Tag Archives: RH Bill

[Press Release] Landmark Law Crucial for Women’s Health -HRW

Philippines: Landmark Law Crucial for Women’s Health
Legislators Expected to Pass Reproductive Health Bill Despite Church Opposition

200px-Hrw_logo.svg(Manila, December 16, 2012) – The Philippines’ expected passage of a reproductive health law will be a massive step forward to promote women’s health and lives, Human Rights Watch said today. The prime objectives of the Reproductive Health Bill, which is scheduled for a final vote during the week of December 17, 2012, include increasing access to a range of reproductive health services and reducing maternal deaths.

The bill, first filed in Congress more than a decade ago, was ignored by lawmakers for years because of strong opposition led by the Roman Catholic Church. President Benigno Aquino III, facing calls from Catholic bishops for his excommunication for supporting the law, certified the bill as “urgent” on December 13, expediting the vote in Congress.

“The Reproductive Health Bill will have profound implications for improving the health and lives of women throughout the country,” said Carlos Conde, Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Aquino administration should be credited for having the political will to muster support for the bill in Congress despite the threat of a political backlash.”

Should the bill be approved by the House of Representatives on its third and final reading, as well as by the Senate, a draft law that harmonizes the Senate and House versions will be submitted to Aquino for his signature.

The Reproductive Health Bill seeks to integrate the government’s responsible parenthood and family planning efforts into all of its anti-poverty and development programs. It mandates the Health Department to lead the procurement and distribution of reproductive health care services and supplies. It provides for a more efficient system of maternal death review to decrease the incidence of maternal mortality.

The bill also requires age-appropriate sexuality education up through high school. It categorizes all products and supplies for modern family planning as “essential,” meaning they must be available at all hospitals and clinics. The bill also increases the pay of health workers in villages across the country.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, 3.4 million pregnancies occur in the Philippines every year. Half of those pregnancies are unintended while a third are aborted, often in clandestine, unsafe, and unsanitary procedures by nonprofessionals.

Abortion is illegal in the Philippines, the largest Roman Catholic country in Asia. The bill does not amend the penal code prohibition on abortion, but addresses post-abortion care standards.

The Population Fund estimates that there are 11 deaths of women from pregnancy-related causes every day in the Philippines and that “most of them could have been avoided in a well-functioning health care delivery system.” It said “maternal health conditions are the leading causes of burden of disease” among Filipino women.

“The Aquino administration should waste no time in carrying out the reproductive health law once it passes,” Conde said. “Many Filipino women have faced difficulties and sometimes death because of the absence of a comprehensive and consistent reproductive health policy. This law can change that.”

Contraception use in the Philippines is low because of erratic implementation of reproductive and population programs over the decades. The United Nations Population Fund has said that only 21 percent of women in the Philippines use any modern method of contraception while nearly 70 percent use no contraception at all. A 2008 demographic and health survey found that 22 percent of married women in the Philippines have an unmet need for family planning.

Reproductive health programs faltered because of opposition from the Catholic Church and conservative groups. Some local governments have passed local ordinances that banned the sale of condoms and contraceptives and forbid their distribution in government clinics, where most poor Filipinos turn for health care. Human Rights Watch documented the impact of such bans, particularly on the poor, in a 2004 report, “Unprotected: Sex, Condoms, and the Right to Health.” The Reproductive Health Bill, if passed, will revoke these ordinances.

The Philippines has ratified international human rights treaties that require it to ensure access to reproductive health services and to protect the rights to health, equality, privacy, and to decide on the number and spacing of children. UN expert bodies have repeatedly called on the Philippines to enact reproductive health legislation and improve family planning and reproductive health services. The UN treaty bodies addressing children’s rights, women’s equality, and economic, social and cultural rights have all pressed for such reforms.

“Too many Filipinos have long suffered from inadequate reproductive health policies, with the poor being hardest hit,” Conde said. “This bill marks the start of an era in which public policies can save lives, promote healthy family planning, and respect human rights.”

To view the 2004 Human Rights Watch report “Unprotected: Sex, Condoms and the Human Right to Health,” please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2004/05/04/unprotected-0

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Philippines, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/asia/-philippines

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on women’s rights, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/topic/womens-rights

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[From the web] Should Congress and Church be afraid of RH bill? -RAPPLER.com

Should Congress and Church be afraid of RH bill?.

By Juan Miguel Luz
August 5, 2012

One of the major reasons why we fail as a country is that we tolerate a two-class society: the Haves and the Have-nots (e.g. the Poor).

