Tag Archives: Reproductive Health Bill

[In the news] Reproductive Health bill, changes to anti-money laundering law top Senate agenda | Sun.Star

Reproductive Health bill, changes to anti-money laundering law top Senate agenda | Sun.Star.

May 6, 2012

MANILA — Discussions on the controversial Reproductive Health bill will commence in the Senate anytime this week, months after it was stalled in the plenary to give way for pressing matters such as the national budget and impeachment trial.

Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, a critic of the bill, assured that deliberations on Senate Bill 2865 will go on despite the chamber’s divided attention due to the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, which resumes on Monday.

Since the impeachment trial began last January 16, the Senate likewise had to rearrange its schedule such that legislative sessions are conducted twice a week.

As a result, plenary sessions are done every Tuesday and Wednesday even as Enrile promised to pass “urgent and priority bills” before President Benigno Aquino III delivers his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in July.

Supporters of the RH bill earlier saw no reason why it will not be enacted this year on the back of “huge” public support and the President’s bias for the measure.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

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[Event] “Rage for RH! — Rally against Gender Discrimination, for Women’s Empowerment!” -RHAN

“Rage for RH! — Rally against Gender Discrimination, for Women’s Empowerment!”

In celebration of women’s month, Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) invites you to “Rage for RH! — Rally against Gender Discrimination, for Women’s Empowerment!” on 30 March 2012, from 3:30 to 7:00 pm, at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Grounds, Quezon Avenue corner EDSA, Quezon City.

While celebrating the many victories women have gained throughout our herstory, this gathering of women and men aims to: 1) unify women and women-supporters on the central place of reproductive health and rights in women’s lives; 2) creatively and collectively express our outrage at the capture of health policy-making by religious conservatives; and 3) highlight the value of women’s lives and empowerment in nation-building.

The event will include an art exhibit showcasing Agnes Arellano’s sculptures on women’s bodies, booths/stations where participants can enjoy several means to creatively express their frustrations over the ongoing delays in the passage of the RH Bill, a ritual of commitment through dance, chants, noise-making, and a cultural program of poetry reading and performances by pro-RH artists and personalities.

For Details please contact:

Likhaan (926-6230; 411-3151; office@likhaan.org), or through their mobile phones: Joy Salgado (0915-407-9894); Ellen San Gabriel (0916-602-5203); or, Mina Tenorio (0927-425-0213).

[Press Release] PM pushes anew passage of RH bill on Valentine’s Day

PM pushes anew passage of RH bill on Valentine’s Day

Women members of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) distributed leaflets urging both Houses of Congress to pass the more than a decade-old RH bill. PM members visited campuses, establishments and government offices surrounding its national office in Project 4, Quezon City. These include the Technological Instittute of the Philippines (TIP), National College of Business Administration (NCBA), Philippine School of Business Administration (PSBA), establishments along Aurora Boulevard and Araneta Center, and government offices along East Avenue such as Social Security System (SSS), National Statistics Office (NSO), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Quezon City Hall, etc.

“Every day of delay in the passage of the RH bill means loss of women’s lives. Whatever the number the statistics provide, the fact remains that more and more women are being deprived of their right to life,” PM Secretary General Judy Ann Chan-Miranda explained to students and workers of abovementioned areas.

“Para sa mahihirap at manggagawang kababaihan, ang pinaka-esensya ng laban na ito ay ang pagkilala ng Estado sa reproductive health bilang karapatan ng mamamayang Pilipino, lalung-lalo na ng kababaihan, at ma-exercise ang karapatang ito,” added Miranda.

The labor group, for this reason, asserts that providing funds is an essential part of the measure to ensure that the poor shall truly benefit. Contrary to statements that taxpayers money should not be spent for RH services, all citizens have the right to avail themselves of public funds, in this case, for reproductive health services and commodities.

“These are very important issues on reproductive health that, regardless of educational status, Filipinos should be able to understand. It seems that being a Harvard student nor a church leader does not make one an authority to the issues of RH. Nasa pag-alam at pag-unawa ito na ang RH ay karapatan kung kaya dapat nae-exercise ang karapatang ito lalo ng kababaihan na pangunahing biktima ng kawalan ng batas para dito,” Miranda ended.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
14 February 2012

Contact: Judy Miranda
09228677522

[In the news] Church official scored for spreading ‘misinformation’ on RH bill – SunStar.com.ph

Church official scored for spreading ‘misinformation’ on RH bill
SunStar.com.ph
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

  MANILA—A women’s group hit a Catholic Church official for allegedly insinuating that the Reproductive Health bill may end up like the impeachment complaint of Chief Justice Renato Corona, whose ouster by the House of Representatives last month was allegedly railroaded.

