THE story of Rustie Quintana, the street urchin that became a college graduate, eventually has made waves in the Filipino populace, starting from a feature article of an online news platform, to the airwaves of television on last Saturday’s “Maaalaala Mo Kaya (MMK).”
the longest-running real-life based drama show, where the stories are “written” by real-life people through letter, and then read by host Charo Santos-Concio (who would become president of ABS-CBN some decades later), and then reenacted by actors who are sometimes do not live up to their expectations (but there are also who are worth the praise to extent they get an award).
And so last Saturday, the whole nation came to know more about Rustie, and based on the TV show’s narrative, the nation have seen not just about Rustie but the probability of a Cagayan de Oro backdrop when Rustie was growing up.
First, the underground fight clubs operated by a ring of syndicates and possibly choosing minor as fighters.
This can be probably true, around two years ago, film director Brillante Mendoza traveled to Cagayan de Oro to research about underground fight clubs. He must have toured places around the country which have one.
But there are also “fights” that are legal and public, that is the amateur boxing matches happening at the old amphitheatre on Capistrano Street. Every Sunday, hopeful children from different barangays of the city, and sometimes outside the city, compete, and in turn may have the potentials to be trained under the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (formerly Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines) (ABAP), the governing body of amateur boxing in the Philippines and has regional and provincial chapters including Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.
Second, the ring of syndicates operating the city.This can partly explain the surge of criminality in the city. Even in broad daylight, robberies happen not just in stores but also inside jeepneys.
Third, vigilantes? So, anonymous motorcycle riders with guns killing suspected criminals are also a thing in the city and not just in Davao City, then.
We may be aware of it all along for a long time but Rustie’s MMK story can possibly attest to what is happening, or it used to, and it can be more dangerous than how it was reenacted on TV. Now that Rustie is a grownup man, the question of whether these “underground” realities remain active is still worth pondering.
And now that we have an idea of these realities, is it possible that there is something the government do, and even the people, in addressing these issues? It is quite challenging since it may entail a course of action that can be worth one’s life.
There are still many Rusties out there, but they may not be as lucky or as diligent as Rustie to fight for their own future.