Pinag-awayan ni Dr. Carl Balita at ng kanyang asawa ang kandidatura niya sa pagkasenador, sa ilalim ni Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno.
Kontra raw ang misis niya na sumabak siya sa pulitika.
“Sabi ng misis ko, ‘Ang sarap ng buhay natin, ang simple ng buhay natin, why are you wanting to enter?’ So I refused po,” kuwento ni Dr. Carl.
Sumalang siya sa virtual mediacon with the members of SPEEd (Society of Philippine Entertainment Editors) nitong Oktubre 27, Miyerkules.
“Ang isang realization ko dito, iyon palang boundary ng arrogance and humility is just a thin line. You know why?
“When people tell you that you are their best bet to government, and you say 'no,' I felt arrogant. But if I say 'yes,' I felt humble. ‘Where am I?’ sabi ko.
“Then, I prayed to God. I asked for signs. One of the signs I saw is the support of the sectors. They have very complete plans on how to make me win."
Ang tumulong na kumimbinse sa pamilya ni Dr. Carl ay ang mismong alkalde ng Maynila.
“Pero ang pinaka-surprise of them all, is when Isko Moreno called me already.
"On the same day that I asked for prayer was the same day that Isko called me and said, ‘Carl, hindi kita pipilitin, pero I’d like to tell you I have very few senatorial slots, and one of them belongs to you.’
“Then I told Isko, ‘Ang problema natin, ang pamilya ko, because my family won’t allow me.’
"‘Tama 'yan, tama 'yan, Carl. Konsultahin mo sila. Pag ayaw nila, wala tayong magagawa. Pero kumbinsihin mo sila.’
“And then, he was part of those who convinced to talk to my family. Ang sabi niya sa mga anak ko, ‘Mga anak, hiramin ko yung tatay ninyo ng six years at may aayusin lang kami sa gobyerno para sa inyo.’
“At that moment, my family said ‘yes.’ So, finally I ran.”
Nakaangkla raw ang plataporma ni Dr. Carl sa tatlong sektor—kalusugan, kabuhayan, at karunungan.
STINT AS MOVIE PRODUCER
Si Dr. Carl ay isang educator at registered nurse na may pag-aaring review centers para sa nursing graduates.
Nakatapos siya ng dalawang doctorate degrees sa humanities at education, ayon sa kanyang linked.in bio.
Naranasan din niyang mag-produce ng dalawang indie film, ang Nars (2007) at Maestra (2017).
Ipinagmalaki ni Dr. Carl ang mga artistang kinuha niya noon sa pelikulang Nars.
“I realized that I belong to show business because I have produced films, and by connection,” lahad ng 51-anyos na si Dr. Carl.
“Yun pong una, yung Nars. Hindi pa po masyadong sikat si Coco Martin noon, pero big-time po ang mga kinuha ko noon.
"Kasi, tanda ninyo yung 2006 leakage sa nursing scandal? Hindi ako kasali dun, ‘no? Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sa kanila yun…
"Pero gusto ko lang makatulong to revive the nursing spirit. Kasi, sa buong mundo, nasira tayo, e.
“Nag-produce po ako ng film. Kinuha ko diyan sina Jennylyn Mercado, Agot Isidro, Jodi Sta. Maria, Coco Martin, Jay Manalo, Alan Paule, Jaclyn Jose—big-time. Adolf Alix po 'yan."
Nasundan iyon ng isa pang-advocacy film niya na Maestra.
"Then, after ten years, I realized, masyado pong neglected ang mga teachers sa atin. You know why? Proof of that, ang salary grade ng teachers, eleven . Tumaas lang po yun nang konti sa clerk.
"Alam niyo po, ang kita ng sundalo is PHP29,000 ang entry. Ang teacher, PHP27,000. Ang DH, PHP37,000.
“Ang Filipino teacher sa Thailand, PHP30,000. Ang nurses, PHP37,000. Anong ginagawa? Paano tayo makaka-attract ng the best and the brightest?
“So, gumawa po ako ng story, nag-create ako ng tatlong cases. Pinagsama-sama ko yung Aeta teacher, yung mahirap na bata na walang gusto kundi maging teacher, at saka isang iconic teacher. Gloria Sevilla, Angeli Bayani, and Anna Luna."
Sinu-sino sa mga kaibigan niya sa showbiz ang sumusuporta sa kanyang kandidatura?
“Oh my God! Alam niyo ba, days after I declared, may jingle na ako. Vehnee Saturno!” masayang pagbabalita ni Dr. Carl.
“For free! For free, alam mo, nagpadala lang ako sa kanya, alam mo, naawa ako sa kumanta…
“Eto pa, eto pa! Noong launching ko, nagulat ako, ang kumanta ng 'Exaltation' in the opening is Dulce. Di ba? Ang paborito kong song na 'Impossible Dream,' ang kumanta, Poppert [Bernadas]. Di ba?
"Kapitbahay ko si Coco Martin, nung dumadaan ako nung isang araw, tinawag niya ako. Sabi niya, ‘Kuya Carl, tumatakbo ka pala! Sige, galingan mo!’ May mga ganun!"
his STAND ON DIVORCE
Hiningan si Dr. Carl ng kanyang posisyon sa ilang relevant issues nang humarap siya sa media.
Ano ang stand niya sa divorce?
Napangiting sagot ni Dr. Carl, “I’m happily married, ‘no? I believe in marriage."
Pero kahit na matagumpay ang karanasan niya sa buhay mag-asawa, pabor si Dr. Carl sa divorce.
Paliwanag niya: "Uhm, well, divorce could be a solution in itself to some irreparable problems in the family.
"I don’t want to dwell on the legal side but I just want to dwell on the practical side.
"Because I have become witness to relationships that are better off as friends, not necessarily as enemies.
