Category Archives: women

Condoms and the Presidential Election

This is the news, “Women activists present condoms to Philippine bishops.” What’s new? The Philippine Catholic bishops have been waging a bitter war with the government against the use of contraceptives. The Catholic church has never been weakened with its stiff stand against Family Planning and the use of artificial methods of birth control.

The Philippine Catholic Bishops have always been critical of any administration or political parties that support birth control and family planning. In fact presidential aspirants in the like of Senator Noynoy Aquino have been very careful with their stand with regards to population issues. The Bishop can always call on the Catholic faithful some 75 millions out of the 90 to 100 million Filipinos not to vote for any candidate who supports the family planning program of the government. One of the important criteria the good Bishops are looking to any politician vying for an elective position in the government is his policies and stand on the issues of family planning and birth control.

Even if President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo knows the significance of high birth rate in combating poverty problems in the Philippines, having been once a DSWD secretary, she tends to be careful with its population management program so as not to provoke the ire of the already critical Clergies to her administration. The bishops also took advantage of the government soft stand on Family Planning and birth control by calling for a ban on the advertisement of condom however the Arroyo’s administration only shrugged off their demands.

As if trying to maim the bishops stiff opposition on birth control and contraceptives, here comes Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral (former DSWD Secretary) “handing out condoms on February 13 as part of an information campaign on HIV-AIDS.” Her action may not necessarily be the collective stand of the government but nobody in the bureaucracy stood up to sanction her. She had not violated any law, she just exercised her political independence to promote actions responsive for the health and general welfare of the entire population. Yet the Bishops angrily called for her to resign.

But Health Secretary Cabral found allies on women’s health and rights advocate groups like the Party of the Workers who picketed and presented two baskest full of condoms at the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops Conference.

Judy Ann Miranda, the party’s secretary-general asked the bishops to “bless the condoms as a conciliatory gesture to unite for reproductive health and women’s rights” but unfortunately no bishop was around to receive/bless it.

As a response to the women activists action the bishops said, through spokesman Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, that they could not compromise on the church’s opposition to birth control devices. Again, a manifestation of the unwavering Catholic dogma on contraceptive devices which are perceived to tamper with the flow of nature and life. They the bishops however have no specific response on how to promote women’s reproductive health and quality of life.

“If contraceptives are immoral, nothing can change that… not even the vote of the whole country can change that,” Quitorio said. But should he not consider also immoral to see the health of women deteriorate just because couples are denied on the used of contraceptive devices. I think there is nothing more immoral than allowing spread of diseases and overpopulating the limited space we have in this country just because we can not control our rapid population growth.

And going back to politics, is the issue on contraceptives a leverage for a politician to improve his chances of winning in the presidential race? Will the good bishops support senator Manny Villar if he makes a covenant with the Catholic Church in the Philippines never to support legislative measures that advocate the use of contraceptives and other birth control devices? What will happen to the leading presidential candidate on surveys now should he decide to go against the bishops on their resistance to contraceptives and population control programs of the government?

So there we go, peace on earth and condom to all!

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Filed under Community life, democracy, education, Philippine government, Religion, Religion and sexual behavior, Reproductive Health, social justice, Wealth, Poverty, women

Index of Happiness

“Gusto ko Happy Kayo (I want you to be happy)” – Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

It has been said that life is a combination of joys and sorrows. Life is a game, and it is up to us how to play and win. But every person deserves some kind of joy and happiness in his journey to this life. But what makes a person happy?

To be happy one should know what does it mean to by happy and the sources of human joy of happiness. The index of happiness vary from “people to people and from culture to culture.” What is treated as happiness to some may be rejected by others.

There are several school of thoughts which try to define happiness.

1. “Spiritualistic School of Thought”, which recited, that real happiness consists essentially in spiritual mode of life.
2. “Materialistic School of Thought” upholds that real happiness lies simply in the conduct of materialism.

3.“Rationalistic School of Thought” stresses that only reason/wisdom and logic can attain happiness.

4. “Islamic School of Thought” states that the three types of life: the spiritual, the material and the rational are together essential elements of real happiness life. Divine Reality and the basic concept of the Oneness and Perfect Attributes of God gives real happiness and blessings.

But what is “real happiness?” For many religious believers they say it is a state of perfection attainable only in the life hereafter. Unfortunately happiness in this context happiness is not in our world. Religion tells us that real happiness happens only when people will receive eternal reward for their good deeds on Earth.

Likewise religious teachings, doctrines and philosophies “shield people from painful realities, such as human immortality, the lack of ultimate justice, and the ravages of an indifferent natural world.” Of course there are studies which support that religious believers are happier than non-believers around the world. It is because they experience a “sense of social support, as well as sense of purpose and hope for the future.” Take it from them, if you negate the egos of the heart, you will experience relative peace and happiness. That is if you agree with the religious people that happiness is not confined only to materialistic things but to the blessings and submission to the Lord Almighty God.