Father Melvin Castro of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Family and Life was criticized by Elizabeth Angsioco, national chairperson of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) for supposedly issuing unfair and absurd statements.

“Is this a case of selective amnesia? Fr. Castro knows well that the RH Bill has been pending in Congress for more than a decade and that it has been the subject of discussion from the committee level up to plenary sessions in both chambers of Congress,” Angsioco said.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[Press Release] Labor group calls on Congress to vote on RH bill now – PM

Poor and working women members of Partido ng Manggagawa joined the delegation of the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) in pushing Congress once more to vote on the RH bill immediately.  PM members trooped to the House of Representatives in Batasan, Quezon City during its plenary session this afternoon.

The brunt of the absence of a comprehensive program on RH has been taking its toll on poor women who have little or no access to RH services and commodities.  “Ten years is more than enough for our legislators to study the issue and make their stand.  Stop the dilly-dallying that is causing further injustice to women.  Botohan na!  At ngayon na!” asserted PM Secretary General Judy Ann Miranda.

Miranda added that House members should have the guts of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.  “Since it seems that all representatives and senators have made their positions, let’s have it.  Worry about the consequences after the fact.  Anyway, it has been a decade.  Last night, Secretary de Lima had only a few minutes to decide on the Arroyos.”

PRESS RELEASE
16 November 2011
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Person: Judy Ann Miranda
0917-5570777; 0922-8677522

[Press Release] Labor group demands end to delaying tactics and pass RH bill now – PM

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) joined civil society groups today in a press conference on the RH bill entitled, “TEN YEARS NA, SOBRA NA, PAGBOTOHAN NA!” to pressure both Houses of Congress, especially the anti-RH legislators to stop delaying the enactment of the RH bill.  Both Houses of Congress are due for recess next week and still the reproductive health (RH) bill has not been voted on.

“Further delaying the passage of the RH bill after more than 10 years is just too much.  We call on Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. to put their foot down, end the debate and put the bill on vote.  The women, especially poor women, have waited long enough.  At marami nga ang hindi na nakapaghintay at namayapa na.  Pass the RH bill now,” declared PM Secretary General Judy Ann Miranda.

The PM secretary general explained that the anti-RH legislators are slaves of ignorance and feudal religious beliefs, and their outrageous views do not show real concern for the lives of Filipino women.

PRESS RELEASE
10 October 2011
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)
Contact Person: Judy Ann Miranda -0917-5570777; 0922-8677522

[In the news] New LTFRB head meets transport groups – www.philstar.com

New LTFRB head meets transport groups
By Dennis Carcamo

MANILA, Philippines— Newly-appointed Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Jaime Jacob today met with transport leaders to hear the grievances of the sector.

This after representatives of transport groups made the courtesy call this morning to personally air their concerns to the LTFRB head.

“There is no specific agenda to discuss with you but we’re willing to listen what all of you have to say,” Jacob said.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[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] 7 Bataan villages ban artificial contraceptives – www.philstar.com

7 Bataan villages ban artificial contraceptives
By Reinir Padua The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Reproductive health (RH) bill advocates are protesting the ordinances passed by seven barangays in Balanga, Bataan, banning the use of artificial contraceptives.

The RH bill advocates tagged the artificial contraceptives’ regulation as “unconstitutional,” saying that it is now within the power of barangay officials to implement such measures.

They have submitted position papers to local government units, questioning the ordinances. They also intend to file complaints before the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) against the barangay offcials who passed the ordinances.

In a forum held in Quezon City today, former University of the Philippines College of Law dean Pacifico Agabin said the ordinances violate the right to privacy and the right to equal protection of the villagers.

Agabin said the subject of the ordinances are not even within the functions of the barangays, noting that concerns on medicine such as artificial contraceptives are already being regulated by the national government.

“Ang ganitong klaseng ordinance ay hindi papasa sa husgado (These kind of ordinances will pass in court),” Agabin said.

Agabin represents the group, EnGendeRights, which filed a position paper before the concerned barangays and before the city council of Balanga.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[Blogger] (RH BILL)And you just want to get this over with – koihernandez.wordpress.com

[RH BILL] And you just want to get this over with..

by koihernandez.wordpress.com

Apparently, common sense, is not so common.

