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Time for Courage: Help Pass the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill

This article was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on December 12th, 2011

Rep. Walden BelloEver since it was introduced in the House of Representatives’ Committee on Population at the beginning of the 15thLiving atop the niches. Makeshift dwellings like these in Manila's North Cemetery highlight the overcrowded conditions in the city Congress in August 2010, the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill has been the subject of spirited debate. This intensified after the bill passed the Committee on January 2011 and entered into plenary deliberation.

The only other legislative items to rival the RH bill in terms of the intensity of debate provoked were the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and the budget deliberations. At present, the RH Bill has been debated ad nauseam.

One wishes that one could characterize the debate as a laudable exercise in democracy. It has become, instead, an exercise on how to use parliamentary procedures to derail democracy. The same questions have been repeatedly raised by the anti-RH interpellators, and it has become increasingly clear that, not having the votes to prevent the passage of the bill in the House, they have resorted to the equivalent of a filibuster to delay the bill from coming to a vote on the floor.

Over 40 members had themselves listed to interpellate, but over the last eight months, only about 12 have taken the podium, some repeatedly and for hours on end, with the obvious intent of either preventing a vote or delaying it till we come closer to the 2013 elections, when the specter of electoral retribution by the Catholic Church hierarchy against RH supporters can be used to scare fainthearted supports from voting for the measure.

Speaker on the spot

Since RH is one of his priority bills, an impatient President Aquino called Speaker Sonny Belmonte late last year Bobbing for a livelyhood. Young Filipino children scower the debris-laden rivers and lakes for discarded items that can be sold for cashto ask him if the vote would take place before the congressional break for Christmas, as Belmonte promised earlier. The Speaker replied that that would not be possible, given the number of congressmen who were still lined up to interpellate. Though an RH supporter, the Speaker is has been extremely cautious in influencing the course of the debate. Not known for shepherding controversial initiatives, he could be worried, some say, about a backlash from the Catholic hierarchy that might claim him as a victim. Others say he is waiting for a “decisive majority” to emerge in favor of the bill.

Whatever the reason for his hesitation, it is clear that what the historical moment demands from Belmonte is that he leave political calculation behind and evince moral courage to bring the debate to an end and call for a vote on the measure. The RH Bill will be seen by future generations as the transcendental issue of his tenure as Speaker of the 15th Congress. Indeed, most other members of Congress realize that the issue goes beyond partisan political calculations, that their stand on the bill will greatly determine how they will go down in history–whether they will be recorded as having courageously pulled the country towards the future or voted to keep it shackled to an ecclesiastical monopoly of morality owing to pusillanimous electoral considerations.

Fundamentalism versus Reason

The debate in the House reminds this writer, a participant in the House debate, of the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial” in Tennessee in 1925, where a schoolteacher named John Palatial splendor amidst a sea of destitution. TOP, Palacio de Arzobispado (Vigan); CENTER,  The Archbishop’s Residence (Cebu City); BOTTOM, The Archbishop's Residence, CotabatoScopes was prosecuted for teaching the theory of evolution. The trial evolved into a battle between fundamentalism and reason, with the controversial three-time Democratic candidate for president William Jennings Bryan leading the prosecution and the famed defense lawyer Clarence Darrow heading up the defense. (The conflict was memorably captured in the film Inherit the Wind, with Frederic March playing Bryan and Spencer Tracy acting as Darrow.)

The surreal dynamics of that encounter between benightedness and enlightenment has been replayed in the House in the last few months, as shown by the passionate exchanges, on and off the House floor, provoked by the anti-RH interpellators’ oft-repeated questions and assertions:

Q. Didn’t God tell Adam and Eve to go forth and multiply?

A. Yes, but Adam and Eve were the only two persons in the world at the time. Now, we have seven billion people.

Q. Isn’t it the case that had Mama Dionisia practiced family planning, there would have been no Manny Pacquiao?

A. Had there been an RH Bill, there might have been more Manny Pacquiao’s since smaller family sizes among the poor would have resulted in less infant deaths and in more children being better fed and having access to better health care.

Q. Contraception is forbidden by God, and one way to show his displeasure at the House’s taking up the measure during the 14th Congress was his sending the destructive Typhoon Ondoy in September 2009.

