Last Sunday was my first time to watch the Binibining Pilipinas coronation night live. It was held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and we were there to support a neighbor and friend of my sons Christa Borja. Congratulations Binibini20 for making it to the top 15. (Click link to read our feature on her.)
I must say this batch has a lot of very beautiful and smart candidates. I heard a story that a number of potential candidates for last year held back because the chance of winning the coveted Miss Universe was very low (we were the host country and Pia Wurtzback just won the title the previous year.)
Despite the spectacle of the earlier portions parading gorgeous bodies in swimsuits and elegant gowns, I’ve always looked forward to watching the Q&A portion. They are all beautiful and sexy, some a few notches higher than the rest but it’s this last portion that usually clinches the deal. This part is so nerve wracking even for the audience. Can you imagine how it is for the candidates?
That FQ Question for Binibini13
Judge Mitzi Borromeo asks the question to Sirene Sutton: “Is it right for parents to demand support from children in exchange for raising them?”
Sirene puts her left hand on her waist, same side where her long leg peeps beautifully a-la Angelina Jolie during one Oscars night. Tense laughter follows. She answers, “No.” She pauses. “May you repeat the question?”
Judge repeats the question.
Sirene says, “Yes, it’s right for parents…for parents to demand… She pauses. “No. Sorry.” Pauses again. The chime rings.
Host Xian Lim says, “Thank you Binibini13, your time is up.”
(Click these two links provided below if you want to watch the video.)
Focus on the question
As I get older, I’ve trained myself to always look at the good things that can come out of not-so-good situations. In this case, I see Sirene’s fumble highlighting this big question.
While listening to her live at the coliseum, I blurted out my answer. Then as I watched her nervously bring back her bearings, I realize that she must have been ambivalent about her answer. Maybe she felt that if she kept her NO answer, she would offend her mother and the rest of her family whom she is supporting as a model.
I grew up hearing my mother say, “Parents have the obligation to support their children until a certain age, but children don’t have any financial obligation to their parents. We chose to bring you to this world while you did not choose to be born.”
Because of the attention given to Sirene’s fumble, I myself googled what our Constitution says. According to Article 195 of the Family Code, the following persons are obliged to support each other:
a. the spouses;
b. legitimate ascendants and descendants;
c. parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate children of the latter;
d. parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latters;
e. legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood.
I spoke to lawyer friends on the above and was really surprised to find out that yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus! – that the law provides for that Pinoy practice of treating their earning relatives as their year-long Santa Claus!
I wish to thank Atty. Tony La Viña (former Dean of Ateneo School of Government, now Director of Manila Observatory), Atty. Tito Bundang (Sapalo Velez Bundang & Bulilan Law Firm), and Atty. Ferdinand Tolentino (former Deputy Executive Director of Public-Private Partnership Center, Philippines) for replying to my legal queries for free!
According to Atty. Tolentino, this law was written during the Cory regime as an attempt to incorporate into existing law the culture of Filipinos and even practices in Canon Law. It has been a common practice for Filipinos to support their parents/siblings, unlike in most Western cultures. The law does not specifically indicate when this support is triggered so this right for support is always there.
For Atty. La Viña, the law is essentially triggered by need and means. The one demanding for said support must need the support and the other party must have the means to give support after it has already allocated support to his other dependents who are higher on the list.
When I asked how easily can this law be used by parents, siblings, other family members, and what protection does a citizen have from claimants who are just lazy to earn a living, Atty. Bundang referred me to the Rules of Court Rule No. 61 Support Pendente Lite.
When I tried to research further, the cases I found were more about child support and not parental or sibling. I think what’s more important is to focus on how each family views this obligation because it is very values-based.
Unfortunately, since most families do not speak about money in a comfortable way, chances are the members are not clear about this matter. Unclear expectations usually lead to family feuds that are left unsettled for years and may creep into the next generation(s).
I’m happy that my parents made it clear what they expected from us. When I started working, my mom told me that I didn’t have to contribute to our household expenses as long as they could still afford it, but encouraged me to save. Don’t get me wrong, we were not rich but just had enough. Maybe in a few times, a little less than what was comfortable for them. But they never obliged any of their children to give financial support.
They lived simply, the frugal Ilocano way. They lived within their means, no need to keep up with the Joneses were the important lessons I learned from their example. What I notice is that it is so much sweeter to give and receive when it is not demanded. I remember when my brother started working in the US after he topped the Board exam in Occupational Therapy. He gave my parents a credit card, “Use this if you want to buy anything. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of paying the bill.” Guess how many times they used the card? Zero! But they were happy to receive it and my brother was also proud and delighted to have given it. I also enjoyed giving them gifts every now and then, especially big-ticket items that we’ve saved up for. Seeing their eyes light up and boasting about such gifts, “Bigay ng anak ko ‘yan!” bring thrill to both giver and receiver. I’m sure all my siblings feel the same with their respective gift-giving moments with our parents.
My mom, the money manager, also spent on the things that she valued. She liked celebrating milestones and they always did. Up to her last breath, she made sure that she was not going to be a burden to anyone.
How about you? Have you discussed this with your family members? Do you have family members who seem to be always depending on others for their needs? Do you sometimes feel guilty enjoying your wealth because you see loved ones in dire financial needs but don’t know how to help without enabling their dependence? Or are you in a situation of over-giving that you have failed to set aside for your own retirement? Well, you better hurry up, because you don’t want to hear what Xian Lim said to Binibini13, “Your time is up!”
- Join me tomorrow on FQ Live! for our friendly debate on this issue. We will have two millennials from The Global Filipino Investors (TGFI) as our guests – Floi Wycoco (President) who will discuss the NO side, and Joy Sanchez ( Chief Commercial Officer) who will discuss the YES side. Send in your questions now.
- Want to know your FQ Score. Take it today. Click link to take the test.
- I will speak at the “12th Puregold-Tindahan ni Aling Puring Sari-sari Store Convention” with the theme #PanalongPagbabago to be held on May 25, 2017 (Thursday), 1:30-2:30pm at the World Trade Center, Manila.
Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Images from clipartfest, free icons download, missosology, mykiru, wallpaper gallery2 and www.bbpilipinas.com put together to help deliver the message.
Click any of these 2 links if you want to watch the Q&A of Binibini13