Tag Archives: Family planning

[Announcement] Call for Abstract Submission-7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights-PNGOC

Call for Abstract Submission-7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights-PNGOC

Abstract submission guidelines
7th APCRSHR300-500 word abstract addressing any of the topics of the parallel sessions of the planned 7th APCRSHR program. The abstract should include the objectives, methods/strategies, results, and future directions (beyond 2014).

Formats can include paper or poster presentation.

In the selection of the papers and posters for presentation, priority would be given to those that address the objectives 1-4 of the conference.

Standard presentations are usually between 10-15 minutes and this would be followed by a ten-minute open forum.

All submissions will be anonymously reviewed by a panel of international reviewers/experts. Scholarships will be provided to the selected paper presenters.

Deadline for receipt by Secretariat: June 15, 2013

For more information, contact:
7th APCRSHR Secretariat
Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health & Welfare, Inc.
E-mail address: 7thapcrshr@gmail.com
Telefax: (632) 852-1898
Website: http://www.pngoc.org

Or Contact: Dr. Eden Divinagracia, Convenor (erdivinagracia@gmail.com)
Dr. Pilar Ramos-Jimenez, Chair, Scientific Committee (lalayjimenez009@gmail.com)

For more details visit www.7apcrshrmanila.org/abstract-submission-guidelines.html#.UPEVACVlSP2

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Pinuno ng DOH, nanawagan sa Kamara na ipatupad ang RH bill -GMANews

Pinuno ng DOH, nanawagan sa Kamara na ipatupad ang RH bill
August 13, 2012

Nanawagan si Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona nitong Lunes sa mga miyembro ng Kamara sa mabilisang pagpapasa sa panukalang reproductive health (RH) bill upang masolusyunan ang patuloy na pagdami ng mga ina na namamatay sa kanilang panganganak.

Sa naganap na 2013 budget hearing ng DOH, inamin ni Ona na sa huling 10 taon, “limitado” lamang ang progresong naisagawa ng gobyerno upang masolusyunan ang maternal mortality rate at sa pagpukaw sa kaalaman ng publiko sa iba’t ibang pamaraan ng family planning.

“Maternal deaths are highly preventable. Reducing maternal deaths will require this critical legislation… I think I do not have to belabor that anymore,” kanyang inihayag sa pagdinig nitong Lunes.

Ayon sa kanya, mula sa tala ng DOH, napag-alamang tumaas sa 221 ang maternal mortality rate ng bansa sa bawat 100,000 nanganak noong nakaraang taon, kumpara sa 162 noong 2009.

Nag-apela muli si Ona sa pagpapasa ng RH bill, na kilala rin bilang House Bill 4244, isang linggo matapos magdesisyon ang Kamara na tapusin ang pagdedebate tungkol sa isyu.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Reproductive Health bill won’t allow abortion – Cayetano – www.philstar.com

Reproductive Health bill won’t allow abortion – Cayetano
By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Pia Cayetano yesterday defended a provision in the Reproductive Health (RH) bill that some critics claimed would effectively legalize abortion in the country.

“The intent of the RH bill is to uphold the Constitution and in no way tolerate or allow abortion to come in through the back road or behind the scene,” said Cayetano, principal sponsor of Senate Bill 2865, or the proposed ‘National Reproductive Health Act of 2011.’

Cayetano was reacting to the issues raised by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III in pointing out provisions in the proposed law that would in a way approve abortion.

Enrile said over dzBB radio yesterday that he is ready to debate anew this week over the provisions of the bill, including those that he described as “deception” since RH bill is disguised as a health measure.

“I am tracing history where the laws started so that the public may know. What is baffling here is, I am wondering why the press – both print and media – are not reporting on these issues as they should, and in the same way as they report on anomalies (in government),” Enrile said. Enrile suggested the interest is not that much or there were attempts to control the release of information through the media to prevent a thorough discussion on the issues.