A. It is forbidden by the Pope, not God. Other religions, such as Islam, and other Christian denominations, like the Iglesia ni Cristo, see contraception as ethically and morally acceptable. As for Ondoy being a sign of God’s wrath, we obviously have no way of discerning divine intent.

Q. Contraception is abortion.

A. Contraception prevents fertilization–the sperm from meeting the egg–so there is nothing or no one to abort.

Q. The RH Bill is part of a US plan—“the Kissinger Doctrine”—to dominate the developing countries by controlling their population growth.

A. This is a paranoidal conspiracy theory that would have us believe that the more than 100 sponsors of the RH Bill, including some of the most prominent anti-US political figures, are automatons controlled by Washington. The RH Bill stems out of a felt need arising from local circumstances to promote the reproductive health of women, one of the positive consequences of which is a lower rate of population growth that will contribute to a higher rate of economic growth necessary for economic development.

Q. Isn’t the RH Bill is being pushed by foreign pharmaceutical firms?

A. Again, this is a conspiracy theory that would cast the more than 100 sponsors of the RH Bill, some of whom are the strongest critics of transnational corporations, as lobbyists for “Big Pharma. “ But we would like you to name who among the more than 100 sponsors are agents of transnational drug companies.

Q. Contraceptives are abortifacients.

A. Contraceptives marketed in the Philippines are cleared by the Food and Drugs Administration, which has not found them to be abortifacients. Let us leave the determination of whether or not a contraceptive is abortifacient to the appropriate government agencies, which have the expert skills to do this, rather than have us amateurs in Congress make the decision.

Q. Doesn’t contraception inevitably lead to abortion?

A. The RH Bill explicitly opposes abortion. And by providing reproductive counseling to the young and making both counseling and contraceptives available to the poor, the RH Bill will lead to a decline in the rate of induced abortions, which now comes to 470,000 a year, since many of these stem from unwanted pregnancies.

Q. Population growth has no bearing on economic development.

A. A high population growth rate, by diverting resources to consumption, reduces the resources available for investment, which is necessary for rapid economic growth. The average annual growth rate over the last several years of 4 to 4.5 percent of GDP is simply too low to keep up with a population that is growing by 2.04 per cent. You need an economic growth rate of 6-8 per cent at the least, and you won’t get that if resources keep on being spent on an keeping up with the consumption needs of an rapidly expanding population.

Q. Family size has nothing to do with poverty. My parents had 10 children, and we were able to rise up from poverty.

A. You were fortunate. But most other Filipino families are not as fortunate as your family: the statistics are clear: the larger the family size, the smaller the family income and the poorer the family. This is not to say that population management is the only solution to poverty. It must be combined with other measures, such as measures that redistribute income and assets and good governance. But it is a central part of the solution. If you compare us to our neighboring ASEAN states, specifically Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia, and ask what made it possible for them to achieve high economic growth and remarkable reductions of poverty, the answer is clear: one of the key ingredients was a markably successful family planning program.

Q. Their big populations are the reason China and India are prospering.

A. One of the major reasons for China’s successful economic modernization is the one-child policy, which allowed economic growth to outstrip population growth. But, of course, we are not promoting coercive controls, like China’s, but the voluntary and educated choice adopted by our neighbors. As for India, the government is presently aggressively promoting family planning to ensure that that its economic gains are not derailed by uncontrolled population growth.

Q. Isn’t the RH Bill is an unjustified, coercive intrusion of the state into family life?

A. At the heart of the RH Bill is free choice. From a condition of no choice or limited choices, individuals are provided with the means to make decisions on how many children to have and how to space their children so as to protect the health of the mother and the health of the child, and enable the family to rise up from poverty. No one is forcing anyone not to have children or to limit the number of their children, but the government is saying, if decide to limit the number of children you have, then here are the means for you to do it.

Q. If one wants to engage in family planning, then there’s abstinence and natural methods of contraception.

A. Abstinence would work for angels, and unfortunately, most men and women are not angels but are, as the Bible says, “though higher than beasts, lower than angels.” As for reliable methods of natural family planning like the Billings Method, they are among the methods of contraception promoted by the RH Bill, but–under the principle of free choice–not to the exclusion of other methods.

