Manila - A jobless Filipino mother killed her three children Tuesday by forcing them to drink liquid toilet cleaner before taking her own life, police said. Police said poverty apparently drove Janeth Ponce, 32, to kill her children, ages 4, 3 and 2, in their house in Laguna province south of Manila.
-The Earth Times, Tue, 09 Sep 2008 08:45:06 GMT
I've lived through all four decades, including during the time of Ferdinand Marcos' dictatorship, but suicides due to poverty were little known of until the controversial presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Only in November 2007, 11-year-old Mariannet Amper hanged herself in their shanty in desperation over her family's abject poverty. These two cases hugged the headlines because juveniles are involved, but suicides that included only adult Filipinos have been reported--sporadically but occurring more often nonetheless.
To the best of my memory, the more than rare frequency of poverty-driven suicides began being reported only after the EDSA 2 coup d etat that deposed the constitutionally elected President Joseph Estrada to install the elite-backed Arroyo in 2001. Survey studies after survey researches--both local and international--have shown Arroyo's presidency as most inimical to the Filipinos. Her administration has also registered the highest levels of overall hunger, or "Total Hunger," in nearly a decade since the SWS surveys on hunger began. She is also viewed as the most unpopular and "Most Corrupt" president in the history of the Southeast Asian country since the time of Marcos based on the poll researches of both the SWS and Pulse Asia survey institutions.
Then Vice-President Arroyo was able to seize the presidency through the so-called "EDSA 2 Revolution," backed by the Catholic Church, business elites, military elements and political oppositionists to Estrada, led by herself and her husband. Based on the admission of Arroyo's husband to respected Filipino writer Nick Joaquin, the Arroyos bought and distributed "millions" of print material and used mass texting to assemble "people power" in the streets of EDSA as part of what is now viewed as a planned conspiracy to grab power,
These suicides ghastly showcase the sufferings of the Filipino masses gone to desperation level. The "bogus" administration of Arroyo (dubbed so due to her 2001 power grab and the 2004 electoral fraud scandal) is morally accountable for the unprecedented hunger and poverty in the country. The funds of the Philippine treasury and the energies of her contested administration have practically all been directed towards keeping her illegitimate rule instead of improving the conditions and opportunities of the people, particularly the marginalized lot. She has proved to be an innately self-serving "President" who has skillfully exercised "patronage politics" oiled by dispensing pork barrel and junket favors to equally crocodilian politicians like her.
Perhaps as much to be blamed for the obtaining despondency among the half a million households, whose members at times are forced to do without a single meal in a day, is the gullible mob that either unsuspectingly or stupidly came to support EDSA 2. Thinking that it was a "spontaneous" act founded on moral calling, they helped depose President Estrada, who had been fierily branded as corrupt by the propaganda machinery of a power hungry Arroyo and party. As it turned out--to the detriment of the nation--Arroyo, who ironically laid claim to the presidency via a "revolution" for good governance, would be the only Philippine leader to ever receive negative satisfaction ratings, and even bested Marcos for the ignominious title of "Most Corrupt President in Philippine History." As the "EDSA 2 gullibles" have realized too late, Arroyo was a disguised malevolent politician who conned them all.
To say "mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa," is the least the more patriotic of the EDSA 2 conspirators and gullibles can do. But what good would a thousand sorry's do to the grieving, destitute families of Janeth and Mariannet and other poverty-related dead-by-suicide victims of Arroyo's administration?
Bowring, Philip. "Filipino Democracy Needs Stronger Institutions." International Herald Tribune. 22 Jan. 2001. http://www.iht.com/articles/2001/01/22/edbow.t_3.php
"Poverty-stricken mother kills three children, self in Philippines." The Earth Times. 09 September 2008. http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/230527,poverty-stricken-mother-kills-three-children-self-in-philippines.html
Pulse Asia. Additional Findings on Corruption-Related Issues: Most Corrupt President in Philippine History. October 2007. http://pulseasia.com.ph/resources/photos/table2_corruption_0710.gif
Pulse Asia. Pulse Asia's July 2008 Nationwide Survey on Coping with Double Digit Inflation Rates. July 2008. http://www.pulseasia.com.ph/pulseasia/story.asp?ID=656
Social Weather Stations. Second Quarter 2008 Social Weather Survey: PGMA's net rating falls to record-low -38. 18 July 2008. http://www.sws.org.ph/pr080718.htm
Tordesillas, Ellen. "Credit should go to Mike Arroyo". Malaya. 16 Jan. 2002. http://malaya.com.ph/jan16/edtorde.htm