Police Officer Daisylou Oñes: A Spark for Positive Change
Thirty-seven-year-old police officer Daisylou Oñes grew up in Bilar, Philippines, quite familiar with the hardships of a farming community. Although her parents sold vegetables, food was often scarce at home. As a 7-year-old, Daisylou struggled to keep herself in school by helping at the farm, selling vegetables at the local market, and doing household chores for a well-to-do neighbor. She had to walk 6 km at a stretch to reach her elementary school.
As a child, Daisylou aspired to become a teacher, just like one of her older siblings. For four years, she taught at a preschool while pursuing her college degree. It was then that a well-meaning parent of one of her students encouraged and guided her to apply to take the Phillipine National Police (PNP) exam. This was a turning point in her life. She passed the assessment and was recruited in 2004.
In 2006, she met Allen, and they decided to get married that same year. Soon, their first child was born. Initially, the couple relied on withdrawal as a method of birth control. After their second son was born, they felt the need to space their next birth, and Daisylou started taking oral contraceptives. She recollects, “Before going to work, I would have to remember to take the pill. I often used the alarm clock as a reminder. On days that I forgot, the doctor had told me that I could take two pills [the next day]. As a working professional, I found it difficult to keep up with this routine and stopped after a point. Then, my third son was born.”
Daisylou reflects on another decision that transformed her life. “During my last prenatal visit, the municipal health officer, Dr. Josephine Jabonillo, shared that she had recently completed a training on postpartum intrauterine contraceptive device (PPIUD) with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). After explaining the procedure, its advantages and limitations…, she encouraged me to consider it. I appreciated the fact that the effect of PPIUD lasted up to 10 years. I spoke to my husband, and we decided to go for it. Three months after my third child was born, I did not feel any pain or side effects. I healed from both the childbirth and this procedure all at once. At a recent visit, the doctor confirmed that the IUD is in its right position. It has been a few years years now, and this method has worked well for us.”
Daisylou believes that family planning has made a big difference in her life and in the lives of those she cares for. “I encourage all women, all mothers, to plan their lives. You no longer have to worry about having a child too soon. Just visit a doctor and select a method of your choice. I grew up in a family of 11 children. My husband has eight siblings. Although our parents tried hard, they had to prioritize our needs. My family, my children inspire me to work. They mean so much to me that I intend to do as much as possible for them. I do not want my children to experience the adversities that we endured. That’s why we opted for family planning. The PPIUD keeps us from having unplanned pregnancies. Adopting this method implies that I am able to give my children enough food, meet their needs, and most of all hope that they would realize their full potential in the future. While growing up, we could not eat expensive food, as my parents could only afford Bagoóng [dried salted fish]. By divine grace, my children get to eat freshly cooked fish now.”
While Daisylou goes to work, Allen takes care of their children at home. Her three sons enjoy the love and attention she showers upon them. Daisylou’s story from a quiet part of Phillipines is a powerful reminder that for those who believe in themselves, there are no boundaries.