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Oct. 10th, 2006



The Youngest.

Nakakatuwa naman ito. Panoorin natin, guys. :)


Si Bansot.

This has got to be one of the simplest and yet most striking images I've ever seen in my whole life. It reminds me a lot of the filthy children scattered all over Katipunan, of my beloved NSTP students in Payatas, and of one particular boy I met in my childhood.

His name was Noel, although people called him Bansot. As a kid, I used to believe he was somehow disgraced; at eight he carried a name that affirmed his 'smallness' (he was three years older but stood just about my size). He never seemed to mind though. In fact, he  wanted everyone to call him Bansot rather than his real name. He said he hated his mother for naming him after someone who once saved the world and then left and forgot all about it. At five, I never understood him. His words only became clear years later, when I entered a Catholic school and found out the Noel he was referring to was Jesus.

Bansot loved to play pranks. During the afternoon when the adults would have their siesta, he'd go around the neighborhood repeatedly ringing the doorbells of random houses, and then snickering behind a wall when the owner comes out fuming mad. He loved trees too; he loved to climb the old ones, and loved to destroy those that were newly planted. He picked on animals, tortured girls and challenged boys to fights. Needless to say, he was the neighborhood delinquent.

Bansot and his mother lived in the squatter's area of our village, their hut made of scraps of wood and yero. We knew him after he had saved my brother from falling during one of the latter's silly attempts at climbing a tree. My parents felt fully indebted to Bansot after that, and during holidays and special occasions a part of our feast would always be reserved for him and his mother. I fail to remember exactly what had happened during the following years, all I know was that as we grew up, Bansot's pranks became more and more severe. There were even rumors in the neighborhood that he was involved with a syndicate group, although no one knew for sure. And then one day, the notorious Bansot and his mother suddenly disappeared.

My parents never explained to us what exactly happened to him; the most that we ever heard was from our Yaya, who told us that 'he was taken away for being a bad boy' and that 'he and his mother deserved it'. Now that I remember him and now that I think about it, I feel sad because I realize that Bansot never deserved anything that happened to him. He wasn't bad. It was simply that he grew up in an environment that judged him even before he could develop respect for himself. It wasn't his fault that his life, even before he had begun to live it, had already  been devoid of a future.

At five, I never understood Noel. Never could comprehend why he hated his name, why he and his mother lived in a hut instead of a house, why unlike the rest of us he had no one to call Papa, why he hated God. At seventeen, I feel like I finally know the answers, and I know that I finally understand. I just hope that someday, more people will understand too, because only then will we be able to keep other 'Noels' from going astray.

Sabi nga ni Nat, We need to save our children in order to save our future.


The Best Things in Life are Libre

According to an article the National Mental Health Association, Juvenile Delinquency is attributed to mental disorders which more often than not results from their traumatic experiences as children. Children abused, neglected or abandoned become potential offenders because they develop depression and a sense of attention deficit. (see http://www.nmha.org/children/justjuv/index.cfm)

Ang problema sa bansa natin, we fail to create preemptive measures to ensure emotional and mental health. This is by large, a consequence of poverty and local community's inefficiency in providing the minimum requirements a child is entitled to. The children in turn feel small and emotionally unstable.

However, the government, along with a lot of NGO's should be recognized for helping alleviate this crisis of poverty and child neglect. In a certain part of Manila, there is a place wherein unwanted babies are just left so that sisters could put take care of them. Many social welfare organizations are trying to reach out to street children, hoping to instill in them, if not knowledge and food, a sense of importance and love. Even in our own Ateneo, SOA orgs are trying to bridge the gap between privileged students and the poverty-stricken areas of Metro Manila.

In light of this, we shouldn't stop helping even in our own small ways. Just by simply joining exposure trips or taking one's NSTP classes seriously can save a child from becoming a youthful offender. All we have to do (for now as students) is smile and love the kids that lack people who understand them. Yes, even those rowdy kids in Katipunan who constantly says "ate bili ka ng banan cue!" everytime we pass by. We have to reach out, even with just a simple hello. Of course, their hearts also need to be fed. Kung hindi ko man lang kayang bigyan sila ng limos, i'd give them a hearty joke! The simplest and cheapest things can save even the most troubled child.


