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Still a Democracy

Calling all women! Join me in giving thanks that we were not born in Afghanistan, or worse, Taliban. I think it is only lately that the whole world became aware of the situation of women in that country, especially now that the neighboring Taliban has virtually taken over. All ye women of the Philippines rejoice! And if you do not know what I am talking about, just keep up with world news, because you will find out how much more privileged we are, we women of the Philippines, especially politics-wise.

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Well, if you have been keeping up with the world news which has been focusing on this aspect of the lives of women there, especially now that the covetous neighbor of their country, the Taliban, regard women. No wonder rescue planes from the United States were seen on TV hauling hundreds of Afghan natives who eagerly boarded those aircrafts sent by the United States to rescue those eager to leave their native land. Unfortunately, I have not been able to keep up with the latest reports from there, but I believe thousands more of the natives have already fled from their country and have become virtual “wards” of the United States.

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It seems hard to believe that there are still countries that treat women folk like second class citizens, but the fact that the hundreds could be thousands by now, have so eagerly accepted the offer of the United States to “adopt” them, shows how they feel about remaining in their own land where they are sure to be treated differently – to use a mild word – from the men. We in the Philippines are therefore, amused to think about how females in some countries are being considered by the males, who must take it for granted that they are “superior” to the female.

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For sure they have no terms or expressions like “Under the saya”, a term for henpecked males in the country. I am sure other countries also have their own versions of our “Under the saya” or, literally “beneath the skirt”, of their wives and girlfriends. Let’s enjoy the thought that our women are assertive, and even domineering, so we have some glib description of “Under the saya” for henpecked husbands, most of whom are not complaining, anyway! In fact, some even seem to enjoy leaving all the major decisions to their wives!

***

What do you think about the possibility of having another woman for president? Don’t laugh or frown, because there is great likelihood that we may have another one from next year’s election. Well, that is nothing new to Filipinos – remember we have already gone through two female presidents, and even if I may be criticized for being biased, I still claim that they did better that many of the male ones preceding them. Did we have scandals exposed during the terms of Cory Aquino or Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?

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I speak from my own experience being the first female to be elected president (twice at that) by the Negros Press Club. For the first term, I invited the famous Joe Guevera, a columnist of the Manila Times as my guest speaker for the induction rites and you know how he started his speech? He said “I couldn’t refuse Ninfa’s invitation to speak at this affair because I wanted to see how the members of the Negros Press Club” – that had only three female members then – “decided to out themselves under the saya and elect a woman president!” No other guest speaker of the club could say that now as we have had several women elected since then.

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Speaking of presidents, is it true that Isko Moreno is running for president? Well, he may have two females contesting him, and this is really something to watch. Will the male members gang up on the female bets? Anyway, les girls will put up an interesting fight if I know our girls in the press club. By this time, though, there could already be some “positioning” for the office. But that is still months away from now, and unlike during our time where re-election was not allowed, it seems the Constitution has been amended to allow it. So, as the Spaniards and Spanish-speaking natives would say, “Vamos a ver”.

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I heard the news about vaccination being made mandatory for government workers in all provinces, towns and cities, including, I believe barangays in the remotest areas. That is a commendable plan, there are also reports that some government workers outrightly refuse to submit to it. Well, nobody will be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the vaccination site, but such people should be convinced that they are not the only ones endangered but their families, too. And if they still refuse, what else could government do but leave them alone. No one can be dragged screaming and wailing to the vaccination site. This is still a democracy, you know!*

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May 2022
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