Once while rummaging through old photos I came upon an old black and white photo inside an aging envelope burnt brown with age. The photo was that of a man sprawled on the floor of a bathroom covered in blood and beside him lay a shotgun. This was my grand uncle. While growing up I lost a friend the same way. It was a surprise and up to today the specific reasons that led to these tragedies one cannot be certain. There is no single solution nor a single cause. In a suicide the blame game if one is going to point to it lies at everyone’s doorstep, not one or two or three but everyone.
This is the same in the case of the recent suicide of Kristel Tejada.
The policy of the University and administration of University Policy is the responsibility of its administrators. One could argue that as an institution of the State and mandate of the government to shape the education of its citizen the responsibility , it could be argued, goes up to the highest offices of the Republic. Does the University of the Philippines have enough funds to produce scholars or Iskolars ng Bayan? Does it get enough funds to pay its faculty and facilities? As a State Institution does it have the necessary support system in place to support students? It is a responsibility the administrators, the government, and the whole community cannot escape from. In loco parentis.
An individual is shaped by the community he or she comes from. And the family – whether it be the biological or extended is the nucleus of that community. Even if one leaves it, the shadow of such a community still has its impact on the individual. Of the specific dynamics will never be certain but it is there. And what should have been done and what has been done will haunt the community, the family for some time.
And the fact that the Tejada suicide had become the news item for some time in society has made us responsible for it or if not at least affected.
First, Politicians and political groups that use the Tejada suicide for nothing better than self-promotion or getting votes by reminding all over the press that they have been champions of the students welfare;And Second, the stirring up or worse orchestrating the wanton destruction and vandalism of the facilities of cash-strapped and tax-funded Universities cheapens the tragedy on one hand and does nothing to further case – but does succeed in destroying facilities paid for by taxes and isolate the tragedy. Both could have been avoided if other forms of protests were used. The first smacks of parasite politics and the second ill-advised stratagems.
Third, in media and social media the suicide has been the focus of a number of reports, condemnation and debates. We would not known about it if it were not. It would be a tragedy when the Tejada suicide end its cycle in media and social media that nothing is learned from and nothing is done at the national, university, community, family and at our individual level.
And that would be another tragedy.