But at the passage of time religion and materialism now combine to induce one’s happiness now and hereafter. So Chalmers introduces three things that will make a person truly happy in this world: 1) someone to love, 2) something to do, and 3) something to hope for.

In the practical side of life, the poor believes that it’s economic prosperity that could bring happiness in this life. But this is not guarantee however for one to be ultimately happy because at the arrival of enormous wealth his life will be stressed on how to keep and make his wealth grows. Senator Manny Villar who raised from rags to riches is now haunted by the C-5 controversies. Wealth can be a source of happiness, it can also be a source of pains, sorrows and humiliations.

Yes the concepts of happiness have changed in our modern time. Happiness is not something that happens; not even a result of good fortune, and something that money can buy. It does not depend on outside events but how we interpret them ourselves. “Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person. People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives.”

Ang kaligayan daw ay nasa isip lang. Papano naman kung kumakalam ang iyong sikmura? Para sa akin ang kaligayahan ay isang bagay ng hinahangad, minsan iyong makakamtam. At kung minsan naman ay mabibigo ka. Ang kaligayahan sa isang banda ay ang patuloy mong pakikibaka sa buhay at pananagumpay. Ang tunay na kaligayahan ay bunga ng ating dugo at pawis, paghihirap, at pagpupunyagi. Wala sa kamay ng mga pulitiko at pamahalaan. Instrumento lang sila at bahagi ng pagpupunyaging iyan.

Ang umaayaw daw ay hindi nagwawagi, ang nagwawagi ay laging maligaya.

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Filed under Christian living, Religion, Salvation, social justice, Trust, Wealth, Poverty, women

Avoiding Another Maguindanao Massacre- The Role of the Family

The home plays a very important role in the development of and individual to become a functional and law abiding citizen of his country and community. If we have a weak family, we have weak individuals, weak leaders, and weak government.

As observed, the main problem the country is facing today is not due to weak economy but weak spirituality. If our leaders are spiritually strong then we shall have an honest and transparent system of government. The greed and lust of power that transpire in our social system is but a product of a morally corrupted environment where the home or family did not perform well its duties and functions. What the children see at home is a reflection of what they do in their very own society.

The politically motivated massacre that happened last week in Maguindano which caused the lives of some 64 people mostly women and journalists is but a by product of unhealthy home environment. Apparently there is something wrong with the kind of family or home environment those people involved the alleged rape and massacre of women have been raised. Did their parents teach them how to respect life, not to harm people particularly women and children? Where they raised as responsible individuals who abhor violence and respect existing laws of the land?

Unfortunately dereliction basic parental duties to your offspring is costly not only to your family but to the government and the society as a whole. You may not know it but you have just created a human monster or a beast that may harm people and rub our government treasury of capital resources, etc. Further aggravating the problem of corruption in the government and all forms violence and crime in the society is what people experience and observe in the environment where they live. All forms of learning is observed, transferred, and perfected. This may also apply to the proliferation of vices and crime.

Politics and “warlordism” have generated a culture of violence where the only thing that matters is money and the barrel of the guns in resolving any conflict, disputes and some other issues. If you have political connection then you have gold, guns, and goons. You become untouchable and you are in control of everything in your territory. In a system like this it is no longer the government and laws that control people and the society but people with power, money, arms, and connection to the highest echelon of the government. The thing is- they are tolerated for whatever reason.

So it is easy to kill, to rape women, and shoot them in their private parts. Horrendous, only the beasts not human could do such a satanic act and crime. This is supposed to be a civilized world. Don’t parents tell their children not to lie, to steal, cheat, and harm others? Did not their church tell them that only the devil could harm unarmed human beings? In the Muslim tradition women are respected and not harmed; journalists are supposed to be spared; but this had happened already.

The passion for violence starts from the family. What children see from the father or elders is what they are going to be when they become old. Political leaders who are supposed to correct and prevent these acts through law enforcement fail to perform their duties either by neglect or simply tolerating it. Where did your parent go wrong?

We become unnecessarily poor because of graft and corruption, criminality, vices, immorality, and indolence. What has our leaders who promised reforms and progress accomplished over the years to correct this problem? Nothing is done much because our family system has done nothing too to improve the upbringing and disciplining of children so that they become useful and responsible citizens.

The cycle of violence and corruption shall continue for as long as the family does not really perform well its basic obligation and role as one of the most important units of the society.

