Negros Occidental

Daughter of slain farmer in Negros Occidental misses dad ahead of graduation

Reymund Titong

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Daughter of slain farmer in Negros Occidental misses dad ahead of graduation

CARAMIHAN FAMILY. A photo collage of Jose Caramihan with his wife and daughter Charlene.

Photos courtesy of Charlene Caramihan

'Kayo ang dahilan kung bakit ako nagpapatuloy sa aking mga pangarap,' Charlene Caramihan says in her graduation day letter to her parents that she had prepared a month before her father's death. She is set to graduate with a degree in education in June.

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Remaining optimistic in the face of adversity may seem like a mere wish to those living through difficult times, especially when a loved one suffered a tragic death.

This is the case of Charlene Caramihan, daughter of slain farmer Jose Caramihan who was killed during a clash between the military and communist rebels in Escalante City on February 21.

Since his father’s death, Charlene had to balance her studies with her personal responsibilities, including caring for her ill mother, younger sibling, and their farm. Charlene mother also used to toil in a sugarcane plantation in the sweltering heat so that Charlene could attend school and continue with her on-the-job training. 

Charlene is set to graduate with a degree in secondary education, majoring in Filipino, from Mount Carmel College of Escalante Incorporated in June.

In an interview with Rappler on Friday, May 17,  Charlene said it pained her how that her father would not be able be with her on graduation day. She recalled that when she told her father that he would eventually have a child who would become a teacher, he seemed more delighted than she was. 

To make her graduation day more memorable, Charlene said she even prepared a letter to her parents as early as January, which she was supposed to give and read to them on graduation day.

In her unsent letter to her parents dated January 12, 2024, Charlene wrote: “I am blessed that you are my parents because you have never turned your back when it comes to my dreams. You supported me financially even though I know it’s not easy.” 

“Ma, Pa, mahal na mahal ko po kayo. Kayo ang dahilan kung bakit ako nagpapatuloy sa aking mga pangarap. Hinihiling ko sa kanya [God] na bigyan pa kayo ng mahabang panahon o buhay dito sa mundo para ipakita sa inyo ang buhay na aking ninanais na maranasan ninyo,” part of the letter read. 

(Ma, Pa, I really love you. You are the reason why I keep holding onto my dreams. I wish to God that He grant you the  grace to live a longer  life so that I can show you the kind of life I truly wanted for you.)

She said her parents are extraordinary and that she would do anything to repay them for everything they had done for her.

After graduation, she said she wants to find a decent job while she prepares for her board examination. –

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