I’ve just received a news about — probably, one of the most noisiest campaigns for this year and the previous years — Yes, the RH Bill. According to my sources, the government (or is it the church? My source said it was the government but I feel it’s the church) filed some amendments for the RH Bill and they are as follows:

Read more

[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

[Off the shelf] Karapatan sa kalusugan – babasahin mula sa Medical Action Group

Click image to read this material

Susi sa pag-unlad ng lipunan ang pagtamasa sa Karapatan sa Kalusugan ng mamamayan. Ngunit, ang Karapatan sa Kalusugan ay hindi nangangahulugan ng karapatan upang maging malusog at sumasaklaw hindi lamang sa pagkakaroon ng napapanahon at angkop na serbisyong pangkalusugan.

Ang pagtamo ng pinakamataas na pamantayan ng kalusugan ay nangangailangan ng isang panlipunang kaayusan- mga institusyon, mga batas, at mapagpalakas na kapaligiran- na higit na makakatiyak sa pagtamasa ng karapatang ito.

Kasabay sa pagsusulong at pagtataguyod ng Medical Action Group (MAG) sa karapatang pantao at kalusugan, naniniwala ito na may malaking ambag ang mga ganitong uri ng babasahin para sa pagpapataas ng antas ng kaalaman ng mamamayan hinggil sa Karapatan sa Kalusugan.

Sa kasalukuyan, tumatayong Secretariat ang MAG para sa Cut the Cost, Cut the Pain Network o 3CPNet. Isa sa mga pangunahing gawain ng 3CPNet kasama ang Coalition for Health Advocacy and Transparency (CHAT) ay ang pagtataguyod ng pagkakaroon ng kakayahang makabili ng mga abot-kaya, ligtas at epektibong gamot ang mga mamamayan.

Bilang ambag sa pagpapataas ng antas ng kaalaman ng mamamayan sa Karapatan sa Kalusugan, minarapat ng MAG na isalin sa Filipino ang babasahin na Right to Health ng World Health Organization (WHO).

Lubos kaming nagpapasalamat sa UN Pubrights sa kanilang pahintulot na maisalin sa Filipino ang orihinal na babasahing pinaghalawan ng komiks na ito at mailathala ito sa ating bansa. At kay Atty. Michael Paul Reysio-Cruz sa kaniyang pagtulong sa paggawa ng ilustrasyon.

Maraming salamat.

Edeliza P. Hernandez, RN
Executive Director
Medical Action Group

Link to primer: http://www.scribd.com/share/upload/52427918/gtx2wik0yidkq0mzsiw

[Isyung HR] Bawal mag-WALA! Hindi nakakatawa!

By Mokong and the gang

May isang mokong na nagtanong, “walang isyung HR nung nakaraang linggo?

Opo, nawala po ang inyong mokong na lingkod dahil nakiisa sa mga biktima ng sapilitang pagkawala. Hahaha!

Bawal Magwala! Tatak ito ng T-Shirt na ipinamigay ng FIND ilang taon na ang nakakaraan. Double meaning, tumutukoy sa pagiging bawal ng sapilitang pangwawala o pandurukot sa anumang dahilan at sa pagwawala o panggugulo.

Sa mga nakaraang Linggo, napuna kong usong-uso ang pag-WAWALA. Tingnan niyo…

Dahil sa nakaWALA si Leviste – WALA na sa BuCOR si Diokno

File photo source philippinenewsdaily.com

Dahil sa nakawala si Leviste sa kulungan ng NBP, sapilitang wala na sa pusisyon si Diokno.  At nanganganib pa ang malawakang mawawala sa pusisyon sa BuCor.

Para sa kanila wala lang ang mga pangyayaring ito dahil WALA naman bago rito.

Matagal na ang kalokohang iyan! Hahahaha!

Bishop parang WALA lang, Pacman NAG-WALA dahil sa RH Bill
NAWALA sa sarili ang isang bishop sa isang RH debate sa isang Network.  High pitch at wala sa hulog.  NakakaWALA ng respeto. Oops baka naman maexcommunicate kami niyan a.

Matapos magWALANG wenta ni Pacman sa debate sa kongreso, nagsaWALAng paki naman siya nang mabukong gumagamit pala ng pills si Jinky. Parang WALA lang. Pero ang matindi, nagWALA ang mga beki laban kay Mommy Dionisia. Ano ba ‘wag na kasing makihalo. nakakaWALAng gana naman e.

