1963 Graduates of Jose Rizal Institute in Orion, Bataan
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
ENCOUNTERS: episode 2 - A Heart Knock Appeal
He was a young man approaching the cusp of full adulthood, freshly graduated from JRI Orion, looking forward like the rest of his batchmates to the next stage of his unfolding life. He would be wondering what lay ahead: adventures, career, family?
Accepting of the reality that college education was beyond his family’s means, he embarked on a job with the fishing industry. Still full of optimism, of hopes for better things, he took on a job that would require all his time and energy.
Then the first tragedy struck. An accidental encounter with a motorised tricycle caused big damage to one foot . In a western country, there would have been a pay-out, a financial compensation for the injury he suffered but he was not in a western country. Undeterred by this set back, he continued to work in the industry.
A second tragedy struck him. This time it was not an accident. It was a vicious and malicious attack on a hapless young man, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
On his way home after work, he was set upon by a group of men and bashed with metal pipes. His right eye exploded out of its socket after he was hit on the face. He was hit wherever the assailants aimed their instruments of cruelty.
Bloodied, his face mashed up and his ripped out, mangled eye frantically clutched in his hand, he was later taken not to the hospital for urgent medical attention but to a police station where he, rather than his assailants, was interrogated. He begged to be taken to the hospital, he begged and begged some more. After what seemed to him like an eternity, he was finally given medical attention.
He lost an eye. He had other horrific injuries. His young life lay in ruins at his feet.
His assailants are still out there, probably regaling their friends now and then with accounts of their night of great excitement and gloating about the fact that they were never made to answer for this senseless act of barbarism. He was too poor and lacked the “right connections” to afford justice for himself.
He was still just a young man when this happened but his job prospects had become bleak. Poor and physically disabled and psychologically scarred by this tragedy, he had not known the comfort of a wife and the pleasure of having his own children.
He is now old like the rest of his batchmates, but unlike most of us, he has suffered the very heavy hand of injustice, and through no fault of his own, was denied so many of the good things we take for granted. Justice which is a basic human entitlement has been denied to him.
With no job, no pension, no independent source of income, he now relies on his very old mother’s meagre pension to survive. Beyond that …?
Is there someone out there who may have the heart and the intellectual know-how to take up the cause of this poor man? PLEASE! Someone? Anyone?
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