LGBTs are humans too, allow them to marry – Mutya

I believe that that the LGBT community should be given the legal right to marry.  Same-sex marriage is a right.

The right to personal choice is inherent in every person’s autonomy. If a man and a woman under the law can be husband and wives, what makes two men or women  ineligible to marry each other? If the only basis is morality rooted from religion, with due all respect,  I vote to dismiss the contention.

Every human person, regardless of sexual orientation has the right to govern himself as long as he exercises this right without infringing the rights of others.

Why are we imposing hard limits against LGBTs when in the first place these rights are inherent and fundamental as humans? I believe that the State has no business in so far as encroaching in the private lives of LGBTs. Why are we so sententious?

Is there a difference between opposite sex and same sex marriage?

The decision of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell vs. Hodges is illuminating:

There is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle. Yet by virtue of their exclusion from that institution, same-sex couples are denied the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage. This harm results in more than just material burdens. Same-sex couples are consigned to an instability many opposite-sex couples would deem intolerable in their own lives. As the State itself makes marriage all the more precious by the significance it attaches to it, exclusion from that status has the effect of teaching that gays and lesbians are unequal in important respects. It demeans gays and lesbians for the State to lock them out of a central institution of the Nation’s society. Same-sex couples, too, may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage and seek fulfillment in its highest meaning.

In the Philippines, despite the recognition of the country as one of the most gay-friendly nations in the world, and the most LGBT friendly in Asia, still the country lacks strong legislation and measures to ensure the protection and promotion of LGBT rights.

The LGBT community remains as one of the country’s minority sectors today.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people often face disadvantages in getting hired for jobs, acquiring rights for civil marriage, and even in starting up personal businesses.

It is high time for the government especially our legislators to look into passing landmark statutes that will not only protect the LGBT community from harm but importantly to promote their rights and welfare.

Being a member of the LGBT community does not make one less a human. It does not make one less in the eye of the law. It does not lessen their legal quantum in the scales of Lady justice.

The LGBT community should act and move as one. In this legal battle for equal protection, liberty and autonomy, having a unified and healing voice is necessary to win the fight. It may cost blood and time but it will be worth it in the end.

Finally, why do we need to allow same-sex marriage?

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. Marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. (Obergefell vs. Hodges)

As humans, we are all equal, and we need to respect their choices. By disrespecting them, we deny them their life’s fulfillment. We condemn them to live a life full of loneliness; we even erase them from our civilization and society. They are asking for dignity in the eyes of the law. We must grant them these rights.

 

#Mutya

 

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Don’t reach for the dolphins, starfish . . .

“Until one has loved an animal,
a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. –
Anatole France

Every one of us has the moral obligation to protect the environment and all the creatures in it. As stewards of God’s creation, it is our duty to speak and dissent even no one is listening, even it is painful and bitter, against any acts that malign, disrespect and rape these beautiful treasures which are bestowed upon us.

Last week, I visited a popular tourist attraction in North Luzon. I enjoyed swimming and while observing a group of people diving, running and eating. What made my heart cried-out was when a young woman picked a couple of red and orange starfish and had picture taking with the poor, defenceless animal under the scorching heat of the sun. After which, she returned the starfish in the water as if it was a piece of rock.

It was so wrong. It shall not pass.

Marine animals like the poor starfish deserve respect. Just imagine you were sleeping then someone lifted you out of bed to take photos. How would you feel?

Touching and disturbing marine sea creatures causes stress which can alter their physiological processes. In fact, when you lift a starfish out of the water and expose it under the sun, you caused an alteration of its biofilms that protects it from toxic substances.

Congratulations the lady just killed a starfish!

We could have prevented this if we have proper environmental knowledge. An awareness campaign should be intensified especially during summer and must be a part of any briefing procedures in tourist destinations.

But all is not lost for us. As humans we can step-up. We can correct our mistake before it’s too late.