Those that Have can afford more education (much of it privately provided), more health services (privately delivered), better quality housing (privately built). For the Poor, they have to rely on government for these services and more.

Reproductive Health in the Philippines is one such two-class issue. Those that Have, buy their own RH services. The Have-nots, on the other hand, will have little access to RH services, if any, if government does not provide.

This week, the RH Bill comes to a vote in Congress. And we will see if Congress chooses to debate and vote on public policy, or decide that class interests are more important to their own political survival.

Read full article @ www.rappler.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.

[Press Release] Women workers chide bishops for celebrating withdrawal of UN funding on family planning – Partido ng Manggagawa

While bishops hail the United Nation’s decision to abandon the country’s family planning plan due to lack of funds, the Department of Health (DOH) notes that Filipinos with HIV has reached more than 7000 and increasing.  Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) believes that for these reasons, the more the State and advocates should make certain the passage of the RH bill and so its budget allocation.

“It is unfortunate that the bishops’ reason for rejoicing is also reason for more difficulties for the poor, especially women with unmet family planning needs and dying due to pregnancy and birth complications, and Filipinos with HIV and AIDs.  It is callous and insensitive to celebrate at the expense of people needing help,” explained PM Secretary-General Judy Ann Chan-Miranda.

PM chides the bishops for admonishing taxpayers regarding budget allocation for RH-related services.  The poor, needing RH services, deserves State support – it is one reason why the State exists in the first place.

“The tax-exempt Catholic Church has no moral ascendancy to meddle on the State’s social spending.  Will it share its wealth or pay the bills for the healthcare of poor women?” asked Miranda.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
2 September 2011
Contact Person: Judy Ann Miranda
0922-8677522

[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.

[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

[Isyung HR] Bawal tumawid ang ayaw mamatay!

Mokong at Mokang is here once again as the sun sets and rises the following day. Mokong ang Mokang will always haunt your Sundays. You know!

Mainit ang mga naging isyu ng nakaraang linggo. Sing-init ng panahon, nakaka-heat stroke. Baybayin natin ang top 5.

5. Kill the Gays Bill in Uganda
Mokang:  Shock ang mga Meki sa isyung ito.
Mokong:  Anong Meki?
Mokang:  Mokong na Beki.
Mokong:  Hindi ‘yan pupwede dito sa Pilipinas.
Mokang:  Tama, dahil haharangin ‘yan ng mga Meki sa kongreso.
Mokong:  At sinuman ang magtatangka ng ganitong panukala ay siguradong aani ng batikos. All Meki in all sections of our society will unite and defend their rights.
Mokang:  Eto naman kasing mga legislators sa Uganda, tyumempo pa sa anti-descrimination campaign ng U.N.
Mokong:  Isyu daw kasi ito ng moral
Mokang:  So immoral ang maging bading at pasado sa moral nila ang pumatay.

4. Killer Highway
Mokang:  May panukala daw na gawing killer highway na ang Commonwealth Ave.
Mokong:  E ganun naman ang tawag sa kanya a.
Mokang:  Pag naisabatas daw ang ispesyal law na ito, bawal na ang hindi pumatay sa highway na ito.  Wala nang mag-dadaan.  E di wala nang mamamatay.
Mokong: ang mga signs na “Bawal tumawid, may namatay na.” ay papalitan ng “Bawal tumawid ang ayaw mamamatay.”
Mokang: Hahaha pwede killer highway nga.
Mokong:  Isang proposal ng mokong na kakilala ko, para maiwasan na daw ang ober-speeding diyan sa killer highway, maglagay na lang ng mga humps.
Mokang:  Agree ako diyan.

3. Mga nominado sa pagka-ombudsman – laksa-laksa!
Mokong:  Balitang balita na 25 daw ang nominated sa pagka-ombudsman.
Mokang:  Ang dami naman.  Bakit kaya?
Mokong:  Itanong mo ‘yan kay Merci.  Hahaha.

2. VIP treatment kay Leviste
Mokang:  Bago pa ba ang isyung ‘yan?
Mokong:  Ang VIP treatment luma na.  Ang bago ay ang pag-aksiyon nila.
Mokang:  Masaya nga ako at nabunyag na ang kalokohang iyan.
Mokong:  Ako nalulungkot.  Kasi may idadahilan nanaman ang Board of Pardon and Parole para i-hold ang processing ng mga for parole. Katamaran.  Hindi daw maproseso ang application ni Mariano Umbrero kasi on-hold sila sa processing.  Ok lang sana kung pwede on-hold din muna ang cancer ng kawawang poltical prisoner.
Mokang:  Baka naman inuuna ang mga VIP.  Very Important kasi may Payment.  Hahaha. Sira ang deskarte nila.

