In an article reposted from the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines in 2009, some 14 million Filipinos are single parents. As early as 2002, there was already a move amending the Solo-Parent Welfare Act of 2000.
A 2014 Report from the Philippine Commission on Women indicated the following: “Between 1970 and 2009 the number of female-headed households slightly increased. The population census and other household surveys revealed an increasing trend in the percentage of female-headed households: 10 percent in 1970; 11.3 percent in 1990; 12.2 percent in 1995; 13.5 percent in 2000; 15.4 percent in 2003; 16.6 in 2008; and 21.2 percent in 2009.
From the final results of the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey comes this statistics: “One out of 10 young Filipino women aged 10 to 15 is pregnant or already a mother.”
In another information from the National Census and Statistics Office, of the 1.8 million babies born in 2008, more than 37 percent had unmarried mother. That percentage would be the equivalent of more than 600,000 babies growing in a single-parent household.
Single parents—usually mothers—are common in the country, as well as in other places in the world. There are papers and papers about them. Forums and conferences and even associations have been formed around them. Exposure to the phenomenon, therefore, has either made us into experts or at least enabled us to develop an intelligent, perhaps not necessarily intellectual, approach to the matter. This is true, especially among people who are given authorities or are mandated to think over the many socioeconomic developments in the country. As we often say it in our most hypocritical way—it happens to the best.
Single-parent households do not just happen. One does not become a single mother, or single father, because one wills it. It is a long process, sometimes, with decisions afforded or denied the person. Sometimes, an act of violence accompanies the transition to one being single again if one did have a union in the first place. Many times, the violence through rape has been done even before the mother has opted to be single. There are instances when the mother herself does not even know that in a society where the male voice is favored she is going to raise alone the child she is going to give birth to.
Nothing’s new, in other words.
The statesman or, at least, the politician, needs to focus more about single dads or moms. In a country where the birthrate is unattended to, what will happen to citizens who are raised by a single parent?
Amid all this, a politician has cracked a joke and the world has laughed with him. Or, at least, those in the gallery.
Jokes are another matter. Perhaps, a philosopher is needed to clarify matter. In this case, let’s listen to Friedrich Nietzsche who once said a joke is “an epigram about the death of feeling.”
In the discourses of single moms, nowhere is there a mention of the male responsibility. That should alert women who wish to forgive the politician. The discourse on single parents or mothers is not merely about women getting pregnant or, as they say in English, “knocked up”. It is an entire universe of language that dismisses women, puts them at the margin condemned. It is a language that can easily forgive men, including, of course, comedians.
Image credits: Jimbo Albano