Q. Condoms cause the spread of AIDS because they encourage promiscuity.

A. There is absolutely no scientific study that finds this to be the case. On the contrary, condoms have been found to be one of the most effective means to prevent HIV-AIDS. For instance, in Thailand, widespread condom use has reduced rate of new HIV infections, and it is also a central contributor to the recent decline in the rate of new infections globally.

Q. RH will saddle the Philippines with an aging population, as in the developed countries, with negative consequences for the economy.

A. No respectable economist has claimed that the current problems of the developed countries stem from the larger share of senior citizens in their populations. Technological advance makes labor more productive, meaning what it took 10 workers of working age in the past to achieve can now be achieved by three or four.

The increase in the proportion of people over 65 in the work force will only become significant by the end of the 21st century for the Philippines. The demographic challenge now is to bring down the current high fertility rate to replacement level. If we bring down the fertility rate to replacement level uonly in 2050, that will mean the Philippines will have 250 million people by the turn of the century, which will be far above the ecological carrying capacity of the country, which is already straining, having to support our current population of 94 million.

Q. The RH Bill is unconstitutional.

A. The Constitution mandates the state to protect life of the unborn from conception. There is nothing in it that prohibits contraception. The bill, in fact, promotes the constitutional provisions requiring the state to promote the welfare of women, the health of the people, and “the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”
Published 3/30/2012

Postscript: President Aquino signed the RH Bill (the "Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012) into law on December 21, 2012

Saved Comments

Name: Aiota Capli
City/State/Country: Loma Linda
IP Address: 165.235.174.75

Comments

The lawmakers and Catholics need not look at the Constitution or the Bible for guidance on the RH bill. Just look around the throngs of impoverished families with uncared for, hungry, malnourished, homeless children living atop niches, the riverbanks and growing up uneducated. The numbers grow each day. Those who oppose it have not helped these people at all judging from the palatial homes they live in. Do they really need these palaces and for what? Broken vows? I have not heard of any Church building homes for the homeless or feeding the poor or giving free education to poor children. As a matter of fact the most expensive schools are the schools run by priests, nuns etc. It is time to get real for the country can’t afford to help them live a life fit human beings.


Name: Phil Researcher
City/State/Country: LA County, Ca USA
IP Address: 98.119.17.19

Comments

RE: R H Bill. This will be my only comment on this topic.. This should have been approved at the end of the First year of Pnoy's Presidency.. .There is an over population soo many children.. The government does not have enough classrooms to educate them.. For that reason alone, it should have been already in the implementing mode by now ..There are many congressmen though who are afraid of the catholic church.. thus the delay.. Attention Congressmen: Please just approve the R.H. Bill.


Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Montreal, Canada
IP Address: 70.80.236.27

Comments

In the near future once we reach the milestone of a 100 million people, can the gov't take the strain? In an in-depth series exploring those questions thru this new PNL editorial the final answer will depend on the right decisions Filipinos must make today. With a stagnant economy & low economic growth rate, how many people can our gov't really support? People live longer & if we keep growing the big number will be the main problem. The eventual tally will depend on the right choices Filipino couples must choose now. To be forever careless in the most intimate of human acts is not the way. Unchecked population growth will lead to more poverty & eventually hunger & worst..famine. Filipinos should therefore double the effort not to let that happen.


Name: 222 Lange
City/State/Country: NY
IP Address: 166.137.139.239

Comments

The strong opposition of the Catholic Church with the support of some senators pandering to the lobbyist like the CBCP prevented the RH Bill from advancing. Religious beliefs overwhelm reason. RH bill is not advocating termination of pregnancy but child and maternal care. Lest I forget sex education.


Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Montreal, Canada
IP Address: 70.80.236.27

Comments

One country that the Phils must emulate is China (1.5 children per family policy). Today, China is already below replacement fertility, thanks in part to a coercive one-child policy. The baby-boomers of yesteryears swelled the labor force of today. To add some more people is not practical. Go anywhere in the Phils & you'll see crowded places, slums, & shantytowns. Filipinos packed like sardines. It's obvious that over-population is our biggest problem now. We have desperately poor people & poorest of the poor by the million. Why? It's high time that we give Filipina mothers access to effective family planning just like China that will make the biggest difference to our population today & in the future significantly.


Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Montreal, Canada
IP Address: 70.80.236.27

Comments

The RH-Bill is a smart policy for population control. To follow the prediction of the scriptures or the clergy is not the way. The general law of population is it grows faster than the food supply. Today we have 95 million mouths to feed & growing by the minute. This exceptional acceleration or unchecked explosion will lead our people going hungry & undernourished. So, if we want poor people to want & deserve to boost themselves out of poverty, then, now is the best time to start reducing our birth-rate. Either thru a voluntary method or choose the use of condoms or modern contaceptions. It's not God who will decide. It's the people.


Name: James
City/State/Country: Philippines
IP Address: 112.198.90.8

Comments

The most logical thing to do is to explain all provisions of this so called RH Bill, so we can discuss point by point. At present, anybody can buy condom and contraceptive in any Pharmacy; Check the RH Bill it can NOT force anybody to use Condom or Contraceptive! The bottom line is very clear Gov't will spend millions of money to buy condoms from Manufacturers, who will be the one benefiting from this RH Bill! If you want to solve the population problem then, pass a Bill limiting numbers of children to one or two only!


Name: ed villas
City/State/Country: manila
IP Address: 110.93.70.66

Comments

the editorial was the best ever presented, THE truth shall set them FREE


Name: LPif
City/State/Country: LosAngeles/Mla
IP Address: 121.1.11.38

Comments

Q. Isn’t it the case that had Mama Dionisia practiced family planning, there would have been no Manny Pacquiao? A. Had there been an RH Bill, there might have been more Manny Pacquiao’s since smaller family sizes among the poor would have resulted in less infant deaths and in more children being better fed and having access to better health care. To PNL: I hope you guys stop contributing in distorting the issue by such examples. You are influencing the public. Tsk tsk tsk...


Name: blumntrit
City/State/Country: Gdn city
IP Address: 68.197.155.123

Comments

[Help pass the health reproductive (RH) bill] My take on this is 50-50, apply it for six years then suspend the bill if it need be depending on the will of the people. It can also be voted thru referendum same time with the presidential election. You also have to balance and consider the regular loss of lives due to calamities and the foremost ability of the person to support his/her family. Another way is to volunteer/penalize wayward males by castrations and be exempted on this bill, so Edward can enjoy the rest of his remaining years - of course minus his fishballs.


Name: Bob
City/State/Country: Malo
IP Address: 99.227.232.135

Comments

It is only when I resided here abroad that I had a comparison of ways people live and how government offices are run. There is just a lot of sociological cultures Pinoy have until now. (kumpare system, utang na loob etc...) , it is so saddening to hear all those laws which are there to protect corrupt gov't officials like the dollar bank secrecy law. I would say in general it is only until people of this republic realize what is really happening will they have an opportunity to rise. Pagka gagawa ng anak ayaw pakialaman, pagka kailangan na ng gatas, pagkain, at pagaaral lalo na paghahanap ng trabaho idadamay at isisisi na sa pangulo!!!!!!! Kababayan ko, panahon na para gumising..


Name: Jorge Villanueva
City/State/Country: Canada
IP Address: 142.162.179.36

Comments

I want to congratulate those who are using this forum to express their opinions. It is a part of the voice of the people, a process protected in the constitution. A much involved public either following the senate proceedings or in public discussion similar to this forum bodes well for the country. Good luck Philippines.


Name: Manuel C. Diaz
City/State/Country: Antipolo City
IP Address: 120.28.64.74

Comments

As I said before Institutionalized religion is a big CON GAME. BTW why only the Bishops Palaces why not the INC castles, the Imam's Mosque Queboly's spread in Davao etc. etc.


Name: 1 UP
City/State/Country: GOTHAM CITY
IP Address: 74.101.66.222

Comments

The pro-life groups and the Catholic Bishops with their allies in the senate (Villar, Honasan, Trillianes, Enrile and Sotto and other members in the House) had endangered the RH Bill. The people's mind were poisoned and facts were twisted. Beyond that very few people know what were the provisions of the bill. The bill was never intended to encourage abortion but rather to allow women access to reproductive health services. By providing access to contraceptive products does not necessarily lead to sexual promiscuity but minimizing unprotected sex and teenage pregnancy. There is no correlation. By nature people "believe that having sex will bring them the affection, love, and purpose in life they now lack."


