Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Inequality even in death

Death is inevitable. No matter how rich or poor we are, our death is certain. The only question is when. It doesn’t matter how we have amassed wealth in our lifetime, there will come a time that we will leave all these worldly possessions behind.

It’s just sad that even in death; people are still categorized according to their social status. The difference between people who have died rich and those who have died poor is glaring even in the cemeteries. Rich people are laid to rest on wide mausoleum while the poor are buried in cramped apartment type gravesites.

We know that this is a fact of life and it is not the rich people’s problem if they can afford large mausoleums for the final resting place of their loved ones. However, it doesn’t look good when you put this sad truth in writing. Last Sunday, Donna and I went to the Manila South Cemetery to visit her father’s gravesite. We noticed a new section in the cemetery that is dedicated to poor people. A marker was placed conspicuously with the words that to me look offensive. It says “Libingan ng Maralita.” Obviously, this section is dedicated to people who cannot afford to pay for costly grave lots. Why the need for name-calling? Why do we need to emphasize that this is the final resting place of people who may have lived poor and died poor?

Ironically, the place is just a few hundred meters away from the grave of a former Philippine president and some of the biggest gravesites in this cemetery. This to me is a glaring proof of the widening gap of the rich and the poor in this country. Whoever thought of putting up this section may have good intentions but they could have thought of a better name for the marker.

I strongly believe that every Filipino has the right to be buried with dignity.

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