By JULLIE Y. DAZA
As a 73-year-old republic of young citizens whose futures are yet to fully unfold, it’s alarming and saddening that suicides are prevalent among the youth, teenage pregnancies are spiking into a national emergency, children and babies are being abused, molested, raped, killed, usually by older male relatives.
If youth is the time of spring, why are our young being taken from us in such untimely ways? If spring puts us in the dark ages, what happens in the winter of our discontent?
The news from our Cebu correspondent last week was so depressing I was almost glad “young people don’t read the newspapers anymore, what with all the bad news they get” and why TV news is branded for adults only. The report that “Cebu has country’s highest suicide rate” came on the heels of a story about a 17-year-old who committed suicide – not in Cebu – because he had considered himself a failure and sunk so deep into depression that he could not even talk about it to his friends. His long suicide note in English was exceptionally well written – he was the product of a school so exclusive that its matriculation fees could feed a family for a year or two. A good son from a well-off family living a life that most kids his age couldn’t have the imagination to aspire to – yet he suffered, the long dark night of the soul.
No one could tell, no one can tell; that’s the danger. A famous author in his 40s who was also a popular food writer was a success by all accounts although he, too, was a victim of depression. From Cebu where he lived with his family, he came to Makati to end his life. “One suicide every 42 seconds,” according to psychiatrist Dr. Rene Obra of Cebu City.
We’re losing our young to a host of diseases, including a few we thought we had licked over the years. Our dengue death toll is highest in Asia. Cases of measles have trebled globally since January. “Multidrug-resistant forms of malaria-causing parasites are spreading across Southeast Asia.” The “setting is ripe” for a polio comeback. Pigs are dropping like flies, swarms of flies have been attacking chickens. What is the world coming to?