Sara’s bid for small families getting flesh
By ROGER M. BALANZA
The favorite story nowadays of Davao City Vice Mayor Sara Duterte, a responsible parenting advocate, during her speeches in visits to the barangays is coming face-to-face with a man who had sired 16 children.
Deep down in the hinterlands of Marilog, Sara recounted how she lured the man to surface in the middle of a large crowd of Matigsalog natives when she attended the fiesta celebration of Barangay Dalag Lumot, The barangay, near the boundary with Cotabato, is one of the remotest of the city’s 182 villages and seldom reached by government health workers.
Who among you have five children? She asked the crowd. There were many hands raised from the throng gathered at the barangay square. 6? More hands were raised. 7? 10!!!. There were no takers when the count went to 11 then 15.
While guffaws erupted when Pedro (Sara would name reveal his true name) raised his hands, the saga of the barangay’s most productive Romeo was common knowledge.
Pedro, said to be about 45, had sired the staggering number feeding the large brood mainly through his income from farming. To Sara, the shocking part is that not one of the children had gone to school.
Today, the story of the procreative prowess of the Matigsalog farmer with sixteen children is the meat of Sara’s speeches as he drums up support for responsible parenthood that centers on smaller families.
She has become an expert on family planning—she married only last year and has yet to see the fruit of her labors with husband lawyer Mans Carpio—from tubal ligation to vasectomy to pills.
In her visits to the barangays, she lures couples in the crowd with P5,000 to undergo tubal ligation or vasectomy, spicing it up with the boast that the city health office has a warehouse-full of pills for those who do not want more children.
She goes serious with her narration of the pain of large families having no food on the table and no schooling for the children, and selling the idea of a two- or three-child family.
On the ground, Sara has set the foundation for her advocacy.
Vasectomy, tubal ligation and other artificial methods of family planning however is out of the picture in her radar, to give couples the option to choose their methods.
This a correct move, and politically right being, as artificial methods of family planning would have her clash head-on with the Catholic Church. Nevertheless,
Early this month as acting mayor, she affixed her signature to Executive Order (EO) that would massively promote natural family planning (NFP) in the barangay-level.
To ensure implementation, the order created the Barangay Responsible Parenting Movement (BRPMG) which would conduct classes and information campaign on family planning tapping volunteers, and peoples and non-government organizations.
BRPMG will be composed of barangay resident volunteers, “teacher-users” and members of interested church-based organizations and people’s organizations, with the primary goal of selling natural family planning methods.