TV program “Wish Ko Lang” (I Just Wish) for a pair of school shoes and bicycle for her younger brother and goats for her unemployed parents – her father, Isabelo, a former construction worker and mother, Magdalena.

The letter was written two years ago and was never mailed for lack of money to buy a postage stamp. GMA-7 has given the family a mini-van, a dozen goats and a bicycle just as what the girl wished for.

“All her classmates are present and they cried also. We cried, but could do nothing else now,” the girl’s father said.

Manila said the girl’s suicide was an isolated incident.

“A child committing suicide because of hunger and poverty may be an isolated case, but Filipino families experiencing extreme hunger and poverty are definitely prevalent.”

“We have already seen and heard news of adults committing suicide in desperation borne out of poverty by jumping from billboards or hanging themselves,” Alphonse Rivera, head of the child rights organization, Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

Rivera said the effects of poverty have been evident even during the time of previous administration, but had worsened during the Arroyo government. “Since 2005, surveys indicated rising statistics on the incidence of hunger among Filipinos yet, no decisive move to alleviate economic conditions has been done by the government,” he said.

President Gloria Arroyo this week has ordered the released of P1 billion to further accelerate the government’s hunger-mitigation and anti-poverty program.

But Rivera said funding was “too little, too late.” “Economic policies must be reviewed to enable the people to live a decent life. Increase wages, nationalize the oil industry, genuine land reform for the farmers – these are what the people are calling for but has remained unheeded,” he said.

Rivera also cited a recent study by the International Food Policy Research Institute that 11 million Filipinos live on less than $1 (P42) a day experienced hunger. “Many children have stopped schooling and are forced to work to help in the family’s income. Yet after all their efforts, at the end of the day, they still go to bed hungry,” he said. (Mindanao Examiner)

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