Finally, I want to quote Justice Marvic Leonen of the Philippine Supreme Court in his concurring opinion on a landmark case between marine creatures in Sea Scape Tanon and the Philippine government. He said:

“We honor every living creature when we take care of our environment. As sentient species, we do not lack in the wisdom or sensitivity to realize that we only borrow the resources that we use to survive and to thrive. We are not incapable of mitigating the greed that is slowly causing the demise of our planet. In this way and with candor and courage, we fully shoulder the responsibility deserving of the grace and power endowed on our species.”

#Mutya

 

Seek for the kernel of truth, Mutya defends Jadine scene

Our moral compass is once again challenged after “Till I meet you” aired an intimate scene involving a famous love team. Two separate schools of thought have clashed leading to a national maelstrom. The question at hand is, was the episode unfit to be shown in television?

Despite the amount of pressure given to accentuate the issue, still I stand with my conviction; strong and firm that the episode did not abased any Filipino value.  The arguments raised by the conservatives are not enough to sway the scales of Mutya in their favor.

The controversial TV show has the truth as argument at their side. And the truth is sometimes difficult to swallow. We are upset because the show distraught our common belief. We believe that sex before marriage is an abomination and one should respect the sanctity of it. However, what is happening today is contrary to our belief, and what we had just seen in the episode was the truth.  As an artist, one needs to portray the truth, no matter how inconvenient it could be. Painstakingly, our perpetual silence is worse than the episode.

Let me illustrate to you what had transpired in that controversial scene. It was only a perfect miniature of what is, in fact, happening in the rest of the country.

Based on a study, one in every three youth aged 15 to 24 years old has engaged in premarital sex, the number is increasing by more than 14 per cent from almost 20 years ago. This translates to about 6.2 million youth who have engaged in sexual intercourse before marriage. (Cebu Daily News)

Again our perpetual silence is worse than the episode.

Because of this forced blindness and close-mindedness, the “UN Population Fund says the Philippines is the only country in the Asia-Pacific region where the rate of teen pregnancies rose over the last two decades”. (Philippine Star).

Again our perpetual silence is worse than the episode.

To say that the controversial episode abets the youth to engage into sex is confounding, since various teleserye nowadays portray the same theme, some are even more vulgar. The opposite side failed to contextualize the message; they missed to incorporate the barest essential of the existing truth affecting the youth.

When we see intimate scenes like this, the tendency is to close our eyes. Some hide in their pillows and criticize the subject. Sex is universal, it is an aboriginal, innate drive and Filipinos are not exempted to have sex.

We can’t stop the youth to have sexual intercourse by asking the MTRCB to censor these types of television shows, because by censorship we tend to inflict certain morals we believe to be more upright.  We don’t prescribe what is right and wrong—that is wrong, instead we teach people how to think and let them decide.

The popular scene opens new dimensions where we can learn from abound of insights. Nothing will happen if we continue to cry foul while we secretly and off-screen perform the actual scene in the dark. We say no to premarital sex, while we do it after class and after work.

Nothing will happen if we accede to our prejudices and flawed realizations. At this point in time, I urge everyone to open ourselves to conversations. The next time same scene appears in TV, open your eyes, ears, mind, and seek for the kernel of truth and from there, you will appreciate its message.

-Mutya

It’s diabolical, spine-chilling for a government

A finance undersecretary revealed the government’s devilish plan to lift the tax exemption benefits enjoyed by Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities. The cancellation of such benefits will give the government additional income of 3 billion pesos.

According to Republic Act No. 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, Senior Citizens are given the grant of twenty percent (20%) discount and exemption from the value –added tax (VAT). Meanwhile, Republic Act No. 10754, or the act expanding the benefits and privileges of persons with disability (PWD) which was passed into law last March 2016, also provides the same (20%) exemption to specified products and services.

It is both bewildering and stomach-churning knowing that the platform of the Duterte administration during its campaign is based on compassion, especially for those who have less in life. Lifting the tax benefits is like sentencing the 7.5 million elderly and 700,000 PWDs to their most painful death. This is more alarming and disheartening than the so called “extrajudicial killings”.