Name: 1 UP
City/State/Country: GOTHAM CITY
IP Address: 74.101.66.222

Comments

continue.. The beneficial effects in the reproductive health bill far outweigh the fear of moral degeneration or erosion. Condom use does not induce immorality. You could ask an HIV infected person. You could ask your priest where in the Bible is contraception seen as evil. RH bill was a choice between birth spacing, finding a solution to poverty, and better economic management as against status quo.


Name: Marie
City/State/Country: Batangas
IP Address: 194.24.138.51

Comments

Nagumpisa na naman ang mga walang tiwala sa Dios at mga gustong pangunahan ang Kanyang kagustuhan sa kanyang mga nilalang. Mga taga RH Bill Street na puno ng basura ang utak na gusto lamang sila ang makakita ng mundo. Mga sakim. Galit sa pagdami ng tao pero naghahangad naman ng pagkakagastusan ng gobyerno. Ang ituro nila sa mga tao yong tamang paraan na hindi maapektuhan ang health ng kahit na anong drugs ang tao para di magbuntis which is natural fp.


Name: 1 UP
City/State/Country: GOTHAM CITY
IP Address: 74.101.66.222

Comments

The Bible was silent on the modern concept of birth control. We were taught that God is the author of life; therefore He could allow conception or withhold conception. Withholding conception is no different from the modern concept of delaying childbearing years. Sarah did not bear a son from Abraham untill she was 90. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, did not have John when Elizabeth was younger. Samson's mother was infertile for a while but she was not taking a pill or with a patch. To have children or not is a woman's right and this relationship is between the woman and God.


Name: 1 UP
City/State/Country: GOTHAM CITY
IP Address: 74.101.66.222

Comments

If the Bible were the constitution of the Church, nowhere in the Bible could you see that contraception was illegal and abstinence was the only preferred way. The Bible was even silent on managing infertility neither did it judge that sex being performed outside of the missionary way was evil. The issue here is more of science and religion; faith and freedom. Tell me of any couple giving a priest the right to be in their bedrooms. Sad to say but the teachings of the Catholic Church had always been at odds with science. Ask Galileo.


Name: GFJBHEDF
City/State/Country: Hercules
IP Address: 67.188.19.40

Comments

12 Nations in 1967 signed the "Declaration of Population." Pres Marcos signed. Philippines in 1975 was already amongst the 13 most populous nations. Marcos pushed for systematic distribution of contraceptives. US thru USAID financed 80% of the cost ($3M annually). It stopped under Pres Cory, who left it up to people preference, (whatever attitude). Pres Ramos went for Population management, (whatever that means). Pres Estrada, (womanizer), no policy. Pres Arroyo was for "Natural Family Planning." P'Noy, From RH bill "GANG HO" to RH bill "Noynoyer."


Name: 1 UP
City/State/Country: GOTHAM CITY
IP Address: 74.101.66.222

Comments

The strong lobby put up by the pro-life group and the Catholic Church make the bill languish in Congress. The Church keeps insisting on abstinence only program and gives the thumbs down sign even on sex education. Women are not fighting aggresively for their constitutional rights and the Church is not emphasizing personal responsibility to teenagers either. Instead, they attack promiscuity, paint abortion as evil and deny women's access to better maternal, infant and early childhood health. The Bible , by the way, is silent on contraception, birth spacing, in-vitro fertilization and how many children a Christian couple must have. Guidance did not come from God but from mortal men!


Name: Marie
City/State/Country: Batangas
IP Address: 194.24.138.51

Comments

Baka naman akala ni Pacquiao ang gobyerno natin ay gaya ng dati na may lagayan. Tama si 1 UP when he quoted ". . . . magkano ba" Kung nagmamatigas si Pacquiao at ayaw niya ipakita documents na hinihingi ng BIR hindi na yan dapat iboto para gobernador dahil mayabang na. Lalo na kung manalo kayang-kaya lalong mandaya.


