PNP Chief Dela Rosa plays Santa to kids of those killed, caught in Tokhang
A total of 120 children of drug suspects received gifts from Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa (Bato), who dressed as Santa Claus at an event on Thursday.
Dela Rosa said giving gifts is the PNP’s way of bringing cheer to the lives of children whose parents have either no income, are in jail, or were killed during anti-illegal drug operations.
-Amita Legaspi, GMA NEWS ONLINE 01 Dec 2016
He believed his intentions were pure
and shiny like his lightbulb head when,
sometime after All Souls’ Day, he wondered
what it must be like to be a child
who had lost a parent. Perhaps once
when he was still small he had pretended
being an orphan, as most children do,
and that helped him arrive at the grand idea
of dressing up as Santa to bring some cheer.
How difficult could it be? Having no hair
meant that white wig would fit nicely,
not at all uncomfortable. The red suit
with fluffy white trimmings must be breathable
cotton, like the elf hat. Not at all like
being wrapped in a garbage bag and tagged.
Since he’s big and solid as a chunk of rock,
a kid on his lap will feel like a stuffed toy,
or an inflatable beach ball. Still, he has to be
gentle. These kids may not remember
that lost parent for a day, or forever
if they’re lucky to be too young to retain
memories. But surely they’ll never forget
the day TokHang Santa came for them, the chosen
120 from the ever-growing thousands.
“TokHang” is a contraction of the Visayan words “toktok” (knock) and “hangyo” (request).
Since this is a first draft, I welcome all feedback, critiques, comments – as always. Thank you in advance.
December 7th, 2016 at 09:12
THANKS, Jim, for sharing “TokHang Santa” and “Carrion Flies” (I wonder if one might omit “Congressmen” from the title?). I also wonder if Filipino-Tagalog might have more immediate power (since you’re well-versed too in that national tongue)? Is it also possible for the poem’s speaker to be Bato himself reflecting on his project as Tokhang Santa (in which case, the title will serve only as the poet’s own comment)?
December 7th, 2016 at 11:45
Thank you, Sir Jimmy – for visiting my little blog and for your comments. I did have Bato’s voice to start off, and in Filipino, then decided it was too forced. I’ll think about re-visioning it in Filipino. I’ll think about the Congressmen title, too. Marami pong salamat!
December 14th, 2016 at 18:38