(no subject)

 just turned 18 (woohooo!)and what are the perks or otherwise..
-I can watch R-18 movies
-I can legally buy booze baby!
-I can vote (I can freAki'n rule the land!)
-but i can be jailed too!

According to UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, there should be an environment condusive for the development of a adolescent or youth. Also, no child or minor should be jailed! What we don't know is that in reality, you need not to be 18 to be jailed. I was fortunate enough to interact with some juvenile delinquents in one of my visits in the New Bilibid Prison for Ateneo LEX. The youngest I've known so far, according to one of the inmates ,was 13 years old. 
Whoa! Wait a minute...a 13 year old in jail? 
Yeah..you heard (at least read) it right. So what could be his offense? Well this "kid' among other child deliquents suffer a great deal of poverty that they had to steal to literally have food in the table. At that age, I never care about this things. All I pathetically did was to immerse myself on entering highschool, trying to lose weight (yadayada!) and having the latest cellphone. Imagine an adolescent, whose mind could be a sponge for lopsided ideologies and criminal influences, with hardened convicts in jail.

With the Juvenile Justice Act, hopefully CICL in prisons will be lessened and in the near future, eradicated. It also reiterated that no juvenile must be imprisoned and should have undergone jurisdictional due pocess that is suitable for a minor, without disregarding his/her rights as a child/ minor. Also, it is the duty of the community to provide an environment that would be most helpful for an adolescent's development and to keep them from being in conflict with the law by providing proper education and recreational activities. If convicted, workshops, therapies and activities should be practiced and performed so that the child will be reintroduced to the community in conflict.

This law is relatively young. Its effectiveness is dependent on advocacy.

The Ateno Lex Balik-laya Prison Service helps juvenile deliquents through workshops, workshops and supplies. For further info or support, pls. pm me.

Oct. 9th, 2006



(no subject)

I still remember the last time I went to Bilibid. A month back, I think. We had so many new people with us--virgins, ika nga. It was funny, watching their faces--either filled with fright, anxiety, or excitement. Well, it isn't everyday that you get to see the hardcore criminals.

Joining the Ateneo Lex--and the externals department at that--was not really my original plan. I just wanted to join an organization that could cater to my desire for law school preparation. But then, things just turned out differently and here I am, standing, and walking with individuals who most people fear. Ant to tell you the truth, I want to keep working for this.

Sometimes I get all contemplative and think about these prisoners that I'm surrounded with. Some of them are so old and wrinkled and some young and vibrant. I ask myself what led to their imprisonment in that hell. They were all children once--innocent and playful.

But then again, not all children can be called innocent. Some are termed to be legally guilty of committing a crime. Most of them are abused, not given enough necessities and most are placed together with adult and hardcore criminals. I shudder as I think about the underprivileged children I teach every Friday. i don't want them to turn out like these hardened criminals. It isn't stereotype or bias that is working in me now, it's my hope that somehow and in some way preventive measure can be done to stop all these corrupting practices in our society.

We need to save our children in order to save our future.


Poor Child

I found a picture of a poor child that we can use for our powerpoint presentation. Looks kind of deviant...

Hmm..come to think about it, it's quite wrong to put a stereotype on children just because of the way they look. Well, it is wrong to put a stereotype on people in general. (But we WILL still use this for our powerpoint presentation.) :p

Oct. 10th, 2006



The Destructors.

Written by Graham Green in 1954, this is one of my favorite stories. It talks about the clash between generations and, more importantly, juvenile delinquency. :)



awareness in a metal box.