“You know this RH bill, in my impression, it’s a deception,” Enrile said.  –With Helen Flores

“They are projecting it as a health bill. If it’s a health bill, it should discuss sickness, and cure. What are the medicinal values of condom, IUV, and birth control pills? What are those injectibles, other than safe, legal, effective family planning products and supplies? If this is a health bill, why are these terminologies in this bill?” he asked.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[In the news] No coercion on parenthood bill, Palace assures CBCP – philstar.com

No coercion on parenthood bill, Palace assures CBCP
By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, PhilippinesCatholic bishops have no reason to worry about the Responsible Parenthood bill that President Aquino wants Congress to pass as one of his priority measures, because the government would not force couples to adopt any particular family planning method.

“From the end of the President, we do not see how this can affect morality because precisely, the President’s view has always been to leave the decision with the parents,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte clarified yesterday over state-run radio dzRB.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[People] A Tale of Two Countries: Family Planning in the Philippines and Thailand By: Walden Bello

From Inquirer.net
Afterthoughts

A Tale of Two Countries: Family Planning in the Philippines and Thailand
By: Walden Bello

Whenever students ask him if family planning is really essential in curbing population growth, Dr. Nibhon Debavalya, Thailand’s leading population expert, responds with a parable about Thailand and the Philippines. Interestingly, Meechai Viravaidya, the family planning and HIV-AIDS activist who received the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1994, answers the same question with the same story.

Same Starting Point, Different Outcomes

Essentially, the tale is how, starting from the same point in the early seventies, Thailand and the Philippines took separate routes, with contrasting results. Currently, Thailand has a much smaller population, a much bigger economy, fewer people living in poverty, and a better quality of life for the general population. What accounted for the difference?  “Thailand,” says Nibhon, “took family planning seriously.”

Thailand had a slightly smaller GDP than the Philippines in 1975, but it had roughly the same population size, a high population growth rate, a high fertility rate, and a high proportion of people living under the poverty line.

Comparing the performance of Thailand and the Philippines over the last four decades, the following contrasts emerge:

Thailand was able to radically reduce its population growth rate to 0.6 percent while the Philippines inched down to 2.04 per cent in the period 1970 -2010.

During the period 1970-2008, Thailand’s GDP per capita grew by 4.4 percent, while the Philippines’ grew by 1.4 percent.

By 2008, Thailand’s total GDP was US$273 billion while the Philippines’ was $167 billion.

By 2010, there were 93.6 million Filipinos, or over 20 million more than the 68.1 million Thais. This gap of 25.5 million is the demographic advantage enjoyed by Thailand – one that has made a vast difference in the economic performance and the quality of life of the people in the two countries.  By 2008, owing to partly to its demographic performance, Thailand’s GDP per capita was US$4,043 or more than twice that of the Philippines, which stood at $1,847.  By 2010, only 9.6 per cent of Thais lived under the national poverty line while 26.4 per cent of Filipinos did.

Why Family Planning Mattered

Governance certainly played some role in the contrasting outcomes, but then Thailand was known to be equally as corrupt as the Philippines, both ranking high in various indices of corruption.  For instance, in 2010, Thailand and the Philippines ranked 12th and 13th on the most corrupt scale of 16 Asia-Pacific countries evaluated by the political risk analysis group PERC.

Economic policies also mattered, but then again, both countries followed export-oriented macroeconomic strategies and were subjected to market-oriented structural adjustment, though the program was milder in Thailand.

In terms of social programs, asset redistribution measures were weak in both countries, and in the case of agrarian reform, practically nonexistent in Thailand while it plodded on in the Philippines.

So Meechai and Nibhon are right: while not denying the influence of other factors, one cannot deny that the rapid reduction of population growth and fertility in Thailand and its slow decline in the Philippines played a very major role in explaining the difference in the post-1970’s economic and social performance of the two countries.

