This is one joke that isn’t very funny at all. I don’t know if this is only meant to reflect the artist’s point of view or if it is also indicative of the opinions felt by those working at this newspaper. I’m sure it isn’t likely to be one that expresses everyone’s sentiments. But that doesn’t make it any less stressful to see.
When you use Guyito (the name given to the talking carabao who is the newspaper’s mascot) and the president to make claims like this without so much as an explanation or a footnote, at least, then it really comes of as an issue sans debate. It’s as if we need not argue about anything because the president is made amenable to natural family planning…he says “okay!” when in fact I remember him feeling differently about this. Do you really agree with this Mr. President? Was this done to mock you or to mock those of us who believe in the RH bill?
The strip talks about costs. They say that a reproductive health bill is yet another avenue for corruption. More taxpayers money will be spent on condoms. Agencies will benefit from yet another cause. it’s expensive. We don’t need it. It’s a waste of time, money and energy. We could be feeding our people, educating our youth, spending on things that matter.
The expense is really accounted for in terms of money spent. But I wonder if anyone computes cost using women’s lives as currency? Suppose I do, just to feign being hypothetical (because that would sound more legit)? How much are we losing per annum when so many of our women–mothers especially–die pre and post childbirth? Suppose once more that it isn’t the fault of poor healthcare (everyone, or at least those who’ve been educated, knows that childbirth is always risky) and mothers die just because? How is it that they, especially the young ones, get pregnant to begin with? Did they really know that having a man ejaculate into them would make them baby carriers? Did they have a choice? Were they oriented at any point about sex, motherhood and what it means to be responsible for themselves?
And this nonsense about fighting the Church? In times like this when we are most lost as people, we need to have faith. The Church isn’t the enemy but our collective ignorance is. If we continue blaming institutions for their failings then aren’t we just finding ways to evade our own responsibilities? The issue has always been contorted, manipulated to become another narrative of the evil friars versus the Filipinos. How true is this today when most of our priests come from our own ranks? Sure, the institution was given to us by Spain but years later it too has evolved into OUR Church. So why blame it as if it weren’t part of us at all? Why negate our faith, our Catholicism, just to prove a point? Are we so faithless to begin with to wear our religion like a sweater put on and peeled off according to the climate?
All these questions make me worry about my nieces. They are grade schoolers now but sooner or later I will have to explain the messiness of life to them. I’ll have to tell them about people kissing on tv. I’ll have to correct my niece when she squints at hearing the word “sex,” like it’s a bad thing. It’s not and no, the boy who’ll want to sleep with you later on might not be good for you just yet–and no, again. “Sleeping with” isn’t what you think it is. It’s a euphemism for sex. If you don’t know what a euphemism is, there’s a dictionary on my desk. It won’t have answers to those questions but it will be a start. Euphemisms always are.
In the meantime, while you two are young and have a few years more to be children, other women who don’t have access to information will not get it. Or if they do, I doubt if they’ll know what to do with it. It’s a difficult world out there and while I pity those who have seemingly gotten the shorter end of the stick, paying not with money but with their own lives, I don’t quite know what to do anymore.
I just really pray for the passing of the RH Bill. We need this in our lives. It won’t solve all our problems–maybe not even as many as those that the bill seeks to solve–but it will be a good start. It will compel the state to take care of us and it will also pave the way for us to take care of ourselves. All pieces of legislature can be amended but no changes can be done to non-existing bills. Please give this a chance, have faith. We really need this in our lives.
As for the strip above, I really hope to one day speak with Mr. Abrera about this. What does it mean? And if we are to believe McLuhan’s the medium is the message then how are we to read into simple comic strips like this that say so many different things to many readers? But yeah, what does this mean?