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While You Were Sleeping (On Reproductive Health Issues)

13 May

“While You Were Sleeping” is a romantic comedy which tells a story of a train token collector who has a crush on a regular commuter, saves him when from being ran over by a train when muggers pushed him onto the rail track, and misinterpreted as the fiancee when he falls into coma. But while the man she has a crush on is in a deep sleep, she made the family come closer and fell in-love with her “fiance’s” brother.

In the Philippines, reproductive health bill has been proposed, and few months shy from her debut, several have happened white it was ignored since drafting.

While You Were Sleeping…

The Philippine population ballooned to a population of 101,833,938 (July 2011 est, http://www.indexmundi.com/philippines/demographics_profile.html). The estimated birth rate is at 25.34 births/1000 population. The age structure is as follows:

  • 0-14 years: 34.6% (male 17,999,279/female 17,285,040)
  • 15-64 years: 61.1% (male 31,103,967/female 31,097,203)
  • 65 years and over: 4.3% (male 1,876,805/female 2,471,644) (2011 est.)
  • According to the World Bank report, our population density on 2010 reported on 2011 was 312.78 persons per sq. km, from a previous of 307.55 on 2009. (Source: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/philippines/population-density-people-per-sq-km-wb-data.html). This is a far cry from the ideal population density of 50-100 people per sq. km.

Consequently,

  • A big fraction of the population ranked themselves poor, and this kept increasing annually. In order to survive, people resorted to odd jobs, to the extent of trading themselves just to earn a living — organ donor, drug mules, prostitutes, escorts, cybersex partners, and what have you.
  • Mothers, whose body cant take anymore the burden of successive pregnancies, have been dying and dying, at an average of 11 per day.
  • Many parents cannot afford to send their children to school. Instead, they send them begging at the street (one father even had the nerve to buy cigarettes with his child’s earnings), pimp them to pedophiles and child pornography and whatever sort, just to augment the family’s income.
  • Many parents cannot afford to feed all of their children adequately, making them malnourished and sickly. Some parents even gather leftovers from fastfood restaurants, cook and feed it to their children as “pagpag”. And there was one senator who complained why this was featured in an international news network, as if denying this will cloud the fact that it exists. Malnutrition underlies all of the disorders causing under-five children’s mortalities.
  • Many parents cannot afford life-saving vaccines not offered in government health centers, making their children contributors to the mortalities among under-five population.
  • Parents are forced to go abroad to: (1) find employment as there’s no suitable job appropriate for their skills; (2) augment the meager income of the spouse; (3) help sustain the expenses of the (super-) extended family.
  • Unwanted and unplanned pregnancy has also led to abortions. Unfortunately, some mothers have died of complications from this.

While some Filipinos opted to work abroad…

  • Some OFWs contracted HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, brought it home and spread to their partners.
  • Children lost mother/father figure who’s supposed to guide them growing up, making some of them end up as juvenile delinquents.
  • Adolescents who were not being guided during that most important phase of their life when parental guidance is badly needed, ended up pregnant/impregnating someone, significantly increasing to 70% over a decades time, as attested by UNFPA.
  • Some priests blamed rise in incidence of teenage pregnancies to moral values breakdown. (What? Why, how did it happen this way? I thought you were the moral shepherd in the country! Does that mean, you’re not being heard by your flock, irrelevant?)
  • Husbands left in the country had been committing incestuous crimes, adultery, bigamy, etc.

While mothers are dying…

  • Their children became unattended and thus their kids ended up juvenile delinquents (paulit-ulit? E sa totoo naman kas!)
  • Daughters tend to get pregnant earlier
  • Bereaved children experienced significant decline in physical health status, increased psychological distress and even increase in alcoholic consumption. (Source:  http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096138 )

While you thought sex education is taboo and should never be introduced to young children…

  • Children are resorting online for their inquiries and sexuality. Unguided, they are already accessing pornography online. (In fact, in a related incident, a child in the US was enlisted as a sex offender for life, at age 13, even without kissing a girl or having had sex with any but by mere accessing child pornography, online.)
  • Because of peer pressure and ignorance, teenagers are experimenting, ending up getting pregnant earlier, when their physical body isn’t prepared yet. UNFPA reported that incidence of teenage pregnancy ballooned to 70% from ten years ago.
  • HIV/AIDS and STI have explosively increased from 1984 to present… (see http://www.doh.gov.ph/sites/default/files/NEC_HIV_Feb-AIDSreg2012.pdf). Philippines is one of the only 5 countries where HIV/AIDS incidence is increasing.
  • Studies revealed that age-appropriate have delayed exposure to intercourse, increased use of contraceptives at first sexual intercourse, and did not promote promiscuity. (And yet the CBCP blames loose moral values as the culprit. Wasn’t that their job in the first place? So they have slackened? Shouldn’t they be ashamed pointing fingers and passing judgements?)
These are but few of the obvious implications of “sleeping” on this important measure. The casualties of reproductive health bill non-passage and non-implementation aren’t only the mothers who died because of abortion nor complicated pregnancy. It goes beyond, it also those children less than five years old – neglected and not having cared for thoroughly, appropriately and adequately due to poverty – which emanated from…?
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