DURING the launch of the family planning campaign "May Plano Ako, Kaya Mo Ring Magplano", one of the guests, Danilo Casie was hailed for being a model father and husband.

As a first-time father-to-be Casie made sure his wife, Analy, would regularly go to the health center for pre-natal and even accompanied her six times for pre-natal care during her nine-month pregnancy.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Now that they have a baby, Danilo (who is a member of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit or Cafgu as a paramilitary man), monitors whether the baby is getting the shots required and brings the baby to the health center for the scheduled consultations.

"Aron mahibaw-an nako unsa ang gina-inject sa iya og kung unsa ang kinahanglan nga gamot (So I will know what is being injected to our baby and what other medicines are needed)," he said. He's a village soldier, a paramilitary man, and a concerned father. A real macho, a real father.

Indeed, it is heartening that there are fathers, from ordinary families, who have such concern for the reproductive health of the wives and the health of their baby.

The saddenning part is that Danilo is not the usual father. That's the reason why he was recognized in his province Compostela Valley as a "Macho Papa", to underscore the role of fathers in the general well-being of their families.

Oftentimes, the major observation of barangay health workers' in poor areas -- whether rural or urban -- is that only women attend sessions, free clinics, and consultations on reproductive health. Often, the women are saying they would only want a few children because life is already very hard. But often, these same women will be back a month or two later, for pre-natal, if at all.

It's because of a twisted machismo of the fathers out there, who do not see their role in the making and unmaking of their family. Worse, a twisted machismo that demands sexual relations with their wives without caring whether such will bring to earth yet another child.

It's as if one is not a real man if you show concern for babies and pregnancy. It's as if one is not a real man if you ensure that your wife is safe in her pregnancy.

This is the kind of thinking, especially among the masses and the menfolk who find machismo in getting drunk all night, that should be addressed by those concerned with reproductive health and family planning. To set this twisted mindset straight and put a stop to unwanted pregnancies, maternal mortality, and too many children.

How? The consciousness just has to be popularized to be made known. It can be done, for as long as people push for it. For as long as we will just focus on what is the real issue -- concern for maternal and reproductive health by the man-partner, and not be sidelined and caught in the never-ending debate of abortion, promiscuity, and morality.

The problem has long been recognized: care for maternal and reproductive health is regarded as a concern for the sissies and the hen-pecked husbands. The solution should be focused on how to dispute this and make this pressing concern the concern of both man and wife.

Recognizing Macho Papas is a good start, but with the extent of our booming population problem especially among the poor and unable, there is urgent need for more intensive approaches. After all, we are up against a culture, a paradigm, and a psyche, twisted as these may seem to those who recognize the problem, that is running a tight race against a population that just keeps on procreating babies.