We are nurses, we are not less.

Just in case the news skipped your notice Mr. President, thousands of our skilled Filipino nurses are now leaving the country not because they want to touch the snow in London, not because they want to visit Santorini in Greece, not because they want to date a handsome and hunky Caucasian or a rich Arab woman, but because our system forced them to do so.  Our callous disregard to their rights made them to believe that they are second-class healthcare workers. Verily, our nurses suffer the lowest possible indecency a country can inflict to its professional workers. And they have valid license from the Professional Regulation Commission. They are required to have an accumulated CPD units, but when our nurses require the same good treatment from this government, what do they get? — Nothing!

Again, I’m sorry to speak about this, but I can’t sleep seeing my fellow nurses suffer. I am not working in a hospital but my heart is still beating for my profession. My heart is still beating for the Nightingale in white, in blue and in scrubs. Allow me to speak for them.

I don’t blame you Mr. President that you are currently focusing on “War on Drugs”, but as a form of request, can we give equal attention to those who fight alongside with you inside the hospitals, the fences of communities, penal institutions and healthcare centers?

How can we possibly heal the country if our healers are wounded themselves?

How can we miraculously rehabilitate this archipelago if our nurses are now starting to fly abroad?

Currently, I’m envious about the attention you give to “Jeepney Modernization”. In my mind, “lucky are the jeepneys, for they will be modernized soon”, but pain are for our poor nurses who will still be living and working in areas where modernization is not part of the plan.

Make no mistake Mr. President, our nurses are still living with healthcare technology which placed themselves in the brick of danger.  These are competent and intelligent Filipinos who passed the board exams.  In fact, we cannot even provide them with  adequate soap and alcohol for their hand sanitation, N92 masks for personal protection, and heavens sake, we don’t pay them with dignity.

Before it’s too late Mr. President, I would like to invite your attention to this maladies enveloping our Filipino nurses. They deserve to experience the “change” that you promised during the election season. Or should I treat this as another form of fake news?

#Mutya

 

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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

 

Official Statement of Mutya on the rejection of DSWD Secretary Taguiwalo

I am disheartened to hear the rejection of the nomination of Sec. Judy Taguiwalo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. While the Commission on Appointments serves as one of the mechanisms of the legislature to check the appointments of the Executive branch, it miserably failed to appreciate its core mandate which is to ultimately serve the Filipino people especially those who have less in life, supposedly by accepting worthy and honest officials for this vital governmental post.

The rejection is a strong counter opposing message contrary to the universal platform of this present administration which is CHANGE.

The President is not to blame but the regressing political mindset enveloping our government.

The ultimate victims here are the poor and disadvantaged Filipinos who expect the best services from the government.

#Mutya

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

 

Use of sky lanterns must stop

It is inhumane and irresponsible to light and send sky lanterns without knowing that every single piece of it has the potential to kill an innocent animal. These lanterns are more than stray bullets, these are like nuclear warheads that can wipe out hectares of forest, rice fields and or mangroves if done near a coastal area. While lighting a sky lantern is an exciting experience, its aftermath is lethal.

Once the debris of the sky lantern falls into the water for example, animals like sea turtles could mistakenly identify it as food. Once eaten, the remains of the sky lantern can block the digestive tract of the poor and soon to be extinct animal, leading to its untimely demise.

On a separate note, if the sky lantern falls into a dry forest, it will unleash a torrential fire that can burn anything within the area. Either way, sky lantern is dangerous and unforgiving regardless where the debris settles.

No amount of celebration can justify lighting a sky lantern. Knowing these two main points alone, a sane and responsible man will immediately dismiss his plans to light any lanterns because it is detrimental to the environment.

Soon as we light the lantern, let us remember the number of sea turtles, and any marine creatures with the same right to life like ours, whom we killed because we are unreasonably insensitive and arrogant.

Let us remember their noble sacrifice, because again, as human, we failed our posterity for believing that our happiness carries more weight than the lives of animals.

#Mutya

Mutya bares top-secret story for Lent

This is not a blog about disparaging comments on hotels, restaurants or erring personas who induced me with acute nausea. This is a story fitting for Holy week; a narration and a reflection of something that opened my eyes to the manifold realities of life on Earth.

More often than not, when I and Alfred engage into a conversation, the topic always leads to sex, health and, ultimately the cause of our total annihilation.  I can say that you are interested to know more about these three popular topics but to honor the meaning of this blessed season, please let me narrate something you never heard of.

One time, when I was segregating the leaves of Malunggay and Spinach for our viand, I asked Alfred to reveal his greatest mistake in life. I was afraid because he was holding a sharp knife slicing some frozen meat for dinner. Unlike Ms. Venus Raj, he immediately gave me an answer without circumnavigating.

