Thursday, January 22, 2015

The ‘Glyzelle’ question

“Many children get involved in drugs and prostitution. Why does God allow these things to happen to us? The children are not guilty of anything.”
In the words of Pope Francis: (Glyzelle Palomar) “Is the only one who has put a question to which there is no answer.”
The Glyzelle question is just one of the many that confronts and hounds all of us, but the answer to those questions such as why are there poor people, why do good people suffer, why is there corruption and the lot, the answer is generally staring at you and me when we stand in front of the mirror. I don’t want to be contrarian or present myself to be wiser than the Pope or most of the “grown ups” in the room, but when I thought hard and long about Glyzelle’s question, a flood of answers came pouring out.
First of all it is not God’s will.
As far as drugs and prostitution is concerned Glyzelle, you can hang the blame on people. You can hang it on politicians, law enforcers, local officials especially, parents and the thousands of people who are afraid or don’t want to get involved or do something about drugs and prostitution. The people who are supposed to do something but don’t, are responsible for all the drugs and prostitution in the country, NOT God.
Given that the lives and future of many young children like you have been destroyed by drugs and prostitution, all of you have the right to blame the grown ups.
Put the blame on lawyers, lawmakers, activists who in their desire to make the Philippines act or look modern and progressive have spend millions of pesos, man-hours and gallons of spit to unwittingly promote the interest and agenda of drug lords and pimps and traffickers by pushing for the removal of the death penalty for such heinous crimes.
Ever since the death penalty was suspended, criminals continued running their businesses even inside Bilibid. As long as they can make millions of pesos everyday, they can bribe government officials and law enforcers as well as bring in prostitutes to their cells. With no death penalty, all they have to do is bide their time and bribe their way out.
Glyzelle, try to get your classmates to study how Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China and a host of other countries have managed to put drugs and prostitution under check, not by slaughtering people mindlessly but by strictly enforcing the death penalty on people who dared to profit at the risk of their very lives. For the leaders of these countries, the lives of millions of young people like you are more valuable than the few scumbags and the opinion of outsiders.
Why is there so much drugs and prostitution in the Philippines you ask? It is because both the government and the church have paid far too much attention to jueteng as a weapon of choice to criticize the government, and for people in government to go after their political enemies instead of giving priority to the far damaging and destructive impact of drugs and prostitution. There is much drugs and prostitution because Congress, the Department of Justice, and the Philippine National Police have not declared an all out war on drugs and prostitution through budget allocations and combat. Have you noticed that there are no Champions leading the war or pushing to get tough on drugs and prostitution?
Sadly Glyzelle, the fault is not with God, not in our stars but in all of us. Many young children fall along the wayside because many parents have gone to other countries to earn a living but forgot the lives they left behind. Many of us believed that by working abroad or spending most of our time at work we could secure your future, only to discover that we traded and ruined your present lives. There are no jobs to be had because many of us invested in the products and economies of other nations that resulted in loss of jobs, which has now resulted in generations of young people with “Lost Parents.”
You the Innocent suffer because children cannot survive without parents. No one there to teach them, lead them, nurture them and most of all love them when they need love. You have no decent guardians because we the educated, the gifted, and the well off have invested on corporate social responsibility and “missions” that are mere photo-ops and one-day events and not on generational programs that sincerely focus on the young. You suffer because when we say “Filipinos love children” we mean we love  ”only” our children without realizing that we are losing an entire generation to drugs and prostitution. Having lost your parents to work and your guardians in society to corporate hypocrisy or personal concerns, you Glyzelle have sadly become “The Lost Generation.”
We in media constantly talk about protecting you but many mock, censor or ridicule people who talk about God, values and the Bible. Ironically when the Rock Star from the Vatican arrived the mockers behaved like saints and devout followers quoting scriptures.
Finally, just like Pope Francis has told all of us, we have not gone outside our comfort zones. We give to “our poor,” those poor people who work for us or their poor relatives but not the real poor who have no one to run to and who live beyond what we choose to see everyday. You suffer because we help out of guilt, a sense of obligation, but not a divine or Holy Spirit inspired love. When you asked Pope Francis that “one question” you completed the picture that the Pope was trying to show all of us Filipinos: that we needed to learn from you. Your tears and your question have done that. Thank you.
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