The value of one man’s life

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    WHAT is the value of a man’s life? This is a philosophical question that has baffled intellectuals for thousands of years.

    Human society generally considers human life as priceless, theoretically. In economic terms, however, it’s worth $50,000. That’s the international standard most private and government-run health insurance plans worldwide use to determine whether to cover a new medical procedure.

    Other economists say the average value of a year of quality human life is actually about $129,000. Over the years, researchers have reached a consensus that $1.5 million is much too low. Today, the US Office of Management and Budget puts the value of a human life in the range of $7 million to $9 million.

    A man or any other sentient animal has an intrinsic value. It is the value it confers on itself by desiring its own lived experience as an end in itself. It exists wherever self-valuing beings exist. Because it is self-ascribed, all animals have it.

    Our movies, books, literature, culture and media are filled to the brim with stories of heroes and martyrs, of people holding sacred values of altruism and sympathy, enough to justify their decision to give their lives for others. One more example of this occurred in Misamis Oriental recently, when Police Master Sergeant Jason Magno and Senior Master Sergeant Alice Balido responded to a distress call at Initao College where a deranged man, Ebrahim Ampaso Basher, 65, was creating trouble.

    Magno tried to pacify him, but was met with a detonated grenade hurled by Basher. Magno covered the grenade with his body to protect the students and onlookers from getting hurt.

    Balido suffered injuries from the blast, too, but was able to shoot Basher, ending the incident.

    Magno’s wake was visited by President Duterte who conferred on him, posthumously, the Order of Lapu-lapu Magalong Medal and the PNP Medal of Valor. Balido received the Order of Lapu-Lapu Kampilan medal. Magno’s family and Balido also received financial assistance from the government.

    MSgt. Magno was remembered and hailed for his gallantry and dedication as a police officer, with accolades coming from his boss, Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP officer-in-charge, and a forthcoming Senate resolution of praise courtesy of Senator Sonny Angara.

    We salute him for his heroism and sense of duty, and hope that he would be given the highest of honors for what he did for the service and for others. All the rogue policemen, all the “kotong” cops, all those Ninja cops, most especially their cohorts and bosses in the Philippine National Police, should bow their heads in shame before Magno’s grave.

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