P-Noy sa Enforced Disappearance
WALA pa ring deklarasyon. E parang WALA lang. E WALA naman talaga. Eto ang ‘di sapilitang pang-WAWALA. WALANG adyenda at polisiya. WALAng say. WALA ang Anti-enforced disappearance law sa priority bills.

WALA! WALA! WALA! Kala mo lang meron pero WALA! WALA!WALA!

WALA pa ring hustisya mga biktima ng Ampatuan Massacre
WALA pa ring nangyayari.  WALA pa ring hustisya. NaKAKAWALA sa selda si manong Ampatuan. Ano ba? WALA na bang pag-asa?!

Babala, ang pikon ‘wag MAGWAWALA! Hahaha!

[In the news] Demolition at San Juan village resumes after brief standoff – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News

Demolition at San Juan village resumes after brief standoff – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.

Tension gripped a village in San Juan City anew Friday as residents faced off with a demolition team ordered to take down the shanties there.

Residents of Corazon de Jesus village confronted members of the demolition team and refused to let them destroy their houses, radio dzBB‘s Glen Juego reported.

However, the tension eased after the residents and the demolition team reached a compromise of sorts where the demolition would only demolish the houses of residents who agreed to be relocated.

Some 287 houses in the area were initially scheduled to be demolished, the report said.

The area where the demolition was to take place will be the site of the new government center and City Hall. – VVP, GMA News

[In the news] Referendum on divorce for PH? | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features

Referendum on divorce for PH? | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features.

MANILA, Philippines – Authors of the Divorce Bill at the House of Representatives on Tuesday welcomed the idea of a referendum to feel the pulse of the public on their proposed measure.

Gabriela Party-List Rep. Luz Ilagan replied, “Why not?” when she was asked if they would support a referendum on divorce, similar to Sunday’s referendum in Malta which saw citizens voting in favor of the measure.

Moves to enact a divorce law in the Philippines gained traction after Malta’s referendum.

Malta’s referendum, though non-binding, is expected to pave the way for passage of the a divorce law in that area. If that were to happen, the Philippines would be the only country left without a divorce law.

Ilagan, however, hoped this would not become another contentious issue with the Catholic Church. “We dont want it to be bloody. This is legitimate, [there are] valid reasons kasi 13th Congress pa ito. Ngayon nga lang umabot na sa committee level,” referring to the Committee on Revision of Laws ‘ hearing on the bill Wednesday.

Gabriela’s bill is one of 2 divorce measures in the House. The other was authored by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, which seeks to recognize divorces granted overseas.

Rodriguez’s bill amends the Family Code of the Philippines to require that a divorce obtained by an alien spouse of Filipino overseas only needs to be authenticated by the Philippine consul in the country where it was granted for it to be effective here in the Philippines.

It also seeks to amend another provision in the Family Code to say that all divorces overseas for marriages solemnized overseas are also valid here in the Philippines.

In lobbying for her bill, Ilagan stressed the need for divorce in the country, citing the difficulty of availing an annulment despite the graveness of the grounds for dissolution of a marriage.

Lobbying for RH bill

Meanwhile, Gabriela held a picket at the House of Representatives grounds to lobby for the passage of their other pet measure: the equally controversial Reproductive Health bill.

Ilagan, fellow Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmy de Jesus, and Gabriela members Jessica Rufin and KJ Catequista and HEAD member Beng Rivera Reyes called on Congress to pass the RH Bill.

They stressed that RH is a matter of women’s rights and health, not population control. They are seeking to remove provisions in the RH Bill on population control.

The group recognized that population or demographic targets were thrown out of the bill, and desired family size was made neither mandatory nor compulsory.

However, they cited remaining provisions in the bill (Sections 3(l), 12, and 25) that promote population control, especially Section 12 . This to them “unabashedly states that family planning and responsible parenthood be integrated in anti-poverty programs.”

“Unguardedly, this provision can release the floodgate for the State to carry out its population control program under the guise of pro-choice and poverty alleviation. Also, allowing the notorious Population Commission under section 25 to serve as coordinating body in implementing the bill once it becomes law underscores the State’s intent in pushing for population control,” the group said.

[In the news] Fr. Joaquin Bernas writes ‘talking points’ on RH Bill | Sun.Star

Fr. Joaquin Bernas writes ‘talking points’ on RH Bill | Sun.Star.

MANILA — Catholic bishops expressed willingness to sit down and meet with noted constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas after he announced his position on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill, a Church official said.