1.Debate at Boksing sa RH Bill
Mokong: Talo daw si pacman sa debate nila ni Edcel Lagman.  Kasi ‘di daw siya nakapagdasal sa corner ng ring bago sumabak sa bakbakan.
Mokang:  Talo daw si pacman sa debate kasi un-fair walang weighing in. E di sana disqualified si Lagman at di na umabot pa sa ganun.
Mokong:  Talo daw si Pacman. Kasi di siya sanay sa debate. Sanay kasi siya sa bidyoke.
Mokang:  Talo daw si Pacman. Kasi hindi muna siya nagsimba bago sumabak sa laban.
Mokong:  Talo daw si Pacman. Kasi si Edcel alam ang boksing, siya hindi niya alam ang interpellation.
Mokang:  Masaya pa rin daw si Pacman. kasi sa totoo daw talo si Lagman.  Kasi kahit manalo siya hindi rin niya masusuot ang championship belt.  Hindi magkakasya. Hahahaha!

O biro lang ang lahat ng ito a.  Ang mapikon ay mapaparusahan sa ilalim ng batas ng Kill the Pikon bill.  Ang parusa death penalty sa pamamagitan ng pagpapalakad sa kahabaan ng killer highway, pag nabuhay ay ikukulong at hindi makaka-avail ng VIP treatment.  ‘Di bale wag mag-alala sa ombudsman ka naman makakasuhan kaya siguradong walang mapaparusahan. Hahahaha!

[In the news] Aquino explains his RH position to Pacquiao – Interaksyon.com

Aquino explains his RH position to Pacquiao – Interaksyon.com.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Pacquiao with the President raised the same concerns he voiced out during his debate with House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman two days ago.

“The President cited as example the girl he met at Baseco. He explained that couples will not be forced to use family planning methods if they do not want to nor will we favor one method over the other because these are the concerns of Manny Pacquiao,” Valte said.

“Pacquiao understood the five-point stand on responsible parenthood,” Valte said, but she acknowledged that there were no signs that the boxing champ’s anti-reproductive health bill stance was changed during the meeting.

Aquino’s five-point stand on the responsible parenthood issue is as follows:

1. I am against abortion.

2. I am in favor of giving couples the right to choose how best to manage their families so that in the end, their welfare and that of their children are best served.

3. The State must respect each individual’s right to follow his or her conscience and religious convictions on matters and issues pertaining to the unity of the family and the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death.

4. In a situation where couples, especially the poor and disadvantaged ones, are in no position to make an informed judgment, the State has the responsibility to so provide.

5. In the range of options and information provided to couples, natural family planning and modern methods shall be presented as equally available.

Valte said the courtesy call, which was made to mark Pacquiao’s victory over Shane Mosley, lasted for more than an hour.

Pacquiao gave Aquino a gray sweatshirt and a yellow t-shirt, both autographed, while the President gave the lawmaker a “small gift.”

[In the news] Scripted Pacquiao not ready to rumble over RH bill – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News

Scripted Pacquiao not ready to rumble over RH bill – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.

BEA CUPIN, GMA News

“I’m ready to rumble!” said the gray-haired, rotund challenger to Manny Pacquiao on the House floor on Wednesday. But the boxing icon and Sarangani rep was apparently the one not ready.

Instead of debating with Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on the RH bill the latter sponsored, Pacquiao – the new face of the anti-RH camp – read awkwardly from a prepared set of questions and had little to say after Lagman’s lengthy responses.

Malacañang, meanwhile, announced on Wednesday that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has formally informed President Benigno Aquino III it is withdrawing from the dialogues on the controversial House Bill 4244, or the Reproductive Health bill.

In a letter to the President, dated May 17, CBCP president Nereo Odchimar said the action was taken as the “prevailing circumstances where a healthy atmosphere for dialogue on the matter was wanting.”

File Photo source: examiner.com

Fresh from a meeting Tuesday with the bishops, Pacquiao seemed willing to project their point of view in Congress where the the second day of plenary debate resumed Wednesday.

(For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV)

Earlier in the day, it was announced that Pacquiao would open interpellations on the floor once the debates resume. The boxer was supposed to interpellate a day earlier but opted to move it to Wednesday because he needed “more time to prepare,” heightening the anticipation.

Pacquiao opened the round of questions by saying it would be better for the government to focus on making laws that would solve poverty.

