The ‘na-ano’ moms and kids talk back
Compiled by Pam Pastor
My father passed away when I was 11; I’m turning 26 this year.
Since my father died, my mom—a single mother because she never re-married—has been raising all three of us, my two brothers and me.
She tried to give us the things we wanted—even those we do not necessarily need. She never failed to try to understand me, and while there were times she went against what I wanted, she ended up being supportive anyway. She’s not perfect, no one is, but she tries her best to be the perfect parent.
Among my friends, I’m not the only one raised by a single mom. I have friends and peers who have also been brought up by strong women single-handedly, and I believe we have all grown well.
That’s why I can’t let Senator Tito Sotto—a misogynist senator—reduce Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, a highly regarded woman whose achievements surpass that of many men in government, as a “na-ano lang” because she’s a single mother. That’s an insult not only to her, but also to all the single mothers out there who are doing a fantastic job at raising a family. Not only is it an assault to the dignity of women, but it also reinforces the idea that it is OK for these people in the streets to shame females.
I may not witness our society break the glass ceiling, but there’s peace in knowing that a lot of people are speaking out against misogynists like Sotto. Baby steps, I guess.–Macky del Rosario
“Na-ano” was simply derogatory, insulting. I don’t understand why this comment was even necessary. Was it to discredit [Social Welfare] Secretary Taguiwalo? I don’t think being a single mom makes her unfit for government.
Sad reality is that there are still many men (and even women) who think along this line.
I don’t expect much from society anymore. I think we’re all moving backwards. It must be the global trend right now. This is the 21st century, for crying out loud, and yet our attitudes are worse than ever.–Ruby Gan
Filipinos have a lot of growing up to do. We have to learn that insulting someone or degrading someone is not a form of humor, and we also have to demand more from our government leaders.
“I’m sorry that you were offended” is not an apology.
I was raised by a single mother and have been taught respect and responsibility. There are also a lot of Filipino mothers in unhappy marriages who want to leave but are afraid of public opinion. This kind of thinking has to change, but with so many things that need to change in our current world, I don’t know which comes first. All I know is that I was raised properly and respect all women. So tell the world that #MartinLoves SingleMommies.
–Martin Francis Tee Ten
I hate how numb I feel toward the remarks of Sotto and even how the crowd reacted on social media. The whole incident highlighted how there are still a lot who believe women cannot be independent, who think remarks such as these are mere jokes to laugh at.
I can’t speak for others, but having been raised by a single mother myself, I believe that women should not be degraded, but lauded instead. I hope that people realize women are not weak, but are strong and highly capable individuals. They face stress biologically, in the work place, being less prioritized for employment, not being taken seriously. I don’t think men can even imagine how much effort it takes to shrug those off each day and move forward.
–Raphael Francis Tee Ten
A single mom would not be a single mom if things worked out between her and her child’s biological dad, so behind every single mom is a story of the split.
I had to sue my ex, the father of my child, for child support. Even then, because we weren’t on good terms, he gave every excuse in the book not to give child support. I was constantly made to feel ashamed that I was resorting to legal measures to have the father of my son live up to his responsibility. I think this reflects the dominant belief in the Philippines that women should not “ask,” women should not make trouble. Single moms are often made to feel ashamed that they have a child out of wedlock, or that they are not with the father of the child anymore. They are made to feel that should bear the burden of raising the child that they bore “in sin.”
I persisted in the child support case and finally won. My son has the right to receive support from his father. I dropped my pride and didn’t try to be superwoman. I accepted the fact that although I could raise my child alone, he should have access to the financial resources of his biological dad, who also had a hand in bringing him into this world.
Single mothers, in my experience, have to work doubly hard. They don’t have the benefit or safety net of a dual-earning household. I wanted to go for graduate school but I couldn’t study anymore because by then, my son was already a toddler and I had to support him.
I was furious because Senator Sotto was not only belittling [Social Welfare] Secretary Taguiwalo, but also the other single mothers—and my mother.
Raising their child or children by themselves doesn’t make single mothers any less moraly fit. It only shows how strong they are in facing the responsibilities that should also be faced by the father of her child/children.
Sotto only showed he was a stupid senator, a bad example of a public servant.
To mom and other single mommies, thank you for raising us and for teaching us to respect others, something that Tito Sotto clearly doesn’t do.
‘You will always be enough’
There’s a twist: because even though you didn’t believe those words that came out of the foul mouth of Tito Sotto, there is that part of the problem only single mothers will understand.
Growing up, I lived in a world where families were complete; where my playmates had both parents. The other kids had someone to call “Daddy.” I, however, had to sit in a corner whenever it was Father’s Day. I remember in kindergarten, my teacher would ask us to draw our family and I’d always draw my Nanay and I. Just us.
I would always draw my Nanay wearing a crown because then until now, she is queen in my eyes.
My “na-ano lang” worked in government, a newspaper and other jobs just to make sure I was well-fed and well-cared for.
“Na-ano lang” braved (Supertyphoon “Yolanda”) Haiyan in Tacloban in 2013 and helped victims recover.
“Na-ano lang” should have been resting now, but she continues to support me in my dreams of becoming a lawyer.
To my Nanay Jinky, I’m sorry we have to live in this world where misogynistic pigs belittle your efforts. I promise to protect you. Rest assured you are loved. And you will always be enough.
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