Reasons for Family Planning’s Success

Why was family planning successful in Thailand?  Why was it, in fact, so successful that the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) – meaning the average number of children of sexually active women of reproductive age – fell from 5.5 to 2.2 in only twenty years, which was the swiftest rate over the period among all countries in Southeast Asia?

Nibhon identifies four major factors.

First of all, economic change, the fall in the death rate owing to better health services, and the rising cost of education that Thais saw as the main vehicle for social mobility combined to make people realize the economic cost associated with having more babies, especially the rising cost of obtaining quality education for one’s offspring.

Second, cultural factors like the high level of female autonomy in the family and religion. The religious dimension, he felt, was central in explaining the difference between Thailand and the Philippines’ family planning performance.  “Unlike Catholicism, Buddhism does not have anything against family planning, except abortion,” he said.

A third factor was discovered in surveys designed to test the population’s possible response to family planning that were conducted in the late sixties. This was a “latent demand” for smaller families which could not be filled owing to lack of knowledge of and access to effective methods.

A final decisive factor was the national government’s durable commitment to a comprehensive program that systematically provided information and contraceptives, especially to the poor and in rural areas. While NGOs, such as Meechai’s Population and Community Development Association (PDA), were important in educating rural Thais on the different methods of family planning, it was the government that provided access to contraceptives in the grassroots.

In short, what appeared to have happened was something like the following:  Without significant cultural obstacles, a latent demand for family planning caused by, among other things, an increasing awareness of the negative consequences of large families at a time of rapid economic change translated into a widespread acceptance of the government’s family planning program.  This was the synergy that accounted for the decline in fertility from 3 per cent in 1970 to 2.2 per cent by 1984 – “ a 30 per cent decline in 14 years, which is one of the most significant declines ever observed in any developing country,” according to Nibhon.

What this rapid decline in the population growth rate and fertility meant was that demographically, Thailand was well positioned when Japanese capital flowed into the country during the “Golden Age” of economic growth from 1985 to 1995. Instead of the fruits of economic growth being eaten up by the need to feed larger and larger families, the “reproductive revolution” led to smaller families, triggered a higher savings and investment rate, and enabled the government to divert more and more funds from expanding primary education facilities to investing more in high school and college education to improve the quality of the work force.  Thailand grew by sizzling 8 to 10 per cent per annum from 1985 to 1995, earning it the sobriquet of Asia’s “fifth tiger,” after South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.  Meanwhile, the Philippines posted a one per cent annual GDP growth rate, with its takeoff aborted by the high 2.5 per cent population growth rate during that period.

Success in the anti-HIV-AIDS Front

Alongside the success in family planning and poverty reduction, Thailand also registered advances in curbing the HIV-AIDs epidemic, which posed a grave threat to reproductive and sexual health beginning in the early 1980’s. The lowly condom, derided as a contraceptive, became the key weapon in the government campaign to contain AIDS.  Meechai, who had played a key role in family planning, also took a high profile role in promoting the condom to stop the spread of AIDS, taking his campaign so aggressively to sex workers that the condom came to be known as “meechai” in Thailand.  Civil society groups and the government promoted the “100-Per-Cent-Condom-Use-Campaign,” which a Ministry of Public Health publication described as aiming “to empower sex workers to refuse sex service when customers did not agree to use a condom.  No condom, no sex.”

By all accounts, the campaign, which was initiated in 1991, has been a huge success.  New HIV cases dropped from 150,000 in 1991 to less than 14,000 in 2008.  HIV prevalence among sex workers working out of brothels in Bangkok was 2.5 percent.  As Meechai jokingly told me, “Our sex workers know they are in the frontline of the war against AIDS, and when they do battle, they put on their helmets. Our sex workers are very, very safe, though I am not recommending that you go out right now to find that out.”

Too Successful?