Monsignor Juanito Figura, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the bishops are interested to hear Bernas’s “talking points” on House Bill 4244, which is currently debated in Congress.

In an opinion piece for the Philippine Daily Inquirer last May 23, Bernas said neither the government nor the Church has the right to stop people from practicing responsible parenthood whichever way they prefer.

“Public money is neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Muslim or what have you and may be appropriated by Congress for the public good without violating the Constitution,” he said.

The long-time dean of the Ateneo de Manila University Law School also acknowledged that the bill in its present form needs amendment, and he is willing “to contribute to its improvement.”

Consistent to Catholic Church teachings, Bernas expressed his opposition to sex education in public schools “without the consent of parents” and support for the provision that strengthens the illegality of abortion.

Quoting the Compendium on the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church, he said that the government’s responsibility is to interpret the good of everyone and “not only according to the guidelines of the majority.”

However, what drew impassioned criticism from many anti-RH bill advocates and even Church officials is Bernas’s dismay at priests who say supporting the measure is a serious sin and called them as “irresponsible.”

“I have been called a Judas by a high-ranking cleric, I am considered a heretic in a wealthy barangay where some members have urged that I should leave the Church (which is insane),” Bernas lamented, whose article spawned 8,335 Facebook “recommends” and 1,729 shares as of press time.

In the end, Figura believes that as a priest, Bernas is still “pro-life and he is towards the anti-RH bill side.”

Meanwhile, a non government organization has called on the voting public to “learn its lesson” in the next elections and withdraw support from politicians who proposed measures that restrict access to contraceptives.

According to EnGende-Rights, these legislators include Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ralph Recto and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Reps. Roilo Golez (Paranaque), Pablo Garcia (Cebu), Rufus Rodirguez (Cagayan de Oro) and Amado Bagatsing (Manila).

“Those who believe in respecting, promoting, and upholding the rights of women should use their power as citizens to vote for people who will uphold the rights of women. Women are the ones who bear the brunt of the delayed passage of the RH (reproductive health) law and any restriction on their access to the full range of contraceptive methods,” lawyer Clara Rita Padilla, Executive Director of EnGendeRights, said in a press statement.

On Monday, the Senate bills providing for the safety and protection of the unborn will be heard in the Committees on Youth, Women and Family Relations, Constitutional Amendments, and Revision of Codes and Laws.

Last week, the anti-choice bill of Rep. Bagatsing was heard in the House Committee on Revision of Laws with Golez, Garcia, and Rodriguez supporting it. (Virgil Lopez and Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)

[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.

[Press Release] Job security and union membership gave courage to IMF head accuser – Partido ng Manggagawa

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) today pointed out the little known fact that the hotel maid who is accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund and erstwhile possible French presidential candidate, is a union member covered by a contract that guarantees job security.

“This celebrated case of sexual assault could have gone the way of many—unreported and unknown—if the victim had not been an empowered woman because of union protection and security of tenure. Personal courage and union membership gave the immigrant worker from Africa the guts to fight a rich and powerful man,” asserted Judy Ann Miranda, PM secretary general.

The hotel maid works in the Sofitel Hotel whose employees are organized and represented by the New York Hotel Trades Council. A collective bargaining contract guarantees security of tenure to their members which mean that unlike ordinary workers in America, they cannot be fired without reason.

“This incident and others like puts a spotlight on the need to protect job security for workers in general and women in particular. Thus we call on Congress to pass the proposed security of tenure bill,” Miranda added. The security of tenure (SOT) bill is due to be reported out by the House Labor Committee for plenary deliberation. “We expect the SOT bill to be just as controversial as the RH bill. This time the Catholic Church will be an ally rather than an antagonist of women workers,” she emphasized.

Miranda stated that “The hotel maid’s case is not exactly the same but is similar to the Philippine Airlines (PAL) ground attendant’s complaint against an abusive politician. Drawing from her personal stores of courage, PAL employee Sarah Bonnin-Ocampo chose to pursue a case against AVE Rep. Eulogio Magsaysay and once she did despite the indifference of PAL, the Philippine Airline Employees’ Association was there to support her. If the hotel maid and Sarah were contractual workers, they would have simply have suffered in silence.”

Miranda argued that “In a context where anybody can be fired at will, a lowly worker victimized by a company client learns to be docile for the sake of her livelihood. Women’s empowerment cannot be divorced from labor rights given the fact that half of the work force is female.”

