They say that 12-year-old Mariannet Amper of Davao City committed suicide out of quiet desperation over her school absences, her inability to catch up with school work and the growing poverty of her family. Mariannet’s diary and an unsent letter to ‘Wish Ko Lang” were found tucked under her pillows. In her letter, Mariannet wished for a bicycle, a school bag and jobs for her parents. Her wishes reflected her gentle soul: a wish for the child she was in the present, a wish for the woman she could have been in future, and a third wish to give away to the ones she loved. That it was unsent and only fulfilled after her death shows just how sharply and mercilessly poverty cuts the soul of our nation. It is testament to the tragic failure of government to serve its people.
Was Mariannet suffering from chronic depression, or was she simply a tender soul who couldn’t bear anymore to live in the looming shadow of poverty? Whichever the answer, poverty embraced her soul with a tenacity that shattered the last vestiges of hope in her 12-year old being.