Lagman answered, “Isa sa solusyon sa kahirapan ay ang RH Bill. Pero hindi ito exclusive sa iba pang solusyon na pwedeng gawin ng gobyerno. Kung marami tayong solusyon at pagsama-samahin ay maaaring sagot ito sa poverty alleviation.”

He followed the first question by asking Lagman about the technicalities of the bill. If it was about poverty alleviation, why was it forwarded to the Committee on Population?

Lagman answered, “That is moot and academic.”

He added: “Kung nakinig tayo sa sponsorship ng chairman ng population, [makikita mo na] halos lahat ng bill ay ni-refer sa population and family relations.”

‘Scare tactics’

Several times during the interpellation, the Sarangani congressman found himself repeating questions which had already been answered the day before, when the plenary session on the controversial RH bill started.

At one point, Pacquiao asked about exemptions to the mandatory health education classes. “Hindi kaya magkagulo n’yan dahil ‘yung right nila ay masasagasaan?” asked Pacquiao when Lagman said that parents and children had the right to abstain from sexuality and reproductive health classes.

“Sa sinabi mong chaotic situation ay hindi mangyayari ito,” said Lagman. “Let’s stop these scare tactics.”

Absent from his legislative duties for months while he trained for the Mosley fight, Pacquiao in unscripted moments has cited mostly religious arguments, leading to taunts from Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago.

“I would like to say if this is going to be a debate of biblical quotes, then I will counter with a quote: ‘The devil can cite Scripture for its purposes,'” Santiago said.

House Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman broke the ice by telling Pacquiao, “I’m ready to rumble. I will not run away like Mosley.” Laughter echoed throughout the hall. Lagman was referring to the world champion’s most recent opponent Shane Mosley, who lost miserably in a lackluster fight.

[In the news]120 congressmen now support RH bill, according to unofficial count – Interaksyon.com

120 congressmen now support RH bill, according to unofficial count – Interaksyon.com.

Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines — By an unofficial count of some neophyte members of the House of Representatives, 120 lawmakers now support the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

In a news conference Wednesday, ACT Teachers partylist Representative Antonio Tinio said the 120 lawmakers, which include the 97 who were co-authors of the bill, are expected to increase as more get exposed to the issues behind the controversial measure during debates in plenary.

Some 90 lawmakers are opposed to the bill, while about 60 are still undecided, Tinio added.

The House has 284 members.  A majority vote is needed to pass the bill on second reading.

DIWA partylist Representative Emmeline Aglipay said that among the 140 neophytes, 20 have already firmed up their position to back the bill.

“As neophytes, we want to express out voices, too, in supporting the bill,” she said, adding they will participate in the deliberations in plenary when given the chance.

Manila Representative Sandy Ocampo said that lawmakers are discussing among themselves the bill and some are “convincing each other” to either support or junk the bill.

Gabriela partylist Representative Emmi de Jesus said the RH bill covers the advocacy of the group for women empowerment.

“Asserting women’s full access to reproductive health services and programs should not be reduced to just the issue of contraceptives. We need to focus on our universal respect for the human life. We need to ensure that the phenomenon of 11 women dying each day due to pregnancy-related causes will become a thing of the past. Indeed, we don’t want to be short of responsibility to our constituents,” she said.

Ifugao Representative Teodoro Baguilat Jr. said the passage of the bill would put in place a policy on a reproductive health and responsible parenthood that the country needs to address concerns on poverty and maternal health.

Plenary debates started Tuesday with at least 38 lawmakers opposed to the bill enlisting for interpellation.

Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) partylist Representative Sherwin Tugna called on his colleagues to “stick only to secular issues and debate on empirical facts that can be analyzed and measured” so that the debates will have a conclusion.

“We have to reign the debates to stay on a reasonable level and avoid dragging God and the heavens into the issue,” he said. “Questions on the deliberation must be limited to secular questions, not on morals, beliefs and religion. Debates must be issue based and not on belief in God.”

[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

[Press Release] PM calls on Pacquiao to reconsider anti-RH stand

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) mobilized its members for lobbying with the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) at the House of Representatives in Batasan, Quezon City.  Hundreds of women trooped to Congress to support Rep. Edcel C. Lagman’s sponsorship speech for the RH bill.

“Insisting that Filipinos religiously follow the Catholic Church’s outmoded doctrine on family planning and contraception is disregard for women’s universal right to reproductive health,” declared PM Secretary-General Judy Ann Chan-Miranda.

