friend of mine (he was the mayor of his year level when I was the governor of our college back then), arrived after doing some missionary works down south of the Philippines. I could see the disappointment and frustration in his face as he related what he found out.
He came to know of a girl, she is 14 years old. Pregnant… for her 3rd child. Yes, you read that right. Pregnant for her 3rd baby at age 14. My friend thinks, it seems that in that tribe, as long as the girls reaches menarche (first menstruation), they are being taken wives by older men.
He also talked to a leader of the tribe (they’re called datu). He has vast land, around 20 hectares. He rents it out to a multinational company. The company pays him 1,000 pesos per hectare, so that would sum to 20,000 pesos… Per month? NOOOOOO… Per YEAR, yes, per year!!! In addition, my friend told me the datu has about 10 wives. And each wife has lots of kids. So it makes my friend think, how can a 20,000 sustain that big family? How cannot he be impoverished when aside from the big family he has, he is being taken advantaged of by this big multinational company?
What took me was my friend saying, this scenario should really be seen by those men in congress, especially those who oppose the passage of the reproductive health bill. They are so impossible to contend with. There is really a need for it to be enacted.
When he departed, I thanked him, for understanding how life goes on among our poor fellows, for sharing the passion about how reproductive health program will help our poor women, save lives/reduce deaths, and in the long run, help alleviate their conditions.