16 August 2011

Children's Condition Need More Attention

Welfare of Children
While the Catholic Church and the liberal artist groups continue their debates on the merits of opening or closing the controversial art exhibit of Mideo Cruz last week, two children were missing in a flashflood and another one committed suicide.

While government officials are all transfixed with the fashion-media celebrity and hotel heiress Paris Hilton as she arrived in Manila shortly before midnight on 14 August, one child died and 2 of his siblings are either dying or require immediate assistance.

If only the major networks and media outfits gave importance to the conditions of children in the provinces as they do the arts and entertainment industry, then something could have changed. It is not certain, but it could have triggered something or anything that made a big difference to children’s lives. Monetary profits may have not been realized, but better quality of life, mitigation of risky situation and a sense of accomplishment were achieved.

Because of the media’s penchant for covering and highlighting the lives of famous people, the plight of children in the countryside were left to the sensationalized reporting of tabloid papers. Hence, only a few are aware that KC Alrancis and Christine Olivar, both 3-years-old, were listed as missing on 12 August 2011 after a flashflood swept Purok 10 in Bgy. Kinayao, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat.

It is also highly doubtful that anyone could have heard that Noel Joseph Limpin, a 13-year old second year high school student, committed suicide last 12 August 2011 for still unknown reasons. He even posted his intention in social networking site, Facebook, but help was late in saving him.

Another tragic news that failed to land in the front page of mainstream media is a story about three siblings who were allegedly poisoned by their father in Cagayan de Oro last 15 August 2011 following a quarrel with his wife. Jerson Janolino, a 3-year-old boy died, while his two siblings, Jerome, 5 and Jenisa, 1, were in serious condition.

It is obvious that the country needs to rethink its priorities and protect those who are vulnerable and cannot take care of themselves. The media can play an important role in shaping this agenda and increasing awareness among the population. Media’s initiative to protect the welfare of children could start by advocating for the formation of a quick response team.

When every minute counts, the country needs to provide a quick and effective response to secure the welfare of children in the countryside. Attention should not only focus on those at the National Capital Region (NCR) and urban centers, but also address the unique condition of areas in the periphery.

The quick response team could be patterned from those in other countries where each unit is composed experienced personnel capable of providing on-the-ground investigative, technical, and resource assistance to the investigating authorities as well as other service institutions such as the health and social welfare departments.