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YOUNG BLOOD

An ignored plea

05:04 AM August 29, 2017

There’s something I want to tell you.

I remember that when I was about seven years old, I liked to play with coins. I liked the jingling sound they made when I mixed them up in my pocket and the musty metallic odor of my fingers after I handled them.

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I loved grouping them according to their kind — from 5 centavos, 10 centavos, and 25 centavos to 1 peso, 5 pesos and 10 pesos. I knew how to identify them by color as well as their value, and even the ones that were rusty and no longer in perfect condition.

I can still remember how my mother would repeatedly tell me not to play with coins. The thing was, I knew that coins were not intended to be toys, that they were not just things to use to get something that we wanted, or things that we passed on to another person. I knew a lot better than that.

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I want to tell you something.

One night as I was scrolling through my Facebook wall, a post caught my attention. A 17-year-old had been shot dead during an antidrug operation of the Caloocan City police. Later that night, it was reported on the TV news — the killing of this senior high school student, an alleged drug pusher.

His name was Kian Loyd delos Santos. Wanted to be a policeman. Not a lefty. Had two small sachets of shabu and a 45 cal. pistol on him, authorities said. “Nanlaban.”

You know the very first thing that entered my mind? Coins.

Kian was a coin, just like every other human being on this planet. He was minted in the year 2000 and for 17 years he was loved and protected by his family. He was a collector’s item, a precious coin. And now, with three holes in his body and his life snuffed out, he was no longer in perfect condition.

He became one of thousands of innocent people fallen victim to extrajudicial killing. He was seen, not according to his value, but as a mere target, a toy waiting to be played with, an excuse to kill.

This is what I wanted to tell you.

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That inky dark Wednesday night, Kian, a shiny coin, was there. At 17, he cried for his life and pleaded for mercy. Tama na po! At 17, he wished to become a policeman, but he died in the hands of his would-be colleagues. At 17, all he wanted was to turn 18.

This is what we have become — a country run by killers and a generation full of dim-witted people. What scares me the most is that people are now acting as if murder and other crimes were common scenarios in our everyday life. We recklessly crack rape jokes, we laugh at someone’s death, and yet we fear for our lives. You see, we begin to care when it is too late.

Now there’s nothing left to tell you because all that remains of Kian, a once-shiny coin, is an ignored plea.

* * *

Aila Jinn C. Daniel, 16, is a Grade 10 student and a member of the editorial staff of The Horizon, the official student publication of Basud National High School in Basud, Camarines Norte.

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TAGS: Aila Jinn C. Daniel, drug killings, extrajudicial killings, Kian Loyd delos Santos, war on drugs, Young Blood
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