Name: tonyo
City/State/Country: pinas
IP Address: 111.68.59.73

Comments

LPiF, said “The book of GENESIS has proven that SOMETHING comes from NOTHING. Our UNIVERSE came from nothing, and its total energy is zero…” Wrong, adre. According to science or the BIG BANG theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly… occurred approximately 13.75 billion years ago, It was not EX NIHILO NIHIL FIT. It came from a state of singularity.


Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Montreal, Canada
IP Address: 70.80.236.27

Comments

In its steaming streets crammed with people, buses, jeepneys, taxis, motorcycles, pedestrians, vendors & wall-to-wall people in MM, this acceleration is astounding & the explosion, it seems, is not slowing. This extra-ordinary demographic formation results in the over-population with disastrous economic effects. Our fertility rate is about 4 to 6 children per family. Unless we reduce it to a manageable level, don't expect these extra people to live humanely. Family planning is the only answer or an effective policy for population control. Not the ineffective hit or miss method that doesn't help anybody. The point is that we must see to it that these children are well-nourished & educated enough to solve the many problems that they will face as adults or forever remain poor & helpless.


Name: HMS
City/State/Country: New York, NY
IP Address: 67.241.96.149

Comments

With all due respect to everyone's beliefs: What is it about religion that compels us? Do we really need religion to pray/talk to our God? Exactly what do Priests or Ministers do for us, not just here on earth but anywhere? What higher power gave them the authority to lay down rules about our lives/thoughts/actions that they can judge us? If I just want to pray to my God why should I need an intermediary? Why can't I talk to God directly, anywhere, not necessarily in Church? What proof do they have that what they told humanity was true? And if true why do they change them according to the times? Where do they base their rituals? TRUTH should first be established before a human being is subjected to a lifetime of suffocating rules that burdens, instead of help him.


Name: HMS
City/State/Country: New York NY
IP Address: 67.241.96.149

Comments

With Due Respect to your beliefs: Religion is not just conflicted with Science. It runs contrary to reality. It demands blind faith despite incontrovertible worldly truths. As human beings we necessarily have physical needs. Why can't we use medical devices to limit the negative effects of our actions. When you see the abject poverty of the teeming mass, the compromises they make, the things they sell or barter would it be a "sin" to introduce remedies? What is a "sin" anyway. Doesn't the "morality" of human actions depend on the circumstances surrounding each of them? Faith vs. Reality is what all this is about. It's easy to have faith if you are a government crook living in a mansion. But living in the slums? Who cares what the Church says.


Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Montreal, Canada
IP Address: 70.80.236.27

Comments

There's one alternative that emphasizes another form of birth control. Vasectomy costs far less & easier on a man than say say tubal ligation is on a woman. The operation can be done in less than 10 minutes. It doesn't require hospital stay & not that expensive. In & out. As an incentive the gov't may pay a fee or other forms of benefits in a willful participation of the male population in the Phils. Likewise, teach teenage girls (some not going to school) not to marry well before reaching the legal age of 18 to prevent common unwanted pregnancies in majority of cases. The emphasis must be that they have options & choices. These anti-RH Bill alarmists must understand this. Their apocalyptic warnings will not solve ever the over-population in the Phils. Lord have mercy.


Name: antonio jr.
City/State/Country: manila
IP Address: 112.205.85.94

Comments

Since our country is predominantly Christian, it is asking that Christians disobey their God and obey what seems to be more convenient for Politicians and others who are the minority. It is dividing the country to do what Christians cannot agree to follow. Think about it my fellowmen!


Name: HMS
City/State/Country: New York NY
IP Address: 67.241.96.149

Comments

"Faith is the conscious denial of the evident truth". "A man must have food, clothing and shelter before he can turn his attention to arts, politics and religion". "Religion is an opiate that has no bearing with reality". "For I am FREE. Born and raised in a land that is FREE. And I love this land. I love it's people. And I love the GOD who made them." My apologies. I can no longer recall who said them. But they come to mind in the face of religious terrorism.


Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Montreal, Canada
IP Address: 70.80.236.27

Comments

It's very common in the Phils the yearly influx of thousands of people to major cities fleeing worse poverty & hardship in the countryside & far-flung places in the Phils. Squatters & desperately poor people fill up slums which do not have water, electricity, sewage, or proper habitation. In turn, the result is massive poverty for the lack of adequate infrastructure for them. They over-populate our cities cuz women has no access to family planning services. This over-crowding is an enormous environmental problem most esp in MM. The central challenge now for the future is how to raise Filipinos out of this poverty. The cold fact is these slum dwellers must have fewer children for their own sake. It will make a big difference if they start now.


Name: GFJBHEDF
City/State/Country: Hercules
IP Address: 67.188.19.40

Comments

The subject is RH bill passage, and we are addressing otherwise but.. Result? carambola PNL posting of mix match, past postings, to let us know that PNL can do likewise. Well, I am for pro choice, and I am not in favor of Gov't picking up the tab for contraceptives because that money can buy food for lots of hungry street urchins.


Name: 1 UP
City/State/Country: GOTHAM CITY
IP Address: 74.101.66.222

Comments

The Catholic Church condemned condom use as immoral. It is not immoral when condom users protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Promiscuity is not inspired by availability of condoms or other contraceptive barriers. It is being peddled by those who oppose RH Bill who have fewer children. Promiscuity is a natural instinct. It is seen among animals and man is a rational animal. Having more children than one could possibly afford hurts everyone. We all have to pay more to keep these children educated, healthy, and make them productive elements of society. The shortsighted view of the CBCP and other religious groups make them detached from reality. Even the poor want a smaller family size. Unfortunately the poor has no voice in the national conversation.


Name: AHKO
City/State/Country: Brunei
IP Address: 121.54.13.37

Comments

Many of the laws of the Roman Catholic Church are not from the Bible and are not Christian and are of Pagan origin. Look at the number of homosexuals and pedophiles priest in Roman Catholic religion, it is not Christian but pagan in nature.


Name: 1 UP
City/State/Country: GOTHAM CITY
IP Address: 74.101.66.222

Comments

MCD: Religion is not a con game. It is an institution that is tax exempt and it is a business enterprise. Religious institutions like the Catholic Church (through CBCP), INC, etc. try to dictate national policy and cries "religious persecution" if the government becomes critical of their activities. These institutions have their own Godfather, capos and legions of blind followers. Others say that religious institutions have their own "goon squads."


Name: funny88
City/State/Country: laland
IP Address: 110.55.150.183

Comments

Funny God said go and spread forth. Not to have more babies. but spread the religion. lol.


Name: mockingmaya
City/State/Country: taft avenue, manila
IP Address: 67.182.75.243

Comments

The Filipino people & their legislatures must ask themselves if children & women are better off in advanced democracies & developed Asian countries than in Philippines? Most pro-life supporters ("a view that life begins at conception & ends at birth") based on their rigid, if not distorted view: "We are a Judeo-Christian nation." The Filipino people should revisit the abortion legal stories of Spain, Catholic Italy, & other European countries & learn from their pragmatic views of abortion laws. "Are your laws written by gods, Bishops, Cardinals, priests, & pastors"? "Or are they written by human beings"? You don't need to be an Ateneo University scholar kuno to comprehend modern legal approaches taken to abortion in other developed democracies.


Name: GFJBHEDF
City/State/Country: Hercules
IP Address: 67.188.19.40

Comments

Life, defined by both clergy and secular at large, begins at conception. Sperm, is not conception. Egg, the by product of a woman's orgasm, is not conception. Sperm enters the egg is conception. RH bill prevents sperm from entering the egg, and the egg from swallowing the sperm, if released to maintain male and female personal health and well being. If you don't urinate, you will bust your pouch. If you don't poo poo, you'll die of blood poisoning. If you don't release.., what will happen?


Name: mockingmaya
City/State/Country: taft avenue, manila
IP Address: 67.182.75.243

Comments

The Filipino children will continue to turn the earth upside down just to survive because their leaders don't have the courage to take their oaths seriously. There are many questions that really bother the less-fortunate Filipino public school children. Why Senators & Congressmen have the courage to defend the ill-gotten wealth of corrupt politicians & jurists, but reluctant to support the modernization of public schools? If you can't afford to provide the poor Filipino students books to read that will raise questions about what constitutes democratic values, social justice, economic justice, judicial impartiality, & so forth, you can't expect human flourishing---"the little candle might stay lit against the barbaric darkness." You're doomed.