And in response to Manny Pacquiao’s supporting the Catholic Church’s position, Miranda argued that, “More or less 40% of the Philippine population are below the poverty line, these people, especially women, cannot afford having many children as per statement na ang utos ng simbahan ay humayo at magparami.  The workers greatly admire Pacquiao for his boxing prowess, pero sana naman pag-isipan niya na ang deklarasyon niya bilang kinatawan ng Sarangani in particular ay may malaking impact sa kalusugan at buhay na kababaihan.”

“Bakit, Manny, pagtutulungan ba ninyo ng Simbahang Katoliko ang pagtugon sa gastusin at pangangailangan ng mahihirap na pamilya kung susundin nila ang kautusang ito?  If you can afford to buy a P4 million-bag for Mommy Dionisia, these poor Filipinos na marami ay kababayan mo cannot even afford to eat three meals a day, buy clothes and send their children to school,” added Miranda.

Indeed, Pacquiao has declared that he will not change his position, nevertheless, PM would like to make this last appeal, “Manny, mas kailangan ng mga manggagawa lalung-lalo na ng kababaihan ang tulong mo, more than former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza and the Catholic Church.  Hindi kami hihingi ng balato mula sa milyon-milyong dolyar na kinikita mo sa boxing at commercials mo, ang hihingin naming balato ay puwang sa iyong puso para sa mahihirap.  Suportahan mo ang RH bill.”
PRESS RELEASE
17 May 2011
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)
Contact Judy Ann Miranda @ 09175570777, 09228677522

[In the news] Don’t downplay debate on RH bill, Palace tells Catholic hierarchy – Interaksyon.com

Don’t downplay debate on RH bill, Palace tells Catholic hierarchy – Interaksyon.com.

Chichi Conde, InterAksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines – The Palace has appealed to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) not to downplay the debate on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill and resort to carrying out civil disobedience actions against the Aquino administration.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office head Ramon Carandang told reporters on Sunday that that Catholic leaders should be open to the debate on the proposed measure, which is an “issue of national importance.”

“There are different and opposing views, but our way of explaining our side should be within the means of the law…What the President is saying is there is room for debate,” said Carandang.

The Catholic hierarchy had pulled out of the talks on the RH bill, saying “holding talks is futile as President Aquino said no one can stop him from pushing the measure.”

Msgr. Juanito Figura, CBCP secretary general, said the talks  “would not yield any further positive results.” He said the consolidated RH bill in the House and Mr. Aquino’s five-point responsible parenthood agenda were basically the same.

“The bishops do not see any reason to further undertake a serious study/dialogue on HB 4244 with the administration as was proposed by Pres. Aquino, himself,” said Figura, reading a statement of the CBCP.

But Carandang said the issue “should not degenerate to illegal acts or anything like that.”

Earlier, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles stopped short of calling Aquino a modern Herod after the latter warned anti-RH groups that they were courting sedition for threatening not to pay taxes if the measure would become law.

“He can put us all in jail. We are willing to pay the price to save the unborn from modern Herods and save the executioners from the grasp of the evil one,” Arguelles said.

Meanwhile, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said that Aquino should be allowed to “charge all of us bishops, priests, religious, all the faithful with sedition because it is better to obey God rather than men and immoral laws,”

Aquino said calls for a tax boycott from the Citizens Alliance for the Protection of Human Life is a serious offense and may qualify for sedition charges.

“Sedition would be the charge for not doing your civic obligation, if you encourage others not to pay taxes,” the President added.

Aquino said the responsible parenthood bill, Malacañang‘s version of the proposed measure, would be included in his administration’s priority legislative measures during the next Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.

The House of Representatives is expected to begin plenary debates on the RH bill on Tuesday, May 17.

On Sunday, Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros launched a “text brigade” appealing to the public to pray for “pro-life” legislators. “Our prolife legislators ask for prayers as they plan on May 17 their moves in this month-long session of congress. Let us pray for them.” – with reports from Pots de Leon

[Press Release] Labor party, nurse group join hands for RH on Nurses Day – Partido ng Manggagawa

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and a national group of nurses, the Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders & Advocates International Inc. (AYNLA), joined hands in pushing for the controversial RH bill on the observance of International Nurses Day last Thursday. “We link arms with our fellow workers in the nursing profession to advance their rights and welfare. Further workers and nurses add our voices to the growing chorus of support for the RH bill,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM chair.

In commemoration of Nurses Day, AYNLA national president Alvin Cloyd Dakis stressed the importance of a national comprehensive reproductive health law in the country to address the alarming maternal deaths, huge number of clandestine abortions and rising cases of HIV in the country and the vital role of nurses addressing these issues.