PM is at the forefront of the campaign against contractualization and the advocacy for the security of tenure bill. It is also active in lobbying for the RH bill and the fight against sexual harassment in the workplace.

Press Release
May 25, 2011
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Judy Ann Miranda @ 09175570777, 09228677522

[In the news] Father Bernas calls some anti-RH clerics ‘irresponsible’ – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News

Father Bernas calls some anti-RH clerics ‘irresponsible’ – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.

BEA CUPIN, GMA News

Amid the rising chorus of anti-Reproductive Health (RH) Bill rhetoric of his fellow clergymen, prominent Jesuit priest Joaquin Bernas, SJ sings a different tune.

In his column on Inquirer.Net on Monday, Bernas declared, “I have never held that the RH Bill is perfect. But if we have to have an RH law, I intend to contribute to its improvement as much as I can.”

Fr. Joaquin Bernas. File phoro source ccp.edu.ph

He also disagreed with “churchmen (who) compel President Aquino, by whatever means, to prevent people from acting according to their religious belief.”

Bernas is a constitutional lawyer, member of the 1987 Constitutional Commission. , and former Ateneo Law School dean, As a priest and a respected intellectual, Bernas has been a thorn in the side of the anti-RH camp by criticizing Church opposition to the RH Bill as a violation of religious freedom.

His most recent column was partly a defense from criticism by conservative Catholics, including a “high-ranking cleric” who called him Judas. But we also went on the offense.,

In the column titled “My Stand on the RH Bill,” Bernas branded as “irresponsible” clerics who say that support for the RH Bill is a serious sin and lauded the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for “[disowning] the self-destructive views of some clerics.”

He also referred to some critics of the bill as “attack dogs.”

Bernas’ column is usually a cerebral take on affairs of the state that perhaps fellow academics can best appreciate.

But reflecting the increasingly fevered public interest in the RH issue, his latest column has gone viral, with nearly 5,000 Facebook “recommends” as of Tuesday morning and nearly 1,500 Twitter shares.

Freedom of religion

Bernas put his views in context by pointing out that the Philippines is a pluralist society which should support not only the freedom to believe but the “freedom to act or not to act according to what one believes.”

Thus, Bernas argued, neither the government nor the church has the right to stop people from practicing responsible parenthood whichever way they prefer.

Citing the “Compendium on Social Teaching of the Catholic Church,” Bernas explained that the state ought to decide based not only on the majority, but the minority as well.

For Bernas, spending public money to promote public health does not violate the Constitution, contrary to the argument of some anti-RH activists.

Public money is neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Muslim or what have you and may be appropriated by Congress for the public good without violating the Constitution,” he said.

Opposes mandatory sex education
Bernas also showed his more conservative side by declaring his opposition to mandated sex education in public schools and his support for the provision that strengthens the illegality of abortion.

For him, parents must give consent to the classes beforehand, citing Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution on “the natural and primary right of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character.”

He also reiterated his definition of abortion. “Sacred life begins at fertilization and not at implantation,” he said.

Finally, Bernas emphasized how the bill would protect the nation’s poor women, according to the bill’s Declaration of Policy and Guiding Principles. “They should be saved,” he said.

RH bill dividing Catholics

Bernas’ column came a day after another cleric, the conservative retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani made waves during Sunday evening’s RH Bill Grand Debate on GMA News TV with his confrontational demeanor on stage.

On Monday meanwhile, a member of the clergy called for “sobriety” on the issue after other members of the Catholic Church escalated their attacks on the RH Bill.

In a pastoral statement, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said that the ongoing debate on the bill was putting Catholics at “odds” with each other.

He defended the Church’s stand, saying that it was not trying to further inflame the situation but to make an appeal “for the triumph of reason and sobriety.”

Giving Catholicism a bad name

Earlier, Bernas had written a blog entry saying that a sector of the Church is giving the Catholic religion a bad name by imposing their beliefs on everyone.

Bernas was reacting to a Barangay Ayala Alabang ordinance that required a doctor’s prescription for the purchase of artificial contraception, such as condoms.

The CBCP has since stopped formal dialogues with both the Palace and the Senate on the RH Bill.

However, CBCP public relations unit head Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez Jr. said on Monday that they are still open to talks on the bill, barring some “non-negotiables.”

Debate for the House of Representatives’ version of the RH Bill began last week while the Senate is scheduled to begin RH debates by August. – HS, GMA News

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