This article would be remiss, however, if it did not mention that owing to the success of the government’s efforts to reduce fertility and people living longer, Thailand now has a higher proportion of elderly people in the population than a few years ago.  Few are alarmed by this prospect, however.  For with economic development, labor productivity has risen, meaning fewer workers are needed to produce the same output.   With so many resources freed that would otherwise go to educating large numbers of children entering early education, more investments can be made to upgrade the quality of post-elementary education and the productivity of the working age population that is growing more slowly in absolute numbers.  Meanwhile, much manual and service work is rapidly being filled by migrant workers, especially from Burma, and this produces benefits for both Thai society and the migrants, who do not have decent-paying jobs in their countries of origin.

Thailand’s Lessons for the Philippines

What lessons does the Thai experience have for the Philippines?

First of all, as in the case of Indonesia, the family planning program must not be an on-and-off affair, but must enjoy the sustained support of the government through time.  What is impressive about Thailand is the way all the five-year national development plans from 1970 to the late 1990’s placed family planning at the top of the national priorities.

Another lesson is the importance of a latent need for family planning. As noted earlier, the program took off rapidly in Thailand owing to a felt need among the population for family planning that could not be satisfied owing to lack of knowledge or access to birth control methods.  Survey after survey has shown a very widespread unmet need for family planning in the Philippines. This could indicate that were the RH Bill to be approved, the effects in terms of a decline in the fertility rate and birth rate could be just as swift as in Thailand, despite the objections of the Catholic Church hierarchy.

Working towards the same effect is the high degree of female autonomy in the Philippines.  The only area of family life where there is a relative absence of female control is reproduction, and here it is not male macho that appears to be the problem but lack of knowledge or access to contraceptives. Nevertheless, male coercion is not absent, though it assumes the form of an ideological and political obstruction posed by the Catholic hierarchy’s opposition to state-sponsored family planning.   The passage of the Reproductive Health, Family Planning, and Population and Development Bill (RH Bill) would severely weaken this patriarchal barrier to women’s reproductive control.

Finally, the effective use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS is one of the aims of RH bill, and Thailand’s successful campaign is something that the government can emulate.  In fact, we have no choice:  RH or no RH, there must be an aggressive move to distribute condoms along with public information campaign on their use to stem the rapid spread of AIDS, whatever are the doctrinal apprehensions of the Catholic Church hierarchy.

Asked to comment on how the Philippines could get a really effective family planning program going, Meechai answered, “Maybe you should get the bishops to take care of the babies being added to the population each year.”

I could not tell if he was kidding.

*INQUIRER.net columnist Walden Bello is a member of the House of Representatives representing Akbayan (Citizens’ Action Party) and a senior analyst at the Bangkok-based research institute Focus on the Global South.

[From the web] Why I support the Reproductive Health Bill? – www.magph.org

Why I support the Reproductive Health Bill?

I made this note as a mother, a wife, a doctor and a Roman Catholic. And I strongly support the Reproductive Health Bill or simply the RH Bill. The provisions in the Reproductive Health Bill would also support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality and infant mortality rate.

Seated in the comfort of my office, a patient came in for consultation. As I was asking questions regarding the reasons of her visit, the patient told me that, “Doc. I missed my menses for 6 days, unsa may maayo nga tambal para padugo (what medication should I take to induced menstruation)?”

Having heard this, I asked, did you take a pregnancy test? She answered in the affirmative: “pero Doc. Dili pa man ni bata, dugo pa man ni (but Doc, this is not yet a baby, this is still blood).” Among the reasons of the women want to have an abortion who are in the same situation as my patient are purely economic reasons and some are very close in birth spacing in which the parents are not yet ready for another child.

As a daughter of devout Catholic parents of which my late mother is a Family Life Apostolate lecturer, the idea of being an accomplice in the conduct of abortion is a horrible act to do. I usually tell the women to please let the pregnancy push through then after this we will discuss measures on how to prevent another unwanted pregnancy.