The Finance Department should know any better, that this “heartless” act only on the basis of flawed generalizations will cause irreversible damage to the society. For example, many elderly and PWDs will not be able to afford life-saving medicine, they will not be able to have their subsidized medical check-up because the professional fees will start to balloon, dental and laboratory tests will soon become part of sad history, our lolas, lolos and PWDs will walk along EDSA because of fare increase— saving every peso for more immediate needs. And because of this ludicrous measure, many will be buried in an open pit, with old bodies wrapped in a banig or manila paper, because of expensive burial costs.

Article XIII, Section 11 of the Constitution provides that the State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost. There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children.

Knowing all of this urges me to question the existence of the human heart. In our constant pursuit for progress and prosperity, we failed to see and to value the essentials in our society, we become relentless, unreasonable. It is inhumane, a thought only a devil can conceive, to revoke the constitutionally protected rights and privileges of the elderly and PWDs. This only echoes two things, either President Duterte hired the wrong persons in his cabinet, or this is the starting manifestation of the crooked values and policies of this administration.

As a Filipino who values and recognizes the rights and privileges of our Senior Citizens and PWDs as equal members of our society, I strongly express my contention, using the strongest possible terms and expression that this policy is unearthly, unforgiving and barbaric. This needs to be studied with both our heads and hearts on the table.

-MUTYA

Philippine Government should start listening to Cesar

Cesar Ocson, 18 years old, stood proud and brave before a group of robust and vibrant teenagers of municipality of Ivisan in Capiz. He has no choice but to advance, in his own little way, measures to weaken the vacuum that steals the bloom and the bliss of the youth. Unlike other soldiers or traditional army, Cesar, together with his team, called Wi-Response, is only equipped with conventional armadas:  flyers, books and teaching materials to combat a global foe.

According to United Nations Population Fund, the Philippines is the only country in Asia with increasing number of teenage pregnancy cases. One out of 10 teenage girls bears a child before the age of 18 years old, contributing to the skyrocketing rates on maternal and neonatal mortality.

Despite the rigorous campaign of the government and various NGOs, still the numbers are hitting the roof, which impose a serious threat to the future of this nation. Teenage pregnancy robs from the young their fair chance to fulfill their own dreams and aspirations.

Believing in the power of their positive idea, a group of youth from Capiz in Roxas City started a grassroots revolution to educate teenagers regarding reproductive health in their communities. They were able to train 600+ peer facilitators who reached out to almost 9,000  teenagers, teaching them the basics of reproductive health, an essential aspect in preventing teenage pregnancy.

Granting the presumption that our government is listening, this proven effective model of intervention can be studied for the purpose of replicating to other regions of the country with the same problems.

Moreover, our policy makers should take into consideration, the fact, that to address problems affecting the youth; a youth-based and youth-led solution should be adopted. Our government should listen attentively and genuinely, and should learn to work with the youth.

For now, Cesar and his team will continue to rally more youths behind their cause of mitigating teenage pregnancy in the country. We need more of the likes of Cesar.

#MutyaPH

 

 

Always an inspiring and decent VP.

Vice President Leni Robredo just proved that public officials could act and speak decently, and thus, worthy to be called Honorable. The wife of then Interior and Local Government Secretary, Jesse Robredo, and now occupying the second highest position in the country, delivered her congratulatory speech during the Awarding and Presentation Ceremony of Ramon Magsaysay 2016.

The Vice President said and I quote “ideas, which when used to cultivate humanity, are “more powerful than guns” and “more commanding than dictators.”

This is a clear stance that fear and humiliation should stop and that the government should seek for alternative solutions to most pressing problems of our country.

Even then President Ramon Magsaysay on his credo said

“Those who have less in life, should have more in law.”

This is an echoing statement, so true even today, that as government of people and by the people, we have the primary duty to uphold the rule of law and most importantly, our faith in  humanity.

I remembered one of my officemates said,

“Laws separate us from animals.”

