A 20-YEAR-OLD man jumped off to his death from the fifth floor of a mall in Davao City last Friday.

It was not because of a broken heart, as rumors circulated. It was because the man could not buy medicines for his ailing father.

There is “mahal” that means love, and there is “mahal” that means expensive. Mahal ang magkasakit. Mahal ang tuition. Mahal ang gasolina. Mahal ang pamasahe.

When a family member falls ill, our heart breaks we can't save her. When driven to such desperation, what can you do? More importantly, what can the government do to make health services affordable?

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Sixty-four year old lumad school head Amelia Pond is a political prisoner waiting for the promise last December that ailing political detainees would be released by President Duterte. She has been in a care facility at the Southern Philippine Medical Center after a spinal surgery last November.

Instead, last February 4, she was forced back to prison in Tagum City, after President Duterte cancelled the peace talks.

On the ride to Tagum, Pond repeatedly cried out in pain, and asked the driver to stop or slow down. Back in jail, she sleeps on the cardboard floor in a cell near the toilet. She can barely bend or move from her operated back.

Sometime ago, a president was jailed and tried for plunder. But she was given all the luxury to be “arrested” in a house for five years, and roam around with a neck-brace. Now she is free, and thanks President Duterte for her freedom.

Pond, or Teacher Ammy, was forcibly arrested last August by CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) agents who reportedly planted two fake IDs on her bag to justify the arrest. The IDs bore the name Adelfa Toledo, a suspected rebel charged with murder.

Pond is among 130 ailing political prisoners recommended to be released on humanitarian reasons. That promise remains unfulfilled by Duterte, and so is the promise to pursue peace talks.

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Green is the new Valentine's color as what environment Secretary Gina Lopez Roy is saying.

Closing down mining firms in Caraga region is her statement that love for ecology and the future generation is important than greed. Take that mining firms and politicos out there.

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It is crazy that a medical mission in Talaingod few days ago was held hostage by the paramilitary in the area.

The medical mission organized by Save Our Schools (SOS) was joined by 16 students and teachers from UP Mindanao who conducted waste samples in the community to assess what caused the deaths of children and other lumads late last year.

They were about to return home to Davao last Sunday when their motorcycles did not come. The paramilitary group Alamara, which had driven out the Talaingod Manobos down to UCCP Haran two years ago, threatened the drivers not to fetch the students.

The group is headed by Joven Salangani, the paramilitary that killed a 15-year old Manobo student, Alibando Tingkas, last year.

Fortunately, the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and other agencies were alerted and rescued the students and they made it back home safe last Monday.

SOS spokesperson Rius Valle said it is a wonder why Salangani, who is facing an arrest warrant, is still out preying on lumads.

It is a wonder too, that government allows a war ran by paramilitaries, but could only do little to the marginalized who need medicines and schools.

“Misfortune and death seem lighter if suffered for the country and the more that we suffer, the more our love grows.” - Andres Bonifacio

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