“My greatest mistake happened during my elementary days when I haphazardly wasted the opportunity to study well, thus missing the wonders of education.” He chopped the meat heavily.

I held my breath for a couple of seconds but I did not stop there. I dug deeper.

“What were the most difficult events you experienced when you were young? Mine for example was sleeping for two days with empty stomach.” I told him to open the conversation.

I saw him adding too much salt to the boiling water.

“Three things.”, he started to recall.

“When I was young, I had no choice but to help my brothers to harvest corn. Up until now, I could still feel the searing pain when the leaves sliced my small palms. It was like blade after blade, slice after slice until your whole hand numbs. The pain was excruciating for a 10-year old child whose dream during that time was only to play. I realized that pain is a twin brother of mine. My hands became rugged but strong. I knew God was preparing me for a tougher challenge—a second fruit.”

“Do you want to know the second fruit which changed my life?”, he asked.

“Yes!”, I answered.

“It’s inside the refrigerator. Get it for me.”  I opened the fridge and I saw a pineapple.

It was during my second year when I first knew him. He was oozing with wit and a sensational style of leadership which won the heart of many. Aside from these was his skill in peeling the skin of the pineapple. After class hours, without delay, he run to the public market in order help his sister to prepare sliced pineapples for their small fruit stand. He can remove the eyes of the sweet fruit within one minute preserving its impeccable shape.

“I find it cool.”,  I told him.

He looked at me fiercely.

“If being cool is having the sharp edges of the crown of the pineapple puncture your skin so deep and  having your crotch soaked on the saccharine juice of this fruit for  5 hours or more every day then I will agree with your observation.”

I stepped back and returned to my sit. I was wrong.

He minced the pineapple and he placed it with the mixture. Then, he tasted it.

“It lacks something. Something sour.” He was referring to the green mango.

I remembered when he told me that there was a time when he climbed a mango tree to harvest its fruits. Despite the scorching heat of the sun and the pricking bite of the ants crawling from the trunk to his back and shoulders, he was passionately determined to pick the most unblemished mango he could reach. A wounded mango can’t be sold in the market.

I handed him the green mango. He peeled it perfectly and he mixed it with the mixture.

I realized then that he taught me one of the biggest lessons in life using the three fruits that formed his monumental being.

Without hard work, dedication and the passion to make seemingly difficult things happen, one can’t change his path and be the person he wanted to become.

Poverty became a popular obstacle and an excuse for many of us so not to pursue reaching for our stars, but the three fruits my friend showed me concretely illustrated that great things are possible for those who learn to endure the suffering and deduce lessons from it.

While the leaves of the corn wounded his palms, he did not threw his aspiration to become someone who can make a difference to the lives of others, the burning charcoal which he used to cook the corn did not stop him to seek for easy comfort. The crown of the pineapple was perceived by him as a destination and every thorn deeply that mercilessly pierced his skin was a reminder that suffering is necessary to hone and to exercise our humanity. The mango on the other hand, thought us to choose only the best.

These three fruits when mixed in one container will make an excellent dish worthy of emulation and inspiration. The next time you come across a corn, a pineapple and a mango, please be thankful on what you have and don’t you dare surrender your stars. As you bite these three fruits, remember the journey of my friend Alfred.

#Mutya

Give yourself a gift! Meet Jasper.

When God showered the Earth with positivity and energy, I will bet that he acquired it all. His aura is something that Earth’s available dictionary or language laureate can’t define. It is a mystical extra-terrestrial and a heaven-bestowed gift that only he can conjure.

If you are unhappy, displeased and about to surrender— I beg you to hold your horses!

Meet Jasper.

He will uplift your spirit.

He will electrocute you with the barest energy of life.

He will add meaning to your existence; he will make you strong using your own faculties.

When he starts to smile and to dance, you will surely see the rotation and the revolution of Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. He has the ability to propel you outside this unfair world and in return will create a perfect, ideal world for you.

When I first met him last year, I knew that he is special. I expected great things from him personally. The dedication oozing from his skin was palpable—real and inspirational. Notwithstanding the fact that he is a well-known artist in Iloilo, his mere presence makes things and events more positive and lively.

Stronger than any force of evil—he stands tall and confident.

For the record, he is one of my favorites not because he is white, tall, can speak eloquently, smart and energetic but because he is the living Synecdoche of hope and light that our world needs today. Jasper seeks to defibrillate hearts that are already callous and sclerotic, to empower hands that are already timid and weak, and to rewire frozen neurons and synapses because of despair and tribulations.

Give yourself a gift! Meet Jasper as soon as possible.