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small voices

By tintinsaldo Feb 28, 2014 455 Words
Melinda (Alessandra de Rossi) is a new substitute teacher at the Malawig Elementary School, located in a poor remote barrio. A young university graduate, her family expects her to look for work abroad, but in her idealism she takes on a challenging job in the provincial public school, which lacks resources and has corrupt personnel. The heavy monsoon rains and the nearby NPAs also add to her difficulties. The children are indifferent to their studies, having been affected by the hopelessness around them. Melinda tries to motivate them by capitalizing on their interest and talent in singing. She takes advantage of a funding opportunity to enter them in a choral contest. She encounters some resistance, however, from the school administration and from the parents of her students. Furthermore, the death of one of the choral group’s members at the hands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines casts a pall on their once joyful preparations. Melinda, however, constantly tries to rise above these challenges. "At every step, the child should be allowed

to meet real experiences in life; the thorns
should never be plucked from his roses"
-Ellen Key, Swedish reformer and educationalist

The realities that besiege Philippine society nowadays greatly affect Filipinos, men, women, young and old. Children are at high risk of suffering the enormous effects of poverty, illiteracy, poor health and insurgency to name a few, effects which could corrupt their hearts and minds, and rob them of their "childhood" and future. At a young age, children do not have the grasp of understanding the realities that surround them; they become victims of circumstance, deprived of the opportunity to "grow", live a normal life that every child deserves, and undergo the holistic process of psychological development. The film "Mga Munting Tinig" gives us a glimpse of the experiences of children in a rural community, living a simple life yet full of hardship, surrounded with illiteracy, hopelessness, and insurgency. The children's daily experiences at Malawig Elementary School, where the main character Melinda teaches and pupils like Popoy and Ida are schooling is an epitome of the still existing poor quality of education in rural schools, characterized by incompetent teaching staff, dilapidated buildings and equipments, scarcity of books, student absenteeism, and many other things considered "normal" and typical scenes in the localities that badly need concrete and immediate actions of the concerned agencies of the government. The movie, generally, directly presents said irregularities in rural schools to the extent of "inferiorating" the image and competency of teachers, the "intentional" ignorance on the part of the supervisors and education officials to see the pitiable conditions of schools and students, and the government's continuing neglect of providing Filipino children quality education and their families' economic.

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