As what former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral said, 560,000 to 858,000 had illegal abortion. Based on the statistics, it is said that 2,000,000 pregnancies are unwanted and 11 maternal deaths. These glaring numbers could be reduced by 1/3 if when massive information, education and campaign on family planning will be given priority.

The Reproductive Health Bill has been once again the center of debate and public discourse. The RH Bill, as stated in its introduction, guarantees universal access to methods of birth control and maternal care. The two consolidated versions of the RH Bill i.e. House Bill No. 4244 and Senate Bill No. 2865 are now pending in the plenary debate in Congress.

Verses in Luke 11:5-13 says: “Which of your fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” And if your child asks for an egg, will you give a scorpion? Even you evil people know how to give gifts to your children, how much more then will the father in heaven give Holy Spirit to those who asked him!

It is our obligation, as parents, to provide good nutrition, proper education, a suitable home and genuine love to our children. It is not enough that we will give them life but if should be a life worth living. We might not give them everything they want but we give them the essential things they need. For how you provide them enough food or shelter if your finances are scarce and much more if you have a big family? I hope that I will not be excommunicated if I say that “if the prophet and the Messiah are to live today, they will surely not say “Go to the world and multiply”. Before, there are vast hectares of lands and resources to share but now, there are a lot of people with diminution of resources. Some teachings in my opinion change with time.

Being a mother, with three beautiful daughters aged 9-10 and 12 years old respectively, I welcome the idea that family planning will be thought to school children beginning Grade V to secondary education. This will give them the idea and information of their sexuality and how to preserve it. We, as parents, do not have adequate time to teach our children this because we too are both earning for a living. However, value formation should be given much attention.

Family planning whether natural or artificial has the same goal, that is, not to let the sperm and egg meets so that fertilization will not take place. But being married, one of the most enjoyable things to do is too have a sexually-gratifying relationship without thinking of having an unwanted baby. “A baby is a God-given gift so that he/she therefore should be loved, wanted, cared for without restraint.”

I am therefore supporting the vision which the RH Bill introduces that “every pregnancy be wanted that it would culminate to a healthy baby without compromising the health of the mother.”

Evangeline Revilla, MD
Municipal Health Officer
Maramag, Bukidnon
June 28, 2011

[From the web] Speaking up for the Pill – www.mulatpinoy.ph

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Speaking up for the Pill
Mulat Pinoy and Sex and Sensibilities

How do you feel about oral contraceptives? An online petition is asking for testimonies from women who have used or are currently using the combined oral contraceptive pill, more commonly known as the Pill. “We want to hear from real people, telling us how they feel about taking the Pill,” says Regina Layug-Rosero of the group Mulat Pinoy, co-sponsor of the petition with advocacy blog Sex and Sensibilities. They hope to spread awareness that:

·         The Pill does not cause cancer.
·         The Pill does not cause abortion.
·         Many women take the Pill for medical reasons other than contraception, as prescribed by their doctor.
·         Many women have used the Pill for years with no side effects or adverse reactions.

If you use the Pill or know women who have used to Pill, and want to add your testimony to those of other women around the world, sign the petition here. (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/itakethepill/)

Mulat Pinoy (http://www.mulatpinoy.ph/) is a project of the Probe Media Foundation, supported by the Philippine Center for Population and Development. Its aim is to increases awareness among the youth about population and development, specifically, population momentum: how the actions and decisions of young people today will affect national development in the years to come.

Sex and Sensibilities (http://www.sexandsensibilities.com/) is a balance of sex and responsible choice. It is a site that hopes to be a trusted haven to get practical information about sex; a private place where questions about sexuality will be answered with compassion and intelligence, and always with honesty and respect for choice.

Contact Person:
Regina Layug-Rosero
Project Coordinator, Mulat Pinoy
regina@mulatpinoy.ph
http://www.mulatpinoy.ph


Mulat Pinoy: Popdev and Social Media for the Youth
A project of the Probe Media Foundation, Inc.
Supported by the Philippine Center for Population and Development

Web: http://www.mulatpinoy.ph/
Email: mulatpinoy@probefound.com, popdev@mulatpinoy.ph

[In the news] Salve’s life: A strong case for RH bill – INQUIRER.net

Salve’s life: A strong case for RH bill.