I saw this while doing some research over the net. It's a lunch/storage box designed with juvenile delinquency art. Quite interesting, isn't it? Definitely a wiser alternative to the usual Power Ranger stuff that little boys carry around everywhere. And who would've thought you could use metal boxes in promoting awareness for the juveniles? Haha. Whoever gave brith to such an idea is ingenious. :) Personally, I'm glad to find out more and more people are getting concerned with this issue and are actually committed to promoting creative reforms. The world may still be far from solving the conflicts that surround the problem of the juveniles, but at least we're sure that no one has yet turned their back on the marginalized Youth's plight--and future. :)

Oct. 9th, 2006


Pag-ibig at batas

Kung iisipin, magkatulad na magkatulad ang batas at pag-ibig. Ang pag-ibig, dapat tunay, totoo at busilak at ang batas dapat pantay, makatarungan at pumapanig sa nangangailangan. Ang pag-ibig, maraming nagagawang kamangha-manghang bagay, at ang mga batas naipapatupad kahit ang mga imposibleng bagay. Ang pag-ibig, nakakasakit at nakakapagpaluha at ang batas nagpaparusa din naman, minsan “reclusion perpetua” pa nga. Ang pag-ibig may anniversary at ang batas naman may petsa din kung kailan naipasa. Ang pag-ibig napakakomplikado, lalo naman ang batas. Ang pag-ibig kinakailangan ng panahon, lalo naman ang batas dito sa Pilipinas, inaabot ng taon bago maipasa. Sa pag-ibig maraming isyu at usapin at bago naman maipasa ang batas, libong debate ang aabutin. Ngunit tulad ng pag-ibig na hindi lamang sa salita nakukuha at dapat naipapakita, ganito rin ang batas. Hindi lamang sapat na alam ng tao na may batas ukol sa isang bagay ngunit dapat may mga ginagawa din ang tao upang ipinatupad ang mga prinsipyo nito.

Oct. 10th, 2006



Late night TV session.

I'll never forget that night when my cousin and I decided to stay up late and wait for GMA's I Witness roughly a year ago. We wanted to watch something different since we were both sick of watching the same old sitcoms and talk shows.

The topic for that night's episode was about the plight of juvenile delinquents in our country. Too heavy that's what I initially thought after the introductory video was shown. I wanted to just bail out of our "TV tripping session" and sleep but I realized that this will be the first time that I will get to watch a documentary that focuses on a topic I'm not really learned at.

Though I do not know a lot about juvenile delinquency, the subject is not new to me. It is no secret that in this country, there are kids being imprisoned with other criminals due to the lack of prison cells. What caught my attention though is the fact that these children are being jailed for such petty crimes.

One story that really touched me was the about a 12 year old boy who was imprisoned just because he stole a kilo of fish from the market. For such a petty offense, the boy was jailed for two years. No one could bail him out, since his family could not afford it. What is worse is that after only six months or so, his family no longer visited him. He is only 12 and yet he gets to experience the harsh conditions that should only be meant for those criminals whose crime are much more heinous such as rape and murder.

What is murder compared to stealing a kilo of fish? Yet, both the juvenile delinquent and the murderer gets the same treatment from the police. How unfair can it get?

Imagine, these kids only get to eat once a day (if you can even call the food that the police were serving as food). Their prison cell is worse than a can of sardines. A friend told me that least in a can of sardines, there is still enough space for the sarsa. Sadly, this is not so in most of our prison cells. Pagkakasyahin talaga nila kayo, kahit na kitang-kita naman na wala nang espasyo. Lastly, these children are being bullied by the more experienced criminal. They are either physically or sexually abused. Of course, these children will not fight back because they are afraid of a possible resback from the other detainees.

No child deserves to be treated that way.

After seeing his story, I felt a strong sense of agreement with what Karl Marx said: that the state is really biased towards who are members of the economic elite. While government officials with heavy cases such as rape and plunder get to experience "jail term luxury" (being detained in a hospital and a resthouse in Rizal is an example), these little kids who should be out in the streets playing are being treated as animals for committing crimes that were done out of hunger.

By the end of the documentary, me and my cousin were teary eyed. I was never the compassionate type of person, but I was so moved by the documentary that I vowed that someday I will do something to help these children. They do not deserve any of those.

That is why I was happy when the Juvenile Justice Law (R.A. 3944) was passed last June. Sure, it will take time before the law can truly take effect, but at least it is a start. At least now, there is a law that protects these children.

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