I was browsing on my past drafted articles. I stumbled upon one. It was so weird reading it now. I wonder what thoughts were running through my head back then.
I would like to share it again. This was written six years ago…
“Bente Dos “
We watched a documentary on GMA News TV entitled “Bente Dos” (22). It was about a family with a brood of
22. Just when you thought 6 or 10 children is already considered a lot, well, think again! I was surprised
that the mother can give birth every year, or within even less than a year.
She got married at the tender age of 16 and continuously gave birth ever since. She had her youngest child at the age of 42. It was pretty interesting how her body managed to bear 22 offspring. I used to think that a woman’s body can give birth 10 to 15 times. I am not sure if 22 is already worthy of being in the Guinness records.
The narrative of the documentary was non-linear. There was not that much talk on the part of the subjects,
but you can empathize with the situation that they are in. Having 22 kids is not a bad thing, because you
will have 22 pairs of hands and feet who will be able to take good care of you once you get old. However,
the unfortunate part of it was that the family belonged to the proletariat sector of the society. They live in the
slums of Baseco Compound in Tondo.
I cannot help but shake my head at the current situation they are in. They still manage to get by in spite of everything.
About the Family
The father works as a maintenance man in DPWH, earning at minimum wage. It was not mentioned how the mother
earns a living. The eldest of the brood is already married with just one kid. Most of the elder children are either married or separated but with child. One of their daughters have 3 kids. The other younger siblings are still studying. Some were left to work in the province. Four of the kids died after contracting diseases. Some stopped studying and were forced to help out in the household by being a parking boy & girl or balut vendor.
The mother mentioned that she did not expect that she will have 22 children. She said that they were not educated about family planning, nor knew about pills or contraceptives. They also don’t have any idea about the natural method.
On the other hand, the father said that rather than commit adulterous affair with other women, he just chose
to bring it on with his wife, until their family grew and grew and grew.
The lesson in this documentary is not about the consequences of not following the family planning method whatsoever, but how every Filipino should be educated about the realities of life per se. Likewise, the people should not give immature reasons for their plight.
I commend one of the daughter and son of the couple, that they rather have 1 or 2 kids, because they know in their mind that they cannot afford to have a big family.
Parents should also be thinking about the future welfare of their children. Yes, they have a free will in making babies but some of these kids end up on the streets to beg, sell sampaguita garlands or worse – inhale solvents. These kids should be in school and not running around playing hide and seek with death.
Need a Call to Action
Our government should be able to think of other means to at least mitigate poverty. They should be able to offer free vocational studies to teach the parents about earning a living. Moreover, they should offer them decent employment without prejudice to their educational attainment or status.
These people will regain their trust on their officials and be inspired to do good if they think that the local government are sincerely empathetic on them. On the other hand, the street kids who are already beginning to be a threat to society should be rehabilitated by DSWD immediately. They should be educated not just on the academic aspect, but also on how to possess the right values as well. Their mind should be opened on the consequences of taking drugs, stealing or doing other bad things. There is still hope for them to forego these bad habits if given the right education.
It is not enough for the government to give them housing privileges or other material stuffs that are
consumable and temporal. They should offer them something permanent and useful, such as jobs or even a simple
means of livelihood.
The people, on the other hand, should not become too complacent or reliant to what the government is trying to do. They should have the discipline within themselves and the conviction to do what is right in order to straighten out and improve their life.