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Acts of desperation: How can hunger lead to murder?

By Nicole Anne T. Gatilao | September 12, 2023

Last Sept. 4, a woman was stabbed while walking near a gasoline station along Real St., Dumaguete City. Unfortunately, the victim died, while the suspect is currently under the custody of Dumaguete’s Philippine National Police. According to Yes The Best Dumaguete, the reason the suspect stabbed the victim was hunger. 

In this case, how can hunger lead to murder?

Hunger is how our body communicates that we need food for energy. Today, however, the Philippine market shows an increase in prices of consumer goods like rice and meat. While Filipinos are doing everything to find ways to make ends meet, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the inflation rate of August 2023 is 5.3 percent. With a 0.6 percent increase from last month’s rate, prices of goods continue to increase. To buy food, you need money. But how can you provide something that you cannot afford? People will always resort to drastic measures to attain their needs during desperate times. 

One should understand why being unable to afford food may lead to drastic measures. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, food is part of our physiological needs. For humans to be motivated, the need for food must be satisfied. Such motivation has positive and negative implications. In this case, hunger motivated the suspect to stab the victim. We might think of it as an irrational reason to kill someone, but when you cannot afford your needs, you become desperate.

Nowadays, affordability depends on which social class you belong to. Reality-wise, not everyone can afford their needs. Factors such as income, prices, and household size matter when talking about affordability. If one has inadequate money to support their needs, they are in poverty. Hence, they are motivated to commit crimes. Poverty and criminal aspects will always have a direct relationship. People will do anything to survive, even if it leads to murder, as reflected by the stabbing incident.

Sadly, poverty is embedded in the Philippine system. With the current economic situation in the Philippines, this will not be the only incident. If a kilo of rice is not lowered to ₱20, expect more of these crimes. 

The government, through local government units, can address this. Providing free housing, building community kitchens, and granting employment to help people afford their needs should be a priority. 

Left unchecked, however, the Sept. 4 stabbing incident will not be the only act of desperation that we will encounter—others will steal, sell their bodies, sell illegal drugs, or commit other crimes. Let the stabbing incident be a reminder that people will be desperate to get their needs. So stay safe and demand from the government.

Nicole Anne T. Gatilao is a 21-year-old, College of Business Administration (CBA) student. Hailing from Guimbal, Iloilo, she is currently a 4th year student taking BSBA Major in Operations Management.

Gatilao joined several student organizations throughout her college journey. She joined the Silliman University Student Government executive committee, the CBA student organization, and the CBA student council. With this, she is the former Vice Chairperson of the SUSG Student Rights and Welfare Committee, the former Batch Representative and Secretary of the Silliman Operations Management Executives Society, and currently the Committee Head of the CBA Student Concerns Committee.

Gatilao has always been passionate about helping the community and the students in any way possible. This led to multiple webinars and lectures that she initiated. Gatilao is also a very opinionated person. She believes that dissent is a part of the freedom to express and silence will always enable.


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