VP Robredo also emphasized that we need to find and believe that inside of us are both a giant and a hero.

The speech was truly inspiring and it touched my nationalistic and patriotic spot. It made me realized that, goodness is more powerful than evil.

The speech of VP Robredo encourages positivity rather than by inflicting fear and intimidation to achieve a certain goal. It inspired me to dream big again and again, and to always do the things that make me happy and alive.

She is a real FILIPINO leader.

Ramon Magsaysay Award is considered as the Nobel Prize equivalent in Asia. It was established after the untimely death of President Ramon Magsaysay. The award honor individuals and organizations whose contributions have enhanced this creative tradition of selfless service to the peoples of Asia.

I am happy that one of my favorite government officials, The Ombudsman, Conchita Carpio Morales, was the only Filipina who was elected as one of this year’s recipient for restoring faith in the rule of law.

– MutyaPH

Photo courtesy from: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/

Abolish yourself, you are more corrupt; not the Filipino Youth.

Another one of the bizarre thoughts from the Philippine Congress — to abolish the SK.

With almost 20 million strong youth in the country waiting for their chance to participate in governance, where their voice will be heard and their actions will define the future of this generation, an insidious motion from the Congress is trying to reduce the youth’s image and influence from the mainstream into the side-lines—a mere spectator, while traditional politicians are enjoying the hard earned taxes of the Filipino people.  

It is not in the character of the Filipino youth to succumb to anyone’s erroneous and prejudicial accusations and generalizations. Some traditional politicians forget that they were once member of the youth, and youth participation in governance has always been a vital experience, that evidently shaped future leaders of this country.

This move both ridicules the constitution and the capacity of the youth to make things happen. This should not go down in history; this is a big joke, which the comics only deserve.

I would like to invite you to Article, Section 2 of the Philippine Constitution which provides:

“The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.”

It is clear as day that the state should do everything to encourage and empower the youth to become beneficial partners in nation-building. The move to postpone and worst to abolish the SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) slits the very throat of the youth. This is worse than extrajudicial killings.

Now for the 4th time, many legislators are starting to resurface the idea of abolishing SK, (the only venue of the youth to participate in governance), in the basis of corruption and inefficiency.

Just to return the favor, if corruption and inefficiency are the two contentions to abolish SK, then the youth should call also for the complete abolition of the House of the Representatives and the Senate where most of the corruptions are happening.  Remember, it is not the youth who has the ill-spent pork barrel. It is not the youth who does not have the balls to defend the constitution. It is not the youth who sells his/her nay or yae. Please do not overgeneralize the problem of corruption because if we are going to be strict with our calculations, we all know who is more corrupt here.

We already passed the reform SK law last year, and we are very happy because we can at least test the new measures, like the anti-dynasty and responsibility and accountability provisions. The new SK reform law if implemented very well can cure the disease infesting the Sanguniang Kabataan. Like other departments of the government, SK is not perfect; it needs guidance from higher political models on how to effectively serve the public’s interest.

Abolishing the SK is the worst decision the Congress could make. It will become an evil precedent for the future generations, that one time, in the history of the Philippines; the Republic removed the constitutional protected rights of the youth to help in creating their future. That one time in history, the government lose their faith in the youth. That for gazillion-th times, the government failed the youth.

The youth is a rich, vast source of innovative ideas, that when tapped can help in solving the most pressing problems of the country. The government as the pater of the youth should impose discipline and not death which tantamount through abolishing the SK. If there are problems in the system, then let’s fix it, learn from it and apply in the future.

I’m appealing to all thinking members of the Congress to stop this madness. The youth are your partners in building the future of this country. You should not lose your hope, trust and faith in us, because the good will always triumph over evil.

Lastly, as what the United Nations said, “The youth can be a creative force, a dynamic source of innovations, and they have undoubtedly, throughout history, participated, contributed, and even catalyzed important changes in political systems, power-sharing dynamics and economic opportunities.”

-Mutya