ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—A 14-year-old boy who police said had been complaining about being poor and having to work on a rubber plantation to earn a living at a tender age finally hanged himself last Thursday after several earlier attempts to end his life.
Chief Insp. Ariel Huesca, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao police command, said that for weeks before killing himself, John Mark Peralta Sorino, had made an issue of his being a child laborer. He worked as a rubber tree tapper on a plantation in Barangay Galingon in Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte.
A tapper cuts grooves on the bark around a rubber tree to make sap drip into containers attached at the end of the grooves.
Citing a statement given by Sorino’s grandmother, Lolita Peralta, to Tampilisan police investigators, Huesca said the boy did not understand why he had to work at such an early age.
Huesca said the boy was also hurting from having come from a broken family and was so depressed that he had tried several times in the past few weeks to end his life.
“He had repeatedly told his grandmother that he was already tired of working as a rubber tapper,” he said.
But the grandmother told police that her grandson continued to work to support her as she could no longer take on a job due to an illness, Huesca said.
He said the grandmother believed that the boy might have been so depressed that he repeatedly tried but failed to kill himself during the past weeks.
“Around 10 a.m. on June 6, Mrs. Peralta found her grandson’s lifeless body hanging from a truss in her house in her house,” Huesca said.
He said neighbors rushed the boy to the Tampilisan Rural Health Center but efforts by Dr. Nathielda Ladesa to resuscitate him failed.