What is the value of life? | Inquirer Opinion
At Large

What is the value of life?

No statement, no manifesto, writes Ve Villavicencio, sister in Pilipina. Instead, she offers this poem/lamentation to express her personal grief, resonating with the grief of so many others, on the killing of Kian Loyd delos Santos, 17.

She titled it “Anong halaga ng buhay?” (What is the value of life?) in these days when life seems so undervalued and so casually undermined. I’m sharing it with everyone who cares.


Anong halaga ng buhay?

Anong halaga ng buhay?/Walang kapagurang pag-aaruga/Sa Inang nagluwal, kumakalinga/Naninilbihan sa dayuhan/Maitaguyod sana ‘yong kinabukasan./Kalaro, kabiro, ka-eskwela, kabarkada./Kapatid man o kapitbahay/Walang kapalit, lagi-laging karamay./Dulot ay pawis, hamon, hugot, halakhak/Sa Ina at Amang nagpalaki, nangaral/Sariling buhay handang ilagak/Huwag lang malagay sa panganib ang anak.


Anong halaga ng buhay?

Dalawang bala ka lang, pangatlo’y paniguro/Pinaghinalaang adik o tulak

Piniringan, kinalaboso/Laking mahirap, mahirap na anak/Kay pulis pusong Bato/Na-tokhang, nanlaban/Walang espasyo sa kulungan

Maigi na lang, buhay tuldukan.

Anong halaga ng buhay?

Ilang bala, ilang bilang/ sa estadistikang tinambangan/Sa maDugong rehimeng/Salat sa kahabagan/Siya ring taga-banta, taga-husga,/Taga-utos ng quota sa pagtumba/Walang kwenta, walang awa,/Karapatang inalipusta/Sa maDugong rehimen,/Anak ng Ina! Wala kang halaga!



22 Agosto 2017

What is the value of life?/Ceaseless and untiring care/For the mother who birthed, nurtured/Served in a foreign land/Just to ensure your future/Playmate, jokester, classmate, gangmate./Brother or neighbor

No substitute, always sympathizing./Offering sweat, challenge, feelings, laughter/To Mother and Father who reared you, taught you/Ready to sacrifice their lives/Just to keep a son safe from harm

What is the value of life?

It just takes two bullets, the third to make sure/Mistaken for an addict or pusher/Blindfolded, taken away/Reared in poverty, a poor son/To police with a heart of Stone/Picked up, fought back/No room in jail

Better to just put an end to life.

What is the value of life?

How many bullets, how to count/the numbers of those killed/In the Bloody regime/Starved of sympathy/The one who threatens is also the one who judges/Ordering a quota for killing/No value, no pity,/Rights ridiculed/In the Bloody regime,/Child of a mother! You are unworthy!

* * *

Another milestone to mark: the birth anniversary of Sen. Leila de Lima, the first and the longest-serving political prisoner detained by President Digong. I don’t know if words are enough to assuage the loneliness of solitude, the blatant injustice under which she labors, and what seems to be the general indifference of the public.

But in keeping her poise, and persisting in voicing her calls for justice and human rights, Senator Leila remains an inspiration to many, an example of fearless martyrdom set by her peerless predecessors, including Ninoy Aquino, Jose W. Diokno, and countless others who endured imprisonment and torture in the dark days of martial law. We’re behind you, Senator Leila!

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TAGS: At Large, drug killings, extrajudicial killings, Kian Loyd delos Santos, Leila de Lima, Rina Jimenez-David, value of life, war on drugs
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