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Love, divorce and COVID-19

I HOPE this piece sees print or comes out online in time for Feb. 14.  Yes I know this column is anti-climactic considering that it is Valentine’s Day but reality does bite and not everyone is blessed with a healthy relationship or a loving spouse and family.

After numerous revisions and consolidation since the 14th, 15th, and 16th Congress, the country’s lawmakers in the current  Congress is about to start debating on the divorce bill.
If the divorce bill passes through the Lower House and is passed by the Senate, most likely it will be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte. And we all know how Mr. Duterte feels about the Catholic Church, his putdowns signifying his utter contempt that is sacrilegious to a lot of Catholic faithful.
Once the divorce bill becomes law, you don’t have to take my word that it would shake to the core the sanctity of marriage in the country and pave the way for more liberated legislation on otherwise traditional religious customs like same sex marriage.
But let’s focus on the present which is that the bill won’t be passed without a fight by conservative legislators who can be counted on by the Church to defend marriage as an institution.  Lawmakers like Rep. Rolando Uy of Cagayan de Oro City’s first district.
First, I’ll share to you what I heard from a priest that officiated the Mass In a nearby church last Sunday.  In his homily, the priest whose name I didn’t get talked about marriage and how parishioners would comment that the clergy cannot sympathize with those with troubled marriages.
The priest told those in attendance that priests and nuns chose to sacrifice their chance of wedded bless in favor of commitment to service to the Lord and so understand and emphathize with what couples go through in their marriage.
As I said, Congressman Uy is against divorce not only because of personal religious beliefs but of his frequent sponsorship of mass weddings of couples who could not afford to pay for their own.
Aside from traditional Catholic weddings, Uy would also be asked to sponsor mass weddings of other denominations and these mass weddings are usually held every Valentine’s Day. Recipients would be assured of a lechon (roasted pig), wine and softdrinks to mark their special day. 
Since mass weddings involve 100 couples, I would assume that a lot more are living together because of financial constraints or by choice. Aside from Uy, I’ll see if I can get the sentiments of other legislators in the city and Misamis Oriental on the issue and will keep you readers posted.
On another issue, the novel coronavirus (nCoV) has a new name called COVID-19 or coronavirus 19 and the spate of deaths caused by the virus is now quite alarming enough to say the least in order to justify the purchase of those face masks which had run out in the city’s pharmacies.
I have yet to verify if the virus had mutated but the latest findings showed that the virus can survive warm or humid weather.  So far most of the deaths were of people who suffered a previous ailment and thus had their immune systems weakened and vulnerable to the COVID-19.
What does matter is that infection can be prevented through practice of self hygiene and minimizing contact with respiratory diseases or other ailments. And we don’t need those screaming social media posts that claim there were people who died from COVID-19 in Cagayan de Oro City without offering a shred of evidence.
Right now we should still look to the Department of Health (DOH) for health advisories on the COVID-19 as well as the City Health Office and the Provincial Health Office which had been working double time to keep people informed and calm  amid rumors being spread online by trolls who wash their hands off any responsibility with their tagline ‘keep safe and be cautious’ or words to that effect.
As I head back to the US in a matter of days, I wish all of us would be safe from this virus and help each other in keeping it that way regardless of our political, religious and personal beliefs and differences.  Also, I hope and pray that a vaccine and treatment be available soon before this virus worsens. (Email to susanap.Dennis @yahoo.com)
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