Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Filipino Children and Infomercials
This is what I believe : Mar Roxas’ TV infomercial is nothing but a cheap attempt to identify himself with the masses, the common people. But I do not intend to single out the good senator. I am against ALL infomercials and commercial endorsements by politicians. I seldom go with Meriam Defensor –Santiago’s mind (?) but this time I believe her when she said that, “Politicians conducting premature campaigns under the pretense of commercial endorsements violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution.” She even urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to make a “categorical interpretation” of the Omnibus Election Code to prevent “rich and powerful candidates” from enjoying unfair advantage over poor candidates. All the traditional politicians are putting premature political trash on television even at the expense of poor and marginalized children.
No matter how cute and compassionate are his words to that pedicab boy and his sister (”Ilang taon ka na”.. “Anak, itabi mo. Ako na..”), when people are tired of traditional politicians and their politicking, they cannot easily be blinded by such words. We have all the reasons in the world to doubt their motives behind said infomercials. How the heck can they afford to be big time killjoys in the middle of an exciting episode of our favorite soap opera? While I hate traditional politicians, I salute the poor Filipino children,- like the thirteen year-old pedicab boy and his six-year-old sister, for their resilience. Resilience in psychology is the positive capacity of people to cope with stress and catastrophe. Stressful and catastrophic events that can be traced back to the practice of the nation‘s biggest bane called “politics”.
Here in Occidental Mindoro most of the children are from poor farmer families. Despite life’s hardship, the Spartan spirit resides in them. It is very usual scenario in my province watching a boy say, ten years of age, operates a hand tractor or a power tiller where its handles are too tall for the boy. At an early age, they already managed to survive and be economic partners of their parents. Even some of their rights as children are neglected by their parents. Our local politicians are partly to blame in this sad plight of our children.
According to Dr. Norman Garmezy, a psychologist from University of Minnesota, “Resilience is competence and the inner strength to work well, play well, love well and expect well despite the presence of considerable adversities..” Indeed children has the capacity to be self-reliant and self- governing.
DZVT,- a local AM radio station where I am part of its news and public affairs department, caters a program called “Bidang Bulilit” where interested children/youth were trained on preparing radio program where they produce their own script related to children’s rights and issues faced by children .The airing is done regularly. It is a forum where children also invite and interview resource persons, adults and children, related to children’s issues. Their views are asked on the issues, solutions and how they contribute in addressing such issues. This is a block time program sponsored by Plan, International-San Jose Office.
Filipino children have the ability to see things as impermanent. They hope for a time when they be able to prevail life’s difficulties and fulfill their dreams. Take Tutay for example, my sixteen-year old middle child. Her usual expression amidst domestic financial crisis is this: “Huwag kang mag-alala. Ako ang mag-papayaman sa inyo, ‘Tay” (Don’t worry. I will make you rich, Father).
Children in my country also had a firm sense of what is right and what is wrong. In our anti-mining initiatives, we give information and education campaign among school children in the barrios. And from this kind of activity and dialogue we could sense well their perception of what is ethical and what is moral.
Yes, Filipino children has something that is innate to a person or an inborn trait that can be learned or developed. A spirit within that must be enhanced and nurtured by all of us adults and not only from those we regularly see on television lately…
(Photo from SSC File taken by Ms. Thess Tacderan)