SALVE Paa does not know what the RH bill is, but she admits that her family is suffering financially, primarily because she has too many children. LESTER CAYABYAB/CONTRIBUTOR. Photo from INQ.net

By Kristine Felisse Mangunay
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—In a tiny house at a resettlement area in Valenzuela City, a woman recounts a scene: watching her eight children devour half a kilo of rice among themselves.

Pregnant again, 37-year-old Salve Paa says she is just as hungry. But she tells herself that a mother must make sacrifices, and waits for her turn to eat.

Minutes later, one of the boys starts to cry, a little finger pointing at the empty plate before him.

The scene, though seemingly surreal, is typical in Salve’s life. Until recently, she has not heard of family planning and has no idea of the reproductive health (RH) bill, and admits that having so many mouths to feed has made such an episode a general norm.

It’s something she laments, especially because she and Alfredo Francisco, her partner of 22 years, do not make much. (Alfredo, 64, has a first family from whom he is separated.)

“It’s difficult. The little that we earn just goes to food and other expenses in the house,” Salve tells the Inquirer in an interview at Northville, where families dislocated by the North Rail project were resettled by the city government.

P5,200 a month

Salve works in a plastics factory (but she is temporarily off the grind because she is due to deliver another child this month).

She is paid based on her output: On good days, she earns P1,500; on bad, P700. Alfredo earns P150 a day selling cotton candy.

In all, they take home an estimated P5,200 in a month.

“But minus the expenses, we can barely make ends meet. We can hardly complete three square meals a day,” Salve says.

She details the monthly expenses as: P200 for the house, P200 for electricity, P300 on the average for water, “which is only retailed to us,” and food for 10 people, among others.

As a result, a regular breakfast for the family consists of rice porridge (lugaw) bought at P3 a cup. Small galunggong, the so-called poor man’s fish, bought at P20 a handful, are “delicacies.”

“If there is enough, we have bread for breakfast, but that is very rare,” Salve says.

Because of the money constraints, not one of the 37-year-old’s children has been able to finish his or her studies.

Ana Liza, 21, managed to complete the sixth grade—the highest educational attainment in the family. She is married but often visits.

Her brothers—Aries, 15, and Albert, 12—reached the first grade and prep school, respectively.

Throw ’em out

“We can’t afford to send the children to school,” Salve says. “It’s already a struggle to put food on the table for them every day.”

Then there’s the space problem.

The family lives in a 32-square-meter enclosed space with two tables and a makeshift wooden bed. A hole in the ground serves as the toilet.

The windows consist of square holes covered with leatherette.

During the rainy season, the water easily seeps through the concrete walls and onto the floor, Salve says.

In the summer, the sun’s rays easily heat up the structure. “The roof has not been fixed,” she explains.

At night, Salve has a hard time making the children fit on the “bed.” She says she manages to squeeze herself in, and shows the Inquirer how it’s done.

Alfredo sleeps on the floor.

The situation has moved Salve to throw out two of her elder sons—Alvin and Alfred—several times in the past.

She says that with the two fending for themselves, she figured that she could concentrate on feeding and caring for the rest who cannot as yet survive alone in the world.

Take Angelito, the sickly 3-year-old who has been in and out of the hospital in recent months. The bills for his blood transfusions alone have amounted to some P16,000, Salve says.

“When he becomes ill, I take him to the National Children’s Hospital on España. They care for Angelito there, free of charge,” she says.

But despite having been driven away repeatedly, Alvin and Alfred always came back, and Salve took them in with open arms. After all, she says, she is still their mother.

12, actually

The family should have been much bigger because Salve has given birth to 12 of Alfredo’s children.

