Willie, please stop humiliating the poor
Update: Social Services Secretary wrote Manny V. Pangilinan, owner of TV5
I’m in a dilemma about posting this very cruel video here because it’s like adding to the humiliation of Jan-jan. But at the same time, we cannot be talking and enjoining people to join hands in putting a stop to this deplorable practice without showing the incident.
I’m reposting here the letter of Cathy Babao-Guballa about the incident.
I captured a shot in the video. If you want to see the whole video here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YRCxh9q64w. It was too painful for me.
My heart broke as I watched you cry on television. You should never have been there in the first place.
There are many people to blame for the humiliation that you went through. What took place should have never happened if people had… been doing their jobs, if people had only known better. First of all, I cannot understand how your tita would teach you to dance that way!! You are only six years old and what do you know about the world? I’m sure you are a very bright, sensitive, and talented little boy, that much I could see.
That’s another reason why it was so painful for me to watch you suffer. You were, in fact, the only one in that studio who knew that what was happening was so very wrong. You rely on your parents and your guardians to take care of you. They need to ensure that you grow up to become healthy in mind, body and spirit. But by allowing you to suffer that way, they miserably failed you.
It’s not all about the money, Jan-jan. The dignity of every child must be upheld. By allowing you to perform that way, they trampled on you and made you feel so small. I could see the fear and embarrassment in your eyes. It was undeniable. If there was only some way to rescue you from that moment, I’m sure every parent worth their salt would have done so.
Poverty must never be an excuse to humiliate people. A child must be allowed to be a child. This terrible experience has probably left a mark on your soul and my prayer is that you will not be damaged by it forever. And this is why this insanity has to stop.
I have no explanation for the way that the crowd treated you that evening. I feel very sad at what we have become as a people. That these adults would actually find it entertaining to see a young boy like you shamed that way. That these so-called adults did not see beyond the lewd gyrations to see the little boy with warm tears running down his face. It pains me that we have become so desensitized as a people, that we would allow a child to suffer that way. But for me, the biggest fault that evening falls on Willie Revillame’s shoulders. I have no explanation for what possessed him to egg on the crowd, to say those words to you, to liken you to a burlesk dancer. Willie had the power in that moment to stop, no, to prevent you from even performing your dance number. Had he done so, he may have even redeemed himself in a way. But what did he do? He gave you the money that you perhaps came for so that you could give it to your parents who for the life of me perhaps did not know any better than to send you there. And he egged you on…
Willie, a parent many times over, and a grandfather – did he not see the faces of his children or of his grandson when he was egging you on to dance a second or a third time? That he found enjoyment in watching you, and poking fun at you as you cried and looked so miserable was to my mind inexcusable. You are a child, and you are supposed to be loved and protected. Your right to protection is provided for under the law. I am so sorry that we failed to do this for you.
The image of your face has been running through my head over the last couple of days. What happened to you that day must not go to waste. If we can save even one other child from having to go through what you had to endure then all these efforts we are now doing will not be in vain.
We can no longer turn back the hands of time and take away your pain, Jan-jan, but we can always give a deeper meaning to the humiliation you went through it by working together, hand in hand, to ensure that no other child, or minor, for that matter will ever have to suffer the way you did on national television.
I hope someday when you recall this moment, it will no longer bring you shame. Your tears will not go to waste. In doing what you did, before millions of people in and out of the studio, you woke us all up and in the process, perhaps saved so many other children from ever having to go through what you did. You are a brave little boy Jan-jan, always remember that.
Cathy S. Babao Guballa
March 27, 2011