AYNLA is so far the most vocal nursing organization to have supported the passage of the RH Bill in Congress. For Dakis, it is essential for nurses to provide what their patients need and give them all the options they have for their health. “By educating them through appropriate information, we can make our patients the ‘Managers of their own health’ and be empowered in their choices” he said.

The International Nurses Day is celebrated annually every May 12 in commemoration of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. AYNLA celebrated with the rest of the world in this year’s International Nurses Day by making an online awareness campaign of the event through Facebook and Twitter.

Aside from jointly pushing for the RH bill, PM and AYNLA had cooperated in exposing the problem of on the job training fees for new nurses. Magtubo attended a Senate inquiry last January on the alleged exploitation of nurses where they have to pay fees in exchange of their volunteer work in the hospitals. Together with other nurses groups, AYNLA testified to the truth of allegations that hospitals have been levying OJT fees on many unemployed nurses in the country.

“We have a lot of nurses who are unemployed in the country but we have a lot of health concerns to address, which we believe we can contribute a lot – like the much talked about reproductive health” said Reigner Jireh Antiquera, AYNLA vice chair. Antiquera saw the importance of mobilizing our vast health human resources to help in providing services for reproductive health such as health education, counseling, HIV treatment care & support, and various RH services.

Press Release
May 15, 2011
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Renato Magtubo @ 09178532905

[In the news] Debating the RH bill – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

Debating the RH bill – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos.

Public Lives

By Randy David
Philippine Daily Inquirer

ON SO fundamental a proposal as the Reproductive Health bill (HB 4244), there is bound to be wide and passionate disagreement. The bill touches on matters that lie within the scope of three basic institutions: the State, the Church, and the family. Although differing views on such matters may not always be reconcilable, they can be made—in the spirit of democracy—to accommodate one another.

To get to that point, it is essential that the parties must give up the use of threats or coercion to bolster their respective position. The mere mention of excommunication or criminal prosecution in the course of an ongoing debate is enough to fuel extreme reaction. Debaters and discussants must stick to the main issues, avoid name-calling, and not indulge in polemics. They must try hard to see issues from the standpoint of the other, instead of privileging their own way of seeing as “commonsensical” or “rational” or truly “moral.” Such words can be conversation-stoppers.

On this issue, I don’t expect much from the encounter between the Church hierarchy and the leaders of the State. Each side will reiterate and promote its own definition of reality. More than that, both institutions will try to stretch their sphere of influence on society to the extent they can. The Church cannot be expected to view the world from the standpoint of secular leaders. That is not its role. In like manner, political leaders in a modern state cannot allow decision-making to be controlled by any religion without violating the autonomy of politics that is crucial to a democracy.

In transitional societies like ours, the vulnerability tends to hobble largely the political side. We see this in the way political legitimacy is routinely and brazenly sought from religious leaders—not only during elections but especially during times of crisis. When citizens habitually ask bishops to sanctify the political choices they make, they make it hard for them to back off on all other matters of state. Perhaps at no other time was the vulnerability of government to religious interference as evident as during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidency. She served as the clergy’s principal conduit to Congress. She made sure that the RH bill would not move an inch during her term, even if her own allies were among the bill’s fervent supporters. In turn, the Church rewarded her by softening public criticism of her governance.

In contrast, we have today a president who not only supports the bill but also risks antagonizing the Church by repeatedly expressing his stand in public. Instead of allowing the fate of the bill to be decided at closed-door meetings, this administration has encouraged free and open discussion of its merits and demerits.

One can immediately see the effect of this readiness to debate in the boldness of the growing number of legislators who support the bill. But, it is obvious as well in the stance taken by those who oppose it. Though their objections are fundamentally religious, they find themselves having to couch these in non-religious language. They frame their arguments in moral and constitutional terms, raise issues of practicability, or argue from economic and political rationality. They do not flash the religious card, knowing they are legislating for an entire nation and not for a particular religious community. That’s how it is supposed to be in a democracy.

But though it may not be obvious at first glance, rapid ferment is taking place within the Philippine Church itself. One cannot think of any other time when there was more open questioning by the faithful of the hierarchy’s rigid position on reproductive health than today.

The key issue is whether the ban on contraception is dogmatically defined and thus irreformable. The famous Catholic theologian Karl Rahner does not think that the papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae” can be considered “irreformable doctrine.” Still, he believes that “the presumption should be in favor of the Pope’s declaration.”

But so complex are the issues, Rahner goes on to say, that many may be unable to accept the Pope’s doctrine. A cogent summary of his highly nuanced position, written for a German publication in 1968, has been provided by Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., who taught religion and society at Fordham. (http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id= 10722) It is useful to cite Rahner at this time because he shows the Church to be the living institution it should be, staunchly defending its place in a changing world while remaining sensitive to dissenting voices within it.

