Fight or Flight? Why I join the party-list elections

Dec. 15, 2021

Some of those who know me expect I will always do the latter. I am not sure how you felt when I finally agreed to file as the second nominee of Gabriela Women’s Party at a time when killing of anyone is almost normal.

I am no exception to that potential victim. I am a woman, a doctor who spends part of the time doing medical missions (prior to the COVID19 pandemic), or fact-finding missions when there were extraordinary or ordinary, day to day events led to the violation of people’s rights. I am also into advocacy work. I have joined citizens who engaged various agencies hoping against hope that the evidence-based information may conscienticize the decision-makers. I have been doing this for over three decades. I am into many issues because I am not a single-issue activist. And that increases the risk.

I am a doctor with a clinical practice as anesthesiologist. As an anesthesiologist, I am expected to be inside the four walls of the operating room, stay focused on my patient until she or he is awake and safe even after the procedure. A joke among us is that our practice has the “toxic” combination of boredom and stress. In the process of doing service to the individual patients, I contribute to climate change (or climate anomaly) because my inhalational anesthetics are powerful greenhouse gases. For obvious reasons I have no access to xenon, which is a naturally occurring gas that is the safest to the patient and to the environment. Most of the instruments and the medical supplies are wrapped in plastic materials and, therefore, contribute to plastic pollution that form islands in the oceans, kill the endangered sea turtles and whales.

I really wanted to be the tree-hugging environmentalist or a “plantita” environmentalist, but I am terrified by the scenario of indigenous people who are driven away from their territories to give way to the mining businesses that extract our resources for profit. I have no problem with the use of minerals to make anesthesia machines and other technologies to save lives or to liberate people from suffering. Such kind of development should sustain humanity.

As a feminist, I also care about grassroots women mired in poverty, and suffering even more because they are women. When I gave critical support to previous administrations, I chose to struggle with them for survival needs while working for the strategic needs that belong to the realm of gender justice. We never kept our eyes off the problems of sexism and misogyny.

I am aware that pragmatic solidarity is not enough but somehow, we must find a way to reduce suffering the soonest time then continue to work for strategic solutions that impact positively on humanity.

Electoral politics was never an ambition. My party-list is not a dynasty-powered party but one powered by grassroots women who push back. The electoral arena has been a discourse space that create inclusive and equalizing space for the traditionally excluded social entities because the communities push back.

The dynasty powered party-lists have the logistical advantage, but our advantage is the real people who think independently and resist all forms of tyranny.

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