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Single mothers

12:07 AM May 09, 2017

Tito Sotto has crossed the line.

I had been warned by the ending semester’s deadlines, but I could not let it pass. Not because my opinion is necessary in the national political scene but simply because I have to speak. No one may ever dare insult me just because I came from a single mother’s womb.

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Maybe for the highly moralistic, having children out of wedlock is a very sinful thing. But insulting someone for it is simply ironic and unvirtuous. I know that personal specs are vital to the confirmation of nominees to the Cabinet, but Prof. Judy Taguiwalo does not, in any language, deserve to be questioned for having children and staying single at the same time. It is in fact laudable that she chose to raise her children alone. That’s much, much better than fathers who abandon their kids.

But we also have to consider Taguiwalo’s substantial response to the foul-mouthed senator. She fought the Marcos dictatorship and her life was different from others. I was not surprised that she stayed calm despite Sotto’s tactless remarks. But the laughing crowd was impossible. Still, I am glad that online there is a majority affirmation that what Sotto said was unacceptable in so many levels.

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I simply cannot understand why Sotto cannot respect the various types of families in society. It must be so difficult for him, something like a mathematical problem or a tricky riddle. I cannot understand why he had to emphasize Taguiwalo’s civil status, as if it were the most relevant factor in her job.

I myself am a son of a single parent who works so hard to sustain our daily lives. My dad has never spent a spare centavo to put me through school. It is my mom who does. She, as well as other single mothers who are striving to raise their children, does not deserve to be spoken of as “na-ano lang.” These valiant women should not be belittled by supposedly virtuous political leaders.

Even the Church does not condemn single mothers.

One time, my mother sought an appointment with the head of a Catholic school in Manila. She wanted to personally ask if the nuns would allow my enrollment. My mom told the nuns that she’s a single parent. She thought the nuns would reject us, but they gladly accepted me, and I completed my high school education in the school. That school has never tired of reminding its students: Love your neighbor as yourself. I think it’s beautiful.

It is just so unfortunate that society fails to recognize simple, day-to-day logic. Some are convinced that injustice is fine just because they don’t feel it. But change concerns everyone. It is also a commitment. This change is not mere rhetoric of our President. It should also embody the attitude of those who hope for relevant change in this country.

Everyone must care about other issues that the Philippines is confronting. We must not tolerate the killings that are happening as normal. And it is the moral obligation of our national leaders not to display rudeness or foul language as part of their gimmick or drama.

In the words of the late senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, “If national politics is sinking in the morass of its viciousness, there is no reason why we should conform or abdicate our role as harbingers of change.”

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It is not too late.

Arjay Ivan R. Gorospe, 18, studies at UP Diliman and is a news writer at its official student publication, the Philippine Collegian.

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