“Bishops,” Rahner makes clear, “should surely instruct the faithful about the meaning and weight of the pope’s decision, and warn the faithful to take it seriously…. On the other hand, bishops should not act as though the encyclical were irreformable or as though everyone who dissented were guilty of contempt of authority or were separating himself from the church. They should refrain from imposing canonical penalties on persons who respectfully and discreetly propose another view…. If no one could voice his opposition to reformable doctrines, the development and correction of the Church’s official teaching would be seriously hampered.”

Rahner’s views stand in contrast to the intolerance with which some members of our clergy have treated those who differ with the official teaching on contraception. My sense is that, in the last analysis, the strength of the Church will be tested not by what happens to the RH bill but by the grace with which it is able to deal with the dissenting voices within it.

* * *

public.lives@gmail.com

[From the web] The Day of the Purple Ribbon A Secular Success |Filipino Freethinkers

The Day of the Purple Ribbon — A Secular Success | Filipino Freethinkers.

The Day of the Purple Ribbon will be remembered for different reasons.

Some will remember the strong political statements made by RH champions, especially the call of former President Ramos for President Aquino to prioritize the RH Bill.

Others will remember the music, ranging from Noel Cabangon’s hearty original, “Ako’y Isang Mabuting Pilipino,” to Lea Salonga’s heavenly — yes, heavenly — rendition of John Lennon’sImagine.”

Still others will remember it for the camaraderie: spending an afternoon remembering the journey we started, celebrating the progress we’ve made, and pledging to continue until the RH bill becomes law.

But what I’ll never forget about the Day of the Purple Ribbon is how secular it was. There was no opening or closing prayer. The pledge to support the RH bill, which could have easily included a line to ask for help from a higher power, was a pledge that even an atheist could recite with complete conviction. Grace was not said before the meal — at least not publicly.

And that’s the point. I’m sure most of the people there were Catholics who did say Grace before their meal, Catholics who attend mass every Sunday and who pray regularly for the passage of the RH bill.

As the majority in attendance they could have assumed that everyone else shared the same beliefs they did. But they didn’t. And that’s what secularism is about: focusing on the things you can publicly agree on and keeping personal practices and beliefs private.

The event organizers knew that what the people shared was support for the RH Bill, and that is what they made the event about — nothing more nothing less. For the RH Bill to pass, the government needs to practice secularism; RH Advocates are showing them how.

Compare this with priests who ask parishioners to kneel for a final prayer, not knowing that somewhere before the final Amen they’ll ask God to block the RH Bill — regardless of whether they support it.

And so it went that even without religious pledges or public prayers, the Day of the Purple Ribbon was a success. I’m sure even the Catholics there would agree.

Except maybe for this one Pro-Lifer who came uninvited. We recognized each other from the recent Anti-RH lecture at SM Megamall. He greeted us with a smile and said that he came with an “open mind.”

But after hearing Noel Cabangon’s song reach a secular stanza — which came after a torrent of secular and pro-RH statements — he left. I could almost see steam coming out of his ears.

It’s a good thing, too. If he’d stayed longer, Lea’s “Imagine” would have blown his mind wide open.

[In the news] Anti-RH groups bring their campaign to the Visayas – Regions – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News

Anti-RH groups bring their campaign to the Visayas – Regions – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.

On the heels of a highly publicized mobilization by pro-RH groups of celebrity allies, groups opposing the proposed law are escalating their campaign for hearts and minds by scheduling anti-RH motorcades and dialogues with lawmakers in Catholic strongholds in the Visayas.

After Catholic bishops backed out of talks with Malacañang on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill last Tuesday, RH advocates packed an upscale hotel in Quezon City with VIP allies for a glittering rally featuring entertainment personalities and a former President, Fidel V. Ramos, who urged President Aquino to make the RH bill a priority.

Congress is preparing to debate the bill anew.

With political momentum appearing to favor the pro-RH side, Catholic bishops and their conservative allies are taking the battle to provinces known for being Catholic strongholds.

In Cebu, anti-RH bill groups were scheduled to stage a “Jericho Ride Caravan for Life” on Friday, May 13, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said.

Read full article @ GMAnews.tv

[In the news] Speaker sees no RH bill rush – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

Speaker sees no RH bill rush – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos.

By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The vociferous opposition to the reproductive health bill has just gotten a break from House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

Belmonte Thursday said it would not be possible to put to a vote the consolidated House Bill 4244, or the “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development Bill,” during the remaining session days of Congress.