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Filed under democracy, education, government, Justice, Philippine government, Philosophical and psychological foundation of trust, politics, Population Control, rape, Salvation, Sex and Politics, women

Run after the killers… Maguindanao Massacre

I don’t know what kind of people are those who perpetrated the senseless killing of women and innocent victims. I don’t know if those people who killed journalists whose only reason to be there was to inform the public have hearts and soul? They could do things more than what the devil could do; rape and kill women just to sow fear and send a message to their political rivals–don’t go against us.

Politics, political rivalry nothing else is the reason behind the Maguindanao Massacre according to media practitioners, political analysts, law enforcers, and ordinary citizens. Why?

A portion from abs-cbnNEWS.com report yesterday has this to say:

Buluan vice mayor Ismael “Toto” Mangudadatu told ANC that his wife, Jenn, his sister, and some relatives were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy on his behalf when a group of about 100 armed men abducted them.

Mangudadatu, who is running for governor of Maguindanao, said some 15 media men who went to cover the event were also seized.

The Mangudadatus believe the abduction was politically motivated. Madaser “Toy” Mangudadato, a member of regional legislative assembly of ARMM, told ANC that they sent their female relatives to file the certificate of candidacy for “Toto” in the hope that their political rivals would not harm them.

Toy said they were warned that if Toto will personally file his candidacy, he will be hurt

Meanwhile president Arroyo declared a state of emergency in Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat to prevent further blood-shed. “There is an urgent need to prevent and suppress the occurrence of several other incidents of lawless violence,” according to Press Secretary Cerge Remonde. This (indefinite state of emergency) will give the military and police adequate powers of arrest and detention for peace and justice.

On the other hand senators who have been very critical to this administration expressed concern of possible whitewash on the massacre as those suspected to have to have masterminded the crime are closest allies of the president. So they dare the president to go after her political allies the Ampatuans. But Malacanang however assured the public that there’s going to be no sacred cow to be spared in the investigation. All of the suspected perpetrators will be brought to justice to answer for their crime.

As of this writing, 24 more bodies have been recovered by the authorities in the area and that the massacre toll already rose to 46.

The entire nation is watching, the world is observing us, the president has no other prerogative but to arrests the perpetrators including those political leaders suspected of masterminding it. At this time when president Arroyo’s acceptability rating is plunging down to the lowest, her resolve perhaps to run after these ruthless killers and lock them behind bars may help in any way reverse public’s negative perception of her administration.

Perhaps before her term ends, at least the public will be aware that the president has done one great thing in her country in the dispensation of justice for those senselessly killed.

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Filed under democracy, government, Justice, Muslim Religion, Philippine government, politics, rape, women

Women Who Are So Loved By Their People

Filipinos have Cory as their icon of democracy. Burmese on the other look at Suu Kyi as their inspiration in their struggle for freedom and democracy. But where Cory has already succeeded (restoring Phlippine democracy), Suu Kyi is still trying for over twenty years now. In fact she is under house arrest, as she has always been.

She has another 18 months again to serve having been found guilty of violating her house arrest by allowing an ill American, who swam his way to her home, to stay. Suu Kyi, a 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has already been in detention (house arrest) for 14 of the last 20 years.

Her detention under house arrest for another 18 months is crucial for the Junta organized-elections next year. At least she’ll be out of the political scene, a move which is perceive to undemine free and honest elections in Burma.

Of course the sentence drew outrage around the world specially from Western Government and international human rights groups. Members of the Association of South-east Asian Nations is also disappointed on the said action of one of their government member tagged as the Asean’s problem child. The European Union is now considering economic sanctions against this erring nation.

Suu Kyi has always been seeking for a peaceful means to change the nature of Burmese government into democracy. Though detained (in her own home) by Burmese authorities, she’s still a potent political power to reckon; feared most by the Military Junta. The kind of supports she gets from the people places is feared most by the Military Junta.

Burmese generals know pretty well that among their ranks are young and idealistic military men who are only waiting for the right time to topple this decades long military government. Suu Kyi provides the inspiration for the transfer of power in the hands of civilian authorities.

“I hope we can all work for peace and prosperity of the country,” Suu Kyi said in a soft voice to diplomats seated nearby who attended this 90-minute court session. She’s still composed and commands great respect and authority.

Cory is gone, mourned by millions of Filipinos who admire and revere her commitment to freedom and democracy; but Suu Kyi is still alive to continue with her struggle for her country’s freedom and democracy. As Cory had the backing of people behind her, Suu Kyi too has the support of millions of Burmese people in her ideals and quest for freedom and democracy.

It’s a matter of time, no guns and cannons can stifle the resilliency of people to fight for their freedom. Suu Kyi will always be there to give them that inspiration while the Military Junta trembles upon their destruction.

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Filed under democracy, Economic Survival, government, Heroism, Justice, Myanmar Struggle for Freedom, Philippine government, politics, UN Security Council, United Nations, Wealth, Poverty, women