Iñigo Pascual’s tweet on street children, poverty and family planning were met with varied reactions from Filipinos who both criticized and supported his belief.
According to him, he is “so done seeing kids asking for money from people in cars… kids are meant to have a childhood.”
The actor’s first lines were met with ire but those who lauded him focused on the second part of his tweet where he blamed children’s parents for lack of family planning.
im so done seeing kids asking for money from people in cars…
kids are meant to have a childhood…
they deserve to play and learn life…
wag maganak kung hindi maalagaan.
hindi nila kasalanan na hindi kaya ng magulang nilang suportahan sila…
— inigo ? (@OneInigoPascual) August 27, 2018
Pro-Iñigo: Importance of self-responsibility
While the actor’s first lines were delivered with a tone that seemed offensive, there were those who agreed with him and stated that it was a matter of proper family planning.
In my opinion, his post wasn’t meant to ridicule the poor but instead to show awareness on the importance of self responsibility! That sometimes, it’s just a matter of PRINCIPLE and not really the ‘lack of opportunity!’ ✌
— Just Saying! (@Slayer9487) August 29, 2018
User @BaliliAnalyn added that street children should not be held accountable for their state of poverty.
I agree. Hindi dapat mga batang inosente ang nagbabayad ng pagkakamaling nagawa ng kanilang magulang. Be responsible enough kung pinili nating maging magulang.
— chix / Maris-Inigo VFs (@BaliliAnalyn) August 27, 2018
Anti-Iñigo: Misaligned blaming
There were users who criticized Iñigo for his tweet, saying that the actor was wrongly imposing the blame on someone or something else.
To say that their having children is a result of irresponsible decision-making is to assume they had the proper education, guidance, protection, resources, & healthcare access to make "responsible decisions" and they still made bad ones. Did they have all those privileges though?
— Nojo Mojo (@Minipax1984) August 29, 2018
User @HelloPhili emphasized that there are children who are born out of rape or sexual abuse as well, not just due to the lack of knowledge on family planning.
May tama naman sya. Pero pards andaming may anak dyan na mahihirap hindi lang dahil wala silang access sa information ukol sa family planning kundi dahil sa rape na hindi na nairereport sa pulis dahil sa takot, kahihiyan, balakid sa pahanap ng hustisya (paano at magkano).
— Hello Phili (@HelloPhili) August 29, 2018
Meanwhile, @dbonesetter argued that there are lots of factors at play in the phenomenon.
@OneInigoPascual it is too simplistic to say that it is the fault of the parents. Numerous factors contribute to poverty. And one of which is lack of opportunity.
— RPZamora (@dbonesetter) August 30, 2018
A previous report reveals that current working conditions are partly to be blamed for the cycle of poverty.
One is the lack of adequate employment opportunities in rural areas while the other is the never-ending issue of contractualization, which prevents workers from receiving proper income.
While there are specific agencies that cater to poverty reduction, the country is still far from totally achieving a poverty-free society.
According to a report by World Bank, Philippines has “lagged” behind in terms of poverty reduction compared to its East Asian neighbors. It added that around 22 million Filipinos still live “below the national poverty line” in 2015.
Initiatives to combat issue
The government has yet to fully implement RA 10354 or “The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.”
It is supposed to provide Filipinos with universal access to contraceptives, fertility control, maternal care and sexual education. As of now, only Benguet receives its benefits.
Relevant national government agencies are supposed to collaborate with local government units to “conduct intensive community-based demand generation and referral activities,” among others.
In a press briefing last year, National Economic and Development Authority director general Ernesto Pernia shared:
“There is a plan in the next six months for local governments to go out in the field, to do house-to-house visits, identify those in need of family planning, [and work] with all these agencies.”