Christian and Trisha, then 4 and 7 years old, respectively, died in 2006, followed a year later by Sarah Fe, then 10. Doctors said the three died of sepsis, or the invasion of the body by pathogenic microorganisms.

In 2008, Alvin was accidentally run over by a bus in La Union. Salve lamented the loss of her son, also because the then 18-year-old, who worked as a truck helper, was a big financial help to the family.

Salve admits that her family experiences financial difficulties primarily because she has too many children.

It was only when she was 26 that she learned out about artificial contraceptives. But by then, she had already borne eight children.

In an effort to lessen the number of mouths they were obligated to feed, she and her partner also tried abstinence. But the attempt did not work.

“At one point, I slept at the factory just so I could get away from Alfredo. But he followed me there,” Salve recalls with a chuckle.

Planning a family

Salve does not know what the RH bill is, or what it stands for. But when asked, she says that she is not opposed to sex education.

Had she known about the importance of family planning much earlier, she would not have allowed herself to get pregnant so many times, she says.

This view is in line with some of the provisions of the measure that proposes the integration of sexual awareness in school curriculums and offers couples an informed choice in ways to plan their families.

The proposed legislation is being debated upon in the plenary in the House of Representatives. If passed, it will be sent to the Senate, which can choose to adopt it or pass another version of it.

President Benigno Aquino IIi himself has expressed support for the RH bill. But the Catholic Church and a number of lawmakers remain firmly opposed to the measure and have vowed to block its passage.

Late awareness

“If we had fewer children, then we won’t have most of our financial problems,” Salve muses.

She says that in her community, large families are the trend because some, if not most, of her neighbors do not become aware of family planning methods until much later.

She cites as an example her elder sister who, in her 40s, has seven children.

Salve says that like herself, her sister has to carry on her shoulders the responsibility of feeding too many kids with very little income.

“If you don’t have much money, having too many children is too stressful,” she says. “You’re always thinking of ways to get them through the day.”

Because of her newfound knowledge, Salve plans to undergo tubal ligation to avoid getting pregnant again.

Her ninth (or 13th) child is due, but she says she cannot even think of celebrating. “Our earnings are better spent on food on the table,” she says, smiling weakly.

[Statement] Everything in this world has a guardian as the Universe has been appointed custodians, and so does each family – ICAS Phils.

by ICAS Phils
Institute for Comparative and Advanced Studies on the Reproductive Health Bill

The massive response and reactions on the current RH bill being presented in Congress represents both the opinions of the religious elite, the masses, the progressive organizations as well as entities that may either benefit or be affected by the passage of the bill.

Religious organizations may have the authority to give spiritual guidance by mandate of their right to guide the believers, however, religious authorities must also be governed by reason and public interest in deciding matters that may be for the benefit of the family in general.

In looking at the contents of the RH Bill one may see that although this bill notwithstanding does not answer all the required responses to a comprehensive Family planning program or population management, it is one of the landmark bills that addresses the issue of population explosion and the issue of over population.

Like the religious authorities who has the mandate to oversee the spiritual affairs of the flock, the state has the duty to oversee and ensure the well being of its constituents. The current status of the government, which in the opinion of many management experts and onlookers is not as good as everyone wishes to think, and due to the multitude of problems that the government faces, and the shortage of resources on hand; the approaches to addressing these issues must be jugular and never sentimental in nature.

Addressing the issue of responsible parenthood and ensuring that the children they have should be properly taken care of is one of the obligations of married individuals where the duty of the state and religious authorities intersect, the state providing the necessary government intervention, and the religious authorities providing spiritual and moral guidance.

The relative need for a modern and contemporary take on spirituality must be understood in the light of reason and the teachings of religion. The inability to grasp the conventions of modernity and post-modernity will lead religious authorities to become irrelevant if they fail to understand the context of their existence in today’s world.

