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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, June 23, 2020
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Come To Think Of It
with Carlos Antonio L. Leonardia



Belated happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there.

I hope you dudes had a good one, with yummy food and lots of quarantined hugs and kisses from the members of your nuclear family. Hopefully your minor-aged kids that are still prohibited from going out, especially in malls, managed to scrounge up a DIY gift or token of affection. For those who are not ashamed to admit they do the cooking and the laundry, I hope you got a much-needed break.

The coronavirus disease 2019 has vastly changed how we celebrate Father’s Day this year. What used to be a heavily commercialized affair that involved meals in restaurants and gifts purchased from mall stores was mainly a stay-at-home affair. Malls and restaurants remained mostly empty, at most 50 percent full, although I hope their take out service still did good business. Aside from the traditional sources of meals and treats, we also have the many other food sources in the community that have become popular during the quarantine period, contributing to the underground lockdown economy and the overall quality of food choices.

Mommies and kids who used to buy their dads gifts from mall stores probably made their own gifts. Just like last month’s Mother’s Day that was celebrated in lockdown, there was still almost nothing for traditional businessmen to look forward to this GCQ Father’s Day. The same trend will probably continue for all other special days and events for the rest of 2020. I hope our businessmen and their employees somehow manage to adapt and survive these difficult times.

Anyway, back to Father’s Day.

I went grocery shopping this weekend and there was a special lane at the checkout for dads. It was a nice touch but unfortunately for me, there wasn’t much of a queue when I was there. Anyway, there was a nice red carpet just for dads so I chose to avail of that rare Father’s Day privilege.

If you come to think of it, fatherhood is so common that it shouldn’t be a privilege. Any male animal can become a father. However, there are those of us who are privileged to have fathers who do their best not only to provide, but provide exemplary role models as well and those special breed of men are the reason we have Father’s Day. It is a rare privilege to have a man in your life who strives his best to be a good parent, provider, role model and friend and that is something we should never take for granted. The difficult times we are going through now helps us appreciate and value good fathers even more.

Father’s Day may have been all fun and games for those who can afford to a life of privilege, even during these times, but let us not forget that this is a challenging time for many dads, especially the less-privileged ones who are struggling mightily because of COVID-19.

The difference between the privileged dads and their families whose biggest problem is the loss of some freedoms for the sake of their health and safety of their families while others are spending Father’s Day while worrying about the loss of their livelihoods. Many of these dads want the same for their kids and family and are doing the best they can to be a better Tatay than that prototypical Filipino Tatay who overpromises and under delivers. The difference is that some are in a position of privilege while others are already starting to lose hope after almost 100 days of military-style lockdowns imposed by our nation’s father and this team of advisers.

Being a good father is already no joke when conditions are ideal. Imagine how difficult that role would be in the midst of a crisis where we are saddled with a government that seems to be incapable of performing up to minimum expectations. It irony of the situation is that we are where we are because of politicos who brand themselves as responsible fathers of the communities they supposedly serve but their apathy and poor decisions, coupled with the incompetence of their trusted people who are supposedly the best and the brightest they can find in a nation of almost 110 million, has cast thousands, if not millions of their fellow Filipino fathers into the pits of despair.

While there are many Filipino fathers who deserve the limelight and adoration on Father’s Day, the grim reality is that there are families that cannot even afford to celebrate Father’s Day because they have almost nothing left by now. If you come to think of it, these are the guys who need more of the love and support on Father’s Day because they are at the end of their rope. I don’t know what we could’ve and should’ve done for these fathers but as usual, it is the private sector that is expected to pick up the slack.

On the other side of the Father’s Day spectrum are men who have children but do not deserve the title of father, dad, tatay or pops. We still greet them a Happy Father’s Day out of obligation but these kind of fathers are the reason why our country is so messed up.

Belated Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. I hope you take your jobs seriously, not just on the 3 rd Sunday of June, but every day. Let’s not just strive to give our kids the best of everything while sheltering them from the evils of the world, but be good role models for them. The morals, standards and principles of today’s parents will determine what kind of world our kids and grandkids will have when we are no longer around.*  

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