He said the debates on the RH bill could very well spill over into the next State of the Nation Address (SONA), meaning into the opening of the next regular Congress session in late July.

“We have to continue the debates,” said Belmonte, noting that 50 congressmen have lined up to interpellate the controversial bill, principally authored by Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, during the remaining 13 days of the first regular session of the 15th Congress.

“We need not finish this (RH bill) in the last 13 days. We’re trying to get in as many bills as possible and these are bills considered for committee reporting or on second reading,” Belmonte said.

Read full article @ INQUIRER.net

[Blogger] Mahirap ba tayo kasi maraming tao? – anthonygaupo.wordpress.com

by Anthony Gaupo
My Life is my Message

Matagal nang isyu sa Pilipinas itong Reproductive Health Bill o RH Bill pero hanggang ngayon walang kasiguraduhan kung maisasabatas nga ba ito. A lot of people supports it but a lot too are against to it. Different views mula sa iba’t ibang tao ang naririnig kaya kung anu-anong isyu ang naglalabasan. Minsan kahit ako nalilito na kung sino sa kanila ang paniniwalaan ko, but still I try to hollistically understand what this RH Bill really is and what it can bring primarily to myself. Kaya whenever there is opportunity para mas malaman ko pa ang tungkol dito, kinukuha ko na. Like the recent HARAPAN: RH Bill, ipasa o ibasura? ng ANC and ABS-CBN.

anthonygaupo.wordpress.com

The debate was very informative. Kahit papano may mga natutunan akong bago about this issue. But during the arguments, one of the speaker raised this question; mahirap ba ang Pilipinas kasi maraming tao? Bigla lang akong naguluhan kasi as far as I know, this RH Bill is to primarily help poor Filipinos for responsible parenthood hindi para sagutin ang kanilang kahirapan which during the debate e hindi naman pinabulaan ng pro-RH. In fact, a city representative who is pro-RH brought her calculator in the debate and on-air computed the expected annual spending of the government to one single classroom na umabot sa 8B pesos. Because of it, I assumed iniisip nga nilang maaaring sagot sa kahirapan itong pagpigil sa populasyon ng Pilipinas. Hindi pa kasama dian yung ilang mga basic na gastusin ng isang typical Filipino family. Naisip ko tuloy, hindi kayang maling pananaw ito?

Alam kong gumagastos ang gobyerno para matulungan ang mga mahihirap pero hindi naman ibig sabihin nun e kelangan na nilang sagutin ang halos lahat na gastusin ng isang pamilya. The government has a lot to consider in allocating its money kaya hindi valid na i-reason out na kaya may mga mahihirap ay dahil kulang yung budget na naaallocate sa sangkatutak na tao. Hindi lang naman kahirapan ang problema ng gobyerno at yung kahirapan na yun ay hindi lang dahil sa sobrang dami ng tao.

Maraming mahihirap kasi maraming nananamantala. Maraming mahirap kasi maraming kurakot. Maraming mahirap kasi maraming makasarili. Maraming mahirap kasi nagkakaisa ang mga mayayaman. Maraming mahirap kasi maraming nagpapayaman. Maraming mahirap kasi maraming tamad. Maraming mahirap kasi kulang ang trabaho. Maraming mahirap kasi maraming umaasa sa tulong ng iba. Maraming mahirap kasi maraming nawawalan ng pag-asa. At maraming mahirap kasi maraming taong mabababa ang tingin sa sarili nila. Pero maraming mahirap hindi dahil maraming tao. At naniniwala akong kaunti man ang tao sa Pilipinas, kung iilan lang ang nakikinabang sa pera ng bayan, 10 years from now, ganito pa rin ang sitwasyon ng Pilipinas.

I am pro-RH kasi naniniwala akong ang responsible parenthood ay responsibilidad ng bawat tao. But I am not agreeing to their premise that it WOULD be the solution to poverty, na kung mas kaunti ang tao mas uunlad ang bansa. Labor force is an asset. Kung marunong lang tayong gamitin ito ng maayos at naayon sa kagustuhan ng marami, one day people will realize that population has never been a problem. Ginagawa lang problema kasi walang magandang sistemang aayon dito.

I am hoping that one day, the issue of population and poverty will go on separate way. Wala sa dami ng tao ang problema, nasa tao mismo. Kaya kung nasa tao ang problema, nasa kanya rin ang sagot kasi siya mismo ang sagot sa problemang akala niya e matatapos dahil sa sinumang superhero na sasagip sa kanya.

Read more of Anthony’s blogs @ My Life is my Message

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