By Jullie Y. Daza
All the bad news is happening to children. Our children. The product of love, marriage, a moment’s indiscretion, the desire to “raise a family,” one or all of the above.
Here they are, victims of pedophiles from countries far away — why don’t they prey on their own? Sex rings pay parents to surrender their infants as young as five months to monsters loaded with foreign currency, so who’s more evil, predator or supplier? Money talks, also in pesos, thus the desperately poor turn their scrawny kids into mules for drug dealers. The police say 10-year-olds are hooked on drugs, and peddling them to their schoolmates. Another “dalagita,” possibly a pre-teen, was found dead last weekend; she won’t be the last in a series of rape-and-murder incidents that cry to heaven for God’s wrath to smite the guilty. Not long ago, parents traded their children’s kidneys for cash, this year we learn that 2.1 million kids are forced to work (to support themselves or their parents?).
The incidence of HIV is growing among the young, so are teen pregnancies. As a pediatrician in a public hospital told me, “We’re seeing more and more pregnant teens, by which I mean that whereas first-time mothers used to be 17 or 18, now they’re 14, 15.” That’s not all. Teen moms are on their second or third pregnancy! The Doctora who owns a hospital in Batangas is famous for scolding the hell out of mothers of pregnant teenagers. Her line: “Were you never pregnant before? How could you not notice your daughter’s pregnancy? Don’t you look at her, or you just don’t care about her?”
Being a parent myself, I dare say that some types pose the biggest dangers to their flesh and blood. By being ignorant, irrepressibly irresponsible, permanently and consistently stupid, unbelievably uncaring and unloving, they expose their young to the elements, a malefic environment, to tragic accidents and heinous crimes committed by strangers, male relatives, and other scum of the earth.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio delivered the season’s wisest commencement address when she advised the graduates against starting a family too soon. Chase after your dreams first, she told them. Babies are cute but they’re a bundle to handle.