Stories written by MA. Isabel Ongpin

Our prisons are hellholes

One of the most nightmarish experiences that any Filipino or foreigner can experience in this country (if they survive) is to spend time in our prisons. Thus, every kind of maneuver is made by those who manage to avoid incarceration — be it suddenly getting sick after years of carrying on healthily and checking into a hospital with a convenient serious diagnosis of illness from a compliant doctor, to effectively running away from the law and becoming a fugitive. Other variations of escaping the brutish conditions that our prisons have been allowed to come to, is to ask a judge to order confinement at the NBI or the PNP temporary incarceration places where the public is on view and vice versa. Then perhaps the conditions are less obviously dreadful, the bullies or other evil denizens that prisons have within their bowels are on public view, a minority, and therefore controllable.

Value Nature

WE take our natural environment too much for granted. Look how we treat trees in urban area; we marginalize them by crowding them with structures, damaging their roots, cutting off branches disrespectfully, cluttering their surroundings with concrete, fire, trash. Notice how signs for plumber and electrician services or advertisements are thoughtlessly nailed to their trunks. Sometimes we even fell them and one mindless excuse is that their leaves require much effort to sweep away. Yet trees are necessary for shade, temperature control, aesthetics.

Let’s Improve Our Global Ranking on Impunity

After my remarks on impunity last week, a friend brought to my attention a disturbing study on Impunity (via InterAksyon), showing that among 59 countries, the Philippines led in the Global Impunity Index.

Feed the Children

Hunger still stalks many of our countrymen. It is particularly destructive with our children who, because of poverty, do not get enough to eat, become vulnerable to disease and exploitation and end up unhealthy, uneducated and unhappy. Uneducated because the need to eat superimposes itself over everything, so that all their waking hours are spent looking to satisfy hunger, eschewing going to school. Unhappy because in the long run, without education, there will be a long, hard climb to get a job; most of all, a job that will provide a decent livelihood.