Feature: Love, culture and change
by Recthie B. Tolinero
Cagayan de Oro City (4 March) -- Women in Islam are given the right to own however, as much as possible, they should not have financial obligations like men. Based in Qur'an, the women's share of inheritance is often less than that of their men since they do not have to pay dowry or for their children and parents maintenance. But with the poverty incidence and the rapid increase of expenses nowadays, this tradition has changed.
Moling Dicatanongan, 34, and Mariam Dicatanongan, 35, confirmed this trend as they experienced extreme poverty being magduaya or women having the same husband. Moling and Mariam both live in Purok Pag-asa, Inagungan, Tagoloan, Lanao del Norte. Both of them bore six children of almost the same ages. Mariam is the first wife and her children are already 21, 18, 16, 14, 10 and 8 years old. Her first two children are already married while the others are in First Year High School, Grades 5, 4, and 1. Moling's children on the other hand are 12, 11, 10, 9, 5 and 1 years old who are in Grades 3, 2, 1 and daycare.
They depend on their husband's P1,000 per month income being a farmer and a part-time Special Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary (SCAA).
According to Naiba Hadji Noor, Tagoloan Municipal Link, Maranao men are allowed to have up to four (4) wives depending on the discretion of the wives and their capability to provide for his families but with Moling and Mariam's situation, it can be that their husband before was able to suffice their needs but not until they experienced economic crisis especially in agriculture.
Moling only finished Grade 4 Arabic class but has not attained any educational level in standard education while Mariam reached Grade 3 Arabic class and has also not attained any standard education level. With this illiteracy, Moling and Mariam found it hard to work for a job to raise their family. To help each other, the two often share rice, viand and other goods given to them by their husband.
When they knew that they are chosen as beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, they were very delighted saying, "Phanalamat kami sa 4Ps ka mala minitabang iyan r'kami ka miyamakapamagiskwela so mga wata ami, and a niya ka tabang ko awid a akal iran ko gamit iran sa eskwelaan (We thank 4Ps because it helped us send our children to school as well as it gave us the opportunity to provide for all their educational needs)." Monthly, the two are entitled to receive P1,400 to support the educational and health needs of their children.
The 4Ps is a poverty reduction strategy of the government that aims to meet certain human development goals by providing conditional cash grants to extremely poor households. The beneficiaries in return, are obliged to comply with the program's conditions which mainly focus on responsible parenthood.
Moling and Mariam's present condition only proved that love can be shared, culture will still be followed but is flexible through time and change always takes place in one's difficult life especially when there is 4Ps. (DSWD X) [top]