[PHOTO AT LEFT - Couples kiss Tuesday night at the ‘Lovapalooza’ in Taguig that has become an annual event to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Photo by AP]

MANILA, FEBRUARY 14, 2008, (STAR) By Helen Flores - Forty percent or about 21 million Filipino adults believe in Cupid, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said in its latest survey.

The survey, conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, found that more than four out of five or 85 percent of those who believe in Cupid say they “have already been struck by his arrow.”

The December 2007 survey specifically asked the respondents, “Naniniwala po ba kayo kay Kupido?” (Do you believe in Cupid?), referring to one of the gods in Roman mythology that has power over love.

Belief in Cupid is 49 percent in Visayas, 47 percent in Metro Manila, and 36 percent each in balance Luzon and Mindanao, the SWS said.

It is relatively higher among class E, with 46 percent, compared to class D, with 39 percent, and class ABC, 36 percent, the survey firm said.

Belief in Cupid is similar among men, with 40 percent, and women, with 41 percent. It is higher among those with at most some high school education (43 percent), some college education (41 percent), and at least a college degree (40 percent), compared to those with at most some elementary education (33 percent).

By civil status, half (51 percent) of those with live-in partners say they believe in Cupid, compared to 40 percent among those who are married and 37 percent among those who are single or never been married, the SWS said.

About three out of five (62 percent) women with live-in partners believe in Cupid, compared to 42 percent of married women and 31 percent of women who are single or never been married, it said.

“Belief in Cupid hardly varies among men of different status. It is 43 percent both among men who are single or never been married and men with live-in partners, and 38 percent among married men,” the pollster said.

Meanwhile, among those who believe in Cupid, over four out of five (85 percent) said yes to the question, “Masasabi po ba ninyo na kayo ay napana na ni Kupido?” (Could you say that you have already been struck by Cupid’s arrow?)

The proportion of those “already struck by Cupid’s arrow” is higher in balance Luzon (88 percent), the Visayas (85 percent), and Metro Manila (84 percent), compared to Mindanao (78 percent), the SWS said.

“Across the board, majority of those who believe in Cupid say they have already been struck by his arrow,” it said.

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults divided into random samples of 300 each in Metro Manila, the balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

President Arroyo will spend Valentines’ day attending public engagements like giving gifts to elementary school children in Pasig and attending a lunch with media featuring guest singers Richard Carpenter and Claire dela Fuente. But she will also have a private dinner with the First Gentleman, who usually gives her a bouquet of one white and 11 red roses.

‘Avoid exclusive moments’

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales advised young and unmarried couples celebrating Valentines today to avoid “exclusive moments” together which could “sometimes lead to sin.”

“Do not engage in exclusive moments because these could be dangerous,” the cardinal said in an interview with Church-run Radyo Veritas, when asked how Valentine’s Day should be observed – especially by the youth.

“Sometimes, celebration of this day – which is not really bad – ends up in a sin,” he lamented.

Rosales said couples should engage in activities that would deepen their friendship, like attending morning and evening masses or praying the rosary.

“It’s best to look for honest-to-goodness entertainment. For example, you could also look for a good book to finish that you can lend to each other. In the first place, lovers should really get to know each other and find commonality in their friendship,” he explained. “The youth already know what I mean.”

He added, “People now think of love as only the love between couples, which should not be.”

“Love cannot be bought; love cannot be replaced with momentary happiness. True love comes from the heart and recognizes the need to respect one’s beloved… I hope that people incorporate spirituality in their lives, focusing on their love for the Lord and following the steps of the blessed,” Rosales said.

Annulment cases up 15%

Petitions for civil annulments are rising 15 percent a year, while two in five young adults want divorce to be made legal, according to data released yesterday.

It also found that more people are living together without getting married.

Last year, 7,753 cases were filed in courts for annulment, compared with 4,529 in 2001, Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera said.

Devanadera said cases had risen annually over the past seven years in a country where the Roman Catholic Church still holds considerable sway over the moral conduct of the majority of its 90-milliion people.

In a survey the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) conducted, annulment cases showed 85 percent of those filing petitions make use of Article 36 of the Family Code which deals with the issue of psychological incapacity as a ground for nullifying or voiding a marriage.

Results revealed that specific personality disorders most often cited include narcissistic and anti-social personality disorder which represents 64 percent; dependent personality and anti-social personality disorder, 9 percent; histrionic personality disorder, 7 percent; other personality disorders, 15 percent.

The OSG study also reveals that very few men file annulment cases against their wives and it is usually the wives who want their husbands out of their lives.

Aside from Article 36 of the Family Code, the OSG said 15 percent of those who file petitions also invoke Articles 35 and 37 of the same law which covers other reasons for nullity of marriage like age, licenses, unauthorized persons claiming to have the power to marry, mistaken identity, incest, fraud, forced marriages, and incurable sexually transmitted diseases, among others.

Devanadera revealed survey results to the media yesterday in an effort to raise the alarm over how Article 36 is “being conveniently used by many to end their marriages.

“Marriage is not something you enter into and then set aside if it becomes inconvenient, difficult, tedious or boring. People planning to get married or are already married must believe that it is permanent and cannot be annulled at will,” she said.

Meanwhile, the number of Filipinos choosing to live with their partners rather than marry also rose steadily, from 5.3 million to eight million over the 10 years to 2003, according to data from the National Statistical Coordination Board.

Eighteen percent of young Filipino adults were willing to enter into live in arrangements, while 24 percent approved of women engaging in premarital sex or going into relations that do not lead to marriage, the figures showed.

“The statistics as presented here reveal changing marriage characteristics of our Filipino women and most importantly the changing attitudes of the youth,” the board’s director Romulo Virola said.

Official data from the board also found that 40 percent of adults aged 15 to 24 agreed to a bill that would legalize divorce.

Love Mother Nature

Environment groups are asking the public to direct their love towards Mother Nature this Valentines’ day and help advance efforts to combat climate change.

“Filipino romantics should give love, not trash, to Mother Nature to commemorate Valentine’s Day. We should move resolutely to restore Mother Nature’s beauty and health,” said the Ecological Waste Coalition (EcoWaste), a group aggressively advocating for a zero-waste Philippines.

EcoWaste lamented that the Philippines is littered with over a thousand illegal dumps that discharge undetermined amount of toxic compounds into the environment.

“As we mark Valentine’s Day, let us relight our love and responsibility towards Mother Nature. Let us not regard her as a never-ending source of raw materials nor a perpetual dumpsite for wastes,” said Rei Panaligan, coordinator of the green coalition. – With Edu Punay, Michael Punongbayan, Katherine Adraneda

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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