I was walking along calle Pedro Gil today when I passed by a group of very young women who, if not for their ultra-tight clothes which were barely covering their nubile bodies and the cigarettes they had between their lips, I wouldn'y have given them a second look. But hey, they were obviously very young (18 to the untrained eye) but for someone who has had training in recognizing red flag signs of abuse in children, it was pretty obvious that they were only between 13-16, and were already being made to work as prostitutes (on the street at 5.30PM). The teased hair didn't do enough to hide the young years behind their almost blank stares.
I suddenly remembered my friend Vince who wrote the screenplay for a short film entitled 'RITWAL' (Ritual), submitted to the CCP last year, regarding a mother who was getting her daughter prepped for work - as a prostitute. And thus the ritwal or rite of passage takes effect.
Just like the boom-bust cyclic trend the Philippine economy is notorious for (no wonder Moody's won't budge from the ratings it just gave us lately because scoring in our tax collections last April wasn't enough reason for an upgrade unless it is sustained), the cycle of life in Filipino society has remained the same for decades. Old prostitutes fade, new meat (sorry) take their place.
It is very sad to see that the oldest profession in the world remains to be a career of choice of women in our country. This says much about how far we have "prospered" as a nation and as a people.