Haze, hazing

"Hazing has been outlawed but is still being done on the sly."



Two major events were the subject headlines of last week’s newspapers. The first is the haze that wafted to Singapore, Malaysia and southern Philippines from the forest fires in Indonesia. There is also the sweeping fire in the Amazon forest of Brazil, even as that is too far to affect us.

These forest fires and the constant flooding in other parts of the world are a grim reminder that Mother Nature is reacting with a backlash to man’s abuse of the environment.

The other man-made abuse of another man was the death of a cadet, hazing victim at the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio. Why in heaven’s name do upperclassmen want to inflict bodily harm on a lowerclassman? To assert their masculinity and to let others know what they themselves also went through? No wonder a culture of violence permeates the ranks of the military in their operations against criminal suspects.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesman Gen. Edgar Arevalo said the prime suspects in the hazing death of Darwin Dormitorio have been identified and that criminal, administrative and civil cases will be filed against them. Demerits and possible expulsion are also being sought by the victim’s parents, who are from Cagayan de Oro.

Hazing has been outlawed in the military academy and in school fraternities but it seems it is still being done on the sly and not reported unless a hazing victim dies.

Aside from 20-year-old Dormitorio, two other cadets were confined at the PMA hospital for stomach ache. Dormiorio, before he died, also complained of stomach ache. Hazing victims are struck with fists and paddles to the stomach as facial injuries are easier seen and diagnosed by doctors. Damage to vital internal organs probably caused Dormitorio’s death.

Before the Domitorio case, there was the Atio Castillio hazing death inflicted by University of Santo Tomas fraternity members. This and the Dormitorio death bring us to the question why hazing continues. Is it being tolerated by school officials or they simply do not know what’s going on in their schools?

Polio is back

Polio has remerged in the Philippines after decades of absence. The first recent case was reported in Davao and then Zamboanga. Striking closer to Metro Manila a polio case was reported in Biñan, Laguna.

Alarmed Department of Health officials have launched a vaccination drive of children below five years old, the age most susceptible to the paralyzing disease.

The cause of polio’s return to the Philippines, according to DOH officials and local governments, is the lack of toilets in thousands of households specially among informal settlers. Fecal waste is disposed of along esteros and rivers. With these waterways clogged, the coliform germs are spread further in floodwaters during rainy days. So, think twice before wading in floodwaters. You and your children might get more than leptospirosis.

So much is happening to this benighted land. Aside from polio, the African Swine Fever is also sweeping the local hog industry. Even poor families are staying away from eating pork but cannot afford the rising prices of fish and vegetables.

Adding to the rising cost of basic commodities is the spiraling prices of petroleum products at the pump because of the missile attack of Saudi Arabian oil facilities. The US and Saudi Arabia point to Iran as the culprit of this attack that has affected global prices of oil. This is worrisome if the US and Saudis retaliate against Iran. It will be more than a regional war but a conflagration of frightening consequences that could lead to World War III as military alliances of both sides get involved.

China is the second-biggest country after the United States in the consumption of oil. Unlike the US which has strategic oil reserves from Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma and the Gulf of Mexico, China is dependent on the Middle East, mainly from Iran, for its oil supply. But with trouble in protests-rocked Hong Kong, China might not be up to it in challenging the US with its vast firepower and long-range nuclear capability. It would be Armageddon with the fallout affecting every country including the Philippines.

Perhaps it’s time to choose whose side we are on: A US colony or a sub-province of China like Hong Kong?

Topics: Alejandro del Rosario , Haze , hazing , forest fires , Indonesia , Philippine Military Academy , Darwin Dormitorio , Polio
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