By: Francis Lianro Bulado, Lyle Mark Bulado
May all voting Mothers be reminded that their voices are as important as their elected leaders and that they do not have to be silenced. Mom's stance matters especially in crafting better legislation and are pivotal to our government's development and success benefiting women, mothers, and the Filipino people.
Ma, Mom, Mommy, Mum, Mama, Madre, Maw, or whatever you call your Mother; they deserve to be celebrated, acknowledged, and appreciated as they play a vital role in our social, emotional, physical, and cognitive developmental growth, even fostering on our independence. We would not achieve or be who we are today if it wasn't because of our mother’s untold pain, selfless sacrifice, and genuine love that transcends throughout our time and continues to build a bridge toward the future that our parents envisioned for us. For them, they want nothing but only the best for their children.
Mother’s Day is a celebration to honor motherhood and has been observed widely worldwide. Its history can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans where they held festivals to honor their mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Another account is the Christian festival of “Mothering Sunday”, a tradition in the United Kingdom in which the faithful children would return to their 'Mother' church or the main church after working away from home, over the time it turned into a secular holiday where children would give their mothers presents like flowers as a small gift. In the United States, the history of Mother's Day is somewhat political, its origin can be dated back to the 19th Century when Ann Reeves Jarvis established the "Mother's Day Work Club" to educate local women on how to take care of their children. After the civil war, the regions were still divided and later on, the club became a unifying force. In 1868, Jarvis organized the “Mother's Friendship Day”, in which mothers come together with the former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation. In 1870, Julia Ward Howe an American poet and author wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation”, which served as a call to unite mothers in attaining world peace. By 1900s, Mother’s Day was declared an official holiday after the efforts of Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis.
In the Philippines, despite the 1998 Presidential Decree that technically moves the Country's official "Mother's Day" and "Father’s Day" to the first Monday of December every year, most Filipinos still prefer to celebrate Mother's Day every second Sunday of May similarly to the rest of the world.
Mothers are called “ilaw ng tahanan” in the Filipino language which literally translates to “the light of the home” in English, because it is believed that mothers bring love, warmth, comfort, and brightness to the family as they elucidate darkness in the house by putting their family first and protecting them the best way they can.
During this special day, as part of the culture in the Philippines, Filipinos pay tributes to their moms, grandmothers, mother peers, and other motherly figures in their respective family, including single fathers who played both roles for their children by giving them surprises, gifts, blowouts, and special notes or letters.
This year's Mother's Day Celebration in the country is slightly different, with the 2022 Elections coming up on Monday, May 9, 2022 the tension is quite intense. Top Presidential candidates Bongbong Marcos, son of dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and Imelda Marcos is running a close match against Leni Robredo, a widow and a single mother raising 3 daughters after the death of her late husband Jesse Robredo from a plane crash in 2012.
Supporters from each party made futile attempts during the campaign period and even online up to today to convince opposing parties to switch teams, but voters are adamant with their decision of who to shade in their ballots on the May 9th Elections.
Moreover, some politicians inevitably make decisions that may impact the healthcare of our Filipino mothers.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed that thousands of Filipino women continue to die due to the complications that are related to childbirth. Camarines Sur Representative LRay Villafuerte said that there is a need for the full implementation of the Republic Act 11148 or the “Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Magnanay Act”, for which government should appropriate funds for the programs in the first one thousand (1000) days of a child’s life from birth. Mothers are also struggling to access mental health services despite the message of the Republic Act 11036 or the Mental Health Act of 2018 that makes mental health services accessible at the local level, however in 2021, the budget for the National Mental Health Program is only P615 million which is only equivalent to P5.69 per capita, a number impossible to afford and sustain any needs or commodity.
On the brighter side, it is a victory for Filipino mothers that 'Maternity Leave' has been extended from 60 days to 105 days after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11210 or the “105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law”.
These are just some of the numerous predicaments that Filipino mothers are facing. It is a specter that haunts mothers as they think for the unforseeable future of their children and the Filipino family.
To achieve changes in the aspect of Motherhood, it is imperative that we elect leaders who reflect our values and that will guarantee the protection of our children’s future.