"And while we value the sanctity of the family and the sacredness of marriage, if the solution to the relationship is really to be ano… it’s something we may need to explore.
"But we have to correct a lot of it even in the constitutional level."
his stand ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Ano naman ang pananaw niya sa same-sex marriage or same-sex civil union?
"My eldest is a lesbian," mabilis na sambit ni Dr. Carl.
“I’m proud of her. She’s a full scholar for Law, she’s a topnotcher in the PhilSAT, and she has a happy relationship.
"And I’m one who is for it, yeah, because it’s love, you know. Faith, Hope, and Love… I want to embrace that part of love.
"And, yeah, just to give you my personal view, well, I would love to see her being married or in a civil union.
"To me, wedding is a religious rite. But to me, I want that civil rite."
Ikinuwento ni Dr. Carl ang nangyari sa isang same-sex couple na may wonderful relationship, pero walang karapatan sa civil union.
Yung isa ay yumaman dahil mahusay, at ang ka-partner niya ay nakasuporta sa kanya.
"When the good one, the breadwinner died, of course his family did not like that kind of relationship, kawawa yung naiwan," lahad ni Dr. Carl.
"Do you know why? Because he has no right whatsoever to what is left of what they actually built together.
"Because everything was in the name of the partner who died. What if they’re in a civil rite?
"Maybe being the inspiration of the other one, maybe being the supporter of this one, maybe he would have shared some part of that right."
ON ONLINE CLASSES
Naniniwala si Dr. Carl na hindi na babalik sa nakagawiang classroom learning ang mga estudyante.
Sa tingin ba niya, magtatagal pa ang COVID-19? Parte na talaga ito ng buhay natin? Digital na ba talaga ang kailangan sa schooling?
"Digital is a solution, it’s not a curse. It removes our need to wake up so early and brave the traffic every day, if only to listen to the monologue of the teacher. Or to eat lunch and breakfast with the classmate."
Hindi raw dapat katakutan ang COVID-19 sa tulong ng vaccine.
"COVID will be here to stay, just like HIV has been here. Just like hepatitis has been here, dengue fever has been here.
"We need to learn how to co-exist with it. And once the vaccines are available… who’s afraid of chicken pox here? Who’s afraid of measles here? Who’s afraid of dengue fever here? I mean, you know, not anymore.
"Why? Because we have very effective vaccines against it, and very effective management for it. So, even HIV is not something we will be afraid of.
"Why? Because there will be cure for it. It used to be a very dreaded condition, ‘no? Pero meron akong gustong sabihin na isang napakaimportanteng bagay."
ON MENTAL HEALTH
Mas inaalala ni Dr. Carl ang problema sa aniya'y paglaganap ng mga kaso ng mental health dahil sa pandemya.
"The biggest problem that we’re actually facing is mental health… Kung magtatae ka today, pupunta ka sa doktor mamaya o tatawag ka, at alam mong may problema ka. OK.
"When somebody in your family tells you na hindi siya makatulog nang tatlong araw na, malungkot siyang hindi niya alam kung bakit, hindi mo naman papansinin yun, e.
"More so, pag sinabi nung isang tao sa kasama, ‘May naririnig akong bumubulung-bulong…’ ‘Maglinis ka lang ng tenga!’"
Tingin niya ay kulang sa sapat na kaalaman ang mga Pilipino ukol dito, at kulang din daw ang mga eksperto sa bagay na ito.
Sabi ni Dr. Carl: "Because we never take those symptoms seriously. But come to think of it, these are very serious mental health issues. And did you know that we have less than a thousand psychiatrists in the country?
"And did you know that some of the medicines of the mentally ill are not even available even in Mercury Drug in some other branches in the province?
"And did you know that the worst part of mental illness is the stigma and the discrimination? Think about it.
"But again, did you know that suicide incidents increased during COVID? Did you know that there are more depressed now? But who are dealing with it? Di ba?
"And how is the public responding about it? Think about it. Yun po ang mas malaking problema natin—not even COVID."
ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Nabanggit din ni Dr. Carl ang kahalagahan na pagtuunan ng pansin ang domestic violence hindi lang sa mga babae kundi pati mga lalaking nakakaranas daw nito.
“Actually po, mas dumami rin ang incest. And violence, because of the crisis,” matamang pahayag ni Dr. Carl.
“We have data to show that. Incest, violence. Ang dami-daming problema. Violence against women has increased now. But you know, there’s something else that increased, even worse—violence against men.
"Because violence now is not only victimizing women. There are many husbands now who are also subjects of violence.
"Yung violence against women, naalagaan na natin 'yan. Marami pa rin, pero yung babae, puwede siyang tumakbo sa presinto at magrereklamo siya, may policewoman to handle that. And there’s a very strong law against it.
"Pero tatanungin ko, halimbawa, si Sir Dindo, ginulpi ng asawa niya, black eye, maraming kalmot… would he comfortably go to the police and complain about the wife?"
Payo pa ni Dr. Carl, "Just think about the family dynamics. But you will agree with me. Check on twenty of your friends. Maybe one or two of them are violated as well. So, they have equal rights. May mga ganun…
"Domestic violence is not only against women. And worse is, partners, you know. Gay partners, for example. Same-sex partners.
"Ang taas ng violence! Pero we have to address it, you know why, because the family dynamics got so affected by it.
"Ang dami pong issues talaga. Ang dami pong problema ng society because of the pandemic.”
Ang depresyon ay seryosong usapin.
May mga organisasyong handang tumulong sa mga taong dumaraan sa ganitong kondisyon. Katulad na lamang ng National Center for Mental Health na inilunsad ng Department of Health.
Maaari silang tawagan sa mga sumusunod na 24/7 hotline: 0917 899 8727 (USAP); at 989 8727 (USAP)