The Muslim religious authorities in the Philippines must not be swayed by the over arching influence of the Catholic church over the issue of the RH bill for fear of losing crucial support, there are numerous fatawa of scholars on the issue of responsible parenthood and the right of the children to receive proper attention and care from their parents to ensure a more dignified and quality life for them.

It is time for religious authorities to realize that the RH bill is not a mechanism to challenge the authority of the clergy but to assist them in ensuring that their adherents practice responsible parenthood.

The issue of immorality of the RH bill becomes moot and academic because the issue of ensuring morality which actually varies from one society to another, lies in the hands of the religious authorities, and that whenever values in a culture change, society is not alone to blame.

12th May 2011
Manila Philippines

[In the news] Iglesia ni Cristo, other religious groups favor RH bill – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News

Iglesia ni Cristo, other religious groups favor RH bill – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.

KIMBERLY JANE TAN, GMA News

Unlike the Catholic Church, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) has expressed support for the highly controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

“We are ready to support the bills on Reproductive Health as long as there would be no immoral elements in them,” INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo said in a letter dated October 12, 2010 to Rep. Rogelio Espina, chairman of the House committee on population and family relations.

This is the first time the INC has expressed its stand on the issue.

Manalo’s letter to Espina was likewise made public only this April. It was revealed to the media by Bishop Rodrigo Tano, chairman of the Interfaith Partnership for the Promotion of Responsible Parenthoood (IPPRP), during a weekly forum at the Diamond Hotel on Monday.

Manalo explained that they are supporting the bill because it is the “moral imperative” for parents to watch over their children and provide them with food, shelter, clothing, proper education, religious, and moral training.

Read full article @ GMAnews.tv (link above)

Church drive vs RH bill form of violence against women—solon – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

(We are posting different news, articles etc that convey different views on the issue of the Reproductive Health Rights- HROnlinePH)

Church drive vs RH bill form of violence against women—solon – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos.

By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Source: inquirer.net, Posted 04:51:00 03/29/2011
Filed Under: Churches (organisations), Women, Family planning, Legislation

Hon. Edcel Lagman, photo source http://ph.yfittopostblog.com/

MANILA, Philippines—The campaign of the Catholic Church to torpedo the reproductive health bill pending in Congress propagates violence against women, House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman said Monday in a statement.

Lagman, the main sponsor of consolidated House Bill 4244—or the proposed Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development—cited as an example of the violence the unremitting and yearly pregnancies that affect women who are denied access to family planning, including legal, medically safe and effective contraception.

Modern methods

He said the Catholic Church has been propagating misinformation on modern family planning methods while the government has been procrastinating on the passage of the long-delayed measure.

Lagman also blamed the husbands and other men who impose themselves on their wives or partners despite the lack of a viable family planning method.

He said that this form of violence against women constituted physical, psychological and financial violence which are punishable under Republic Act No. 9262, or the Anti Violence Against Women and Their Children Act.

“It is physical violence because unremitting pregnancies pose high risks to women and constitute a major cause of maternal death and illness. The National Demographic and Health Survey reveals that 11 women die daily from maternal causes,” Lagman said.

“It is psychological violence because women who are driven to abortion because they cannot afford another child suffer grave psychological trauma. It is likewise financial violence because unremitting pregnancies prevent women from finishing their education and securing remunerative work for which reason they are condemned to financial subjugation,” he said.

500,000 abortions annually

Lagman said that based on a University of the Philippines’ Population Institute study, an average of 500,000 abortions are performed annually in the country.”

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has issued a pastoral letter calling on the faithful to reject the RH bill as it is a form of “moral corruption.”

The bill, according to its stated purpose, seeks to provide universal access to medically safe, legal, affordable, effective and quality RH services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information and education with priority on the needs of women and children in underprivileged sectors.

The plenary debates on House Bill 4244 will resume in May after Congress went on recess on March 25.

Beyond Contraception or Abortion: Passing RH Bill 4424

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