In the province of Iloilo alone 179 people aged 9 to 21 tried to kill themselves in the past three years. Financial and social factors, including online bullying, are behind the trend. The cardinal notes that life is a gift, and a cultural renewal is needed.
Manila (AsiaNews/CBCP) – The Philippines is facing an alarmingly high rate of suicide, one that is increasing. In light of the situation, Card Luis Antonio Tagle issued a statement after Christmas, expressing his deep shock and pain for the trend, but hoping that a cultural renewal can counter the problem.
The message of the Archbishop of Manila, who was recently appointed head of Propaganda Fide, notes that “The mystery of Christmas is contrary to the drive, the desire and the impulse to destroy people, lives, families, societies and creation”.
In September, a provincial board in Iloilo drew attention to an increased trend in suicide and mental illness in the province.
About 179 people, aged nine to 21, attempted suicide between 2016 to 2019, 35 successfully, the Philippine News Agency reported.
“Suicide rates went up alarmingly in 2018 up to June 2019 with about 100 recorded suicides across all ages,” said Iloilo 3rd District Board Member Matt Palabrica.
The leading causes of suicide have been identified as problems in the family, financial issues, romantic relationships, trouble at school, and bullying.
For Palabrica, in-depth studies should be conducted into suicide and the reasons for the rising trend. “We want to know” why it is happening, he explained.
As he gets ready to leave for Rome and his new post, Card Tagle also expressed concern about the growing cases of bullying, especially on social media, which contribute to suicides.
“We are saddened and shocked to see how some people find pleasure and ‘success’ in having shattered other people’s lives,” Tagle said.
“We are even more disturbed to see young people already bent on harming themselves and ending their lives,” he added.
Noting that the meaning of life as a gift is giving oneself and the gift of Christ to the world, the prelate urged people “not forget that the gifts we give and receive are some symbols and signs of the greatest gift that God the Father has sent us, His son Jesus”.