Mutya ng Masa: Why epileptic boy collects junk

by Rose Carmelle Lacuata,

Posted at May 07 2014 12:40 AM | Updated as of May 08 2014 06:16 AM

MANILA - A boy who suffers from epileptic seizures, instead of staying at home, goes out and collects plastic bottles and other street junk just to help his grandmother in their daily expenses.

On Tuesday's episode of "Mutya ng Masa," Doris Bigornia visited Gelson and his grandmother in their shanty in Pasig City.

Gelson's grandmother, Rosie Santos, said he used to be an active and cheerful boy. He spent time with his playmates and did things that young boys usually do.

However, he suffered a fall when he was 9 years old. Since then, he had been suffering from seizures.

Gelson also stopped studying after his classmates started taunting and insulting him.

"Pinatigil ko na siyang mag-aral, kasi natakot ako na mambato siya sa school. Kapag kasi tinutukso siya ng mga bata, nambabato siya," Aling Rosie said.

The boy's condition was aggravated by his parents' separation. He was taken by his mother to Bicol to live with her.

However, Gelson returned to Manila after he throw stones at his grandparents.

"Ibinalik dito sa akin ng balae ko, kasi parang luko-luko daw. Nambabato kasi, binato niya ang balae ko," Aling Rosie narrated.

Aling Rosie supports her granchild by washing clothes, earning P300 a week, which she spends on food and Gelson's medicine.

Because she is not earning enough, she cannot always buy Gelson's medicines.

"Kapag hindi siya nakakainom ng gamot, nangingisay, bumubula ang bibig," she said.

Aling Rosie was surprised when she discovered that Gelson leaves the house to look for plastic bottles and other items that he can sell in junk shops.

"Nagulat na lang ako, minsan umuwi siya may dalang 1/4 na asukal. Minsan iniipon niya yung pera, minsan pinambibili niya ng asukal, ng kape."

Gelson also gives her some money when she needs it.

Aling Rosie is thankful for Gelson, but she also worries about her grandchild spending time on the streets, especially in his condition.

"Kapag labasan na, natatakot ako kasi niloloko siya ng mga tao. Minsan umuwi siya na parang lasing, pinainom pala sa labasan," she added.

She also narrated the time when Gelson climbed a tree to get mangoes he can sell.

"Minsan umakyat sa puno, kumukuha ng mangga, ibinebenta niya. Nahulog siya sa puno, pang-12 beses na niya nahulog."

Since that incident, Aling Rosie noted that Gelson's condition seemed to get worse.

There was also a time when Gelson did not go home for two days. From Pasig City, the boy reached Taguig City while looking for items to sell.

He was only able to get home when a neighbor recognized him and brought him home.

Despite his condition and his experiences, Gelson continue to go out on the streets and collect junk, to the point that his father had to hit him just to stop him from going out of the house.

"Minsan nasasaktan siya ng tatay niya kasi matigas ang ulo niya, pero ginagawa pa rin niya," Aling Rosie said.

Because of her age, Aling Rosie worries about her grandchild, especially when the time comes that she has to leave him behind.

"Kung ako ang mauuna, kawawa siya."

When brought to a hospital, it was discovered that Gelson, aside from suffering from seizures, is also suffering from developmental delay.

According to a doctor, Gelson's development is slower than other children his age. His seizures were cited as a factor that contributed to his developmental delay.

When one suffers from seizures, the brain loses oxygen, which also affects the person's development.

A social worker from the local government of Pasig City also found out that Gelson is suffering from intellectual disability, and needs to feel the love from his father and his grandmother.

He will also be enrolled in a special education class provided by the city government.