05 December 2009

Another Massacre in Mindanao

Stop Crimes Against Children
Only days after the infamous political slaughter of 57 people, mostly identified with Buluan, Maguindanao Vice-Mayor Datu Ismail 'Toto' Mangudadatu, another massacre took place in Mindanao.

This time unidentified men killed three children of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), aged 15, 12 and 10. All of them were found bludgeoned to death inside their house in Purok 1 in Manay village, Panabo City, Davao del Norte. Police identified the three fatalities as Maribel Dapitan, 15; and brothers Marvin, 12; and Melvin, 10.

However, unlike the massacre in Maguindanao, the latest crime hardly made it to the front pages of major dailies much less attract the attention of politicians who are vying for the highest post in the land in 2010.

Police investigators are supposedly looking into the possibility that Maribel was sexually assaulted before she was killed. They are also discounting the possibility of robbery as the motive for the heinous crime because the items of the house appeared intact. So the question is, who did it? This seems like the persistent matter when crimes against children are investigated by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

It's too early to tell if the PNP hierarchy will handle this case with sensitivity and a sense of urgency, just like what they did in the Maguindanao massacre. But if not, then there is no reason to grant them more than PhP 47.6 billion next year to cover increase in benefits, hiring of additional manpower and construction of more satellite stations. If they cannot solve the case and bring the perpetrators of the gruesome killings to justice, then somebody should tell these overpaid and overweight petty dictators that there is such a thing as child welfare and protection in this country.

There are still some decent men-in-uniforms serving the public, but they need to tell their superiors that police time and money is better spent investigating crimes against children and women rather than guarding politicians from their imaginary threats. And if any of these honest men are able to collar the perpetrators, it is strongly suggested that they immediately drag the murdering bastards into court, showing them the same respect for human rights as they showed their victims. After all, how many think they deserved a fair trial anyway.

Setting police investigation aside, the parents of the three children should also bear some responsibility for what happened. The children's mother was in Leyte province doing some errands, while the father is working in Saudi Arabia. What puerile idea led them to leave the three minors to fend for themselves for a long time, is anybody's guest.

However, they better not give poverty as an excuse for doing what they did because that is another example of an overbearing and bungling parents who bear children without thinking first how they could take care of them. What gives a couple the right to bear children and expose them to substantial risks when they reach their teens? If this is really the case, then how stupid of them to assume that all fifteen year-old girls are capable of taking care of her younger siblings and protect her self from criminal elements as well. In this country, sadly, this is still the realty.

And if our more liberal rulers are so keen on empowering our children at an early stages, can we also assume that they are doing something to saturate the environment with child-friendly population? Presumably, the current administration would argue and present a long list of incredibly complex programs for children, but their efforts are better served if they try to find ways implementing these programs effectively rather than insult the intelligence and integrity of millions of Filipino parents with foolish and nonsense public relations activities.