Name: Garth McSween
City/State/Country: Vancouver, Canada
IP Address: 96.55.183.64

Comments

Based on experience here, in the USA, Europe, and elsewhere, contraception is being forced upon us by dark forces (and companies who stand to reap riches). The idea is "freedom for women", but such in fact will make us slaves to our desires and passions. and it is simply the tip of the iceberg. in the 1920s, planned parenthood endorsed contraceptives but it was simply eugenics. the idea being that the poor wouldn't have children. what has happened is that people who could provide for children simply aren't having many or any, while the poor continue to do so. in the 1960s, the push was for women's liberation. changes to abortion laws followed rather quickly. it is clearly Satan's work, in my opinion, however appealing it is to many people.


Name: tonyo
City/State/Country: pinas
IP Address: 111.68.59.71

Comments

1 UP said “If the Bible were the constitution of the Church, nowhere in the Bible could you see that contraception was illegal and abstinence was the only preferred way…” How about withdrawal? Looks like there’s a story about a man who was admonished for throwing his seeds of life. Sister Marie, is this right?


Name: Talokbong
City/State/Country: Jolo
IP Address: 98.198.93.227

Comments

World Demographic Statistics in 2010 shows that PH ranked 12th in total population by countries and 4th in terms of density Person/Sq. Mile. In another 20 years by density PH will be 2nd to Bangladesh which has in 2010 a density of 2,525 persons per sq. mile. Imagine people will be like sardines in urban areas such as that you will see more people than trees.......in sight.....should the government not pass the RH Bill now....Does the religion save those suffering souls? Filipinos will be among the poorest people in the world!!!!


 

Name: Mhalibog C. Ako
City/State/Country: Canada
IP Address: 68.72.1.3

Comments

Most EDUCATED people or say people who are able to eat decent meals everyday are, I bet you, practicing or using contraceptive methods as a way of preventing unwanted or unprepared pregnancies not mentioning deceases. So why can't we inform less fortunate kababayan a better options to choose from by passing this RH Bill. Hate to mention but few if not many priests have committed grave mistakes in life which shows that we are all along by means not an angel that we can't abide abstinence when the call of nature strikes our body system. Let's face it, its about time to step up and be united as one in controlling rapid population growth. Here in Canada, abortion is even legal to do but we don't want to go further than that.


Name: Mikaela
City/State/Country: San Francisco, CA
IP Address: 204.68.210.39

Comments

Hi LPif - after we had a little exchanged of views re this bill in this forum last week, glad that PNL is reviving the RH Bill topic once again . As you said, indeed, passing this bill is in the back burner. Looks like our advocates and/or our lawmakers are getting a "cold feet - why so reluctant? Where are they? Lagman, Magsaysay, et al. Iyan ang hirap sa ating mga lawmakers eh, puro "NINGAS KUGON" lang. URONG-SULONG! Ano ba iyan? Dapat IPASA na ang bill na iyan. Para makapag-isip ng todo todo ang isang babae bago magbuntis at isagawa ang dapat ay tama. For the __th time, (again) a newborn baby was found in the trash can, this time nakalagay sa supot at buhay pa. Mga kaawa-awang nilalang, walang kamalay-malay.


Name: Phil Researcher
City/State/Country: LA county, CA USA
IP Address: 98.119.17.19

Comments

Re: The Roman Catholics & contraception.. Yes the pope and the medieval Cardinals are against contraception but the statistic here in USA is that 90% of Catholics use contraception as a family planning tool..In other words educated people don't really believe the teachings of a religion which is obsolete and medieval.. Look at Europe they have negative population growth.


Name: Judas
City/State/Country: Golgota
IP Address: 64.40.183.70

Comments

"What is it about religion that compels us? Do we really need religion to pray/talk to our God" asked one poster. The thing is many in this forum are so confuse making "faith in God " and "faith in church" as one and the same. Take Marie-- she is so addled that there are so many posting of hers that are conflicting-- another term for that is hypocrisy!


Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Montreal, Canada
IP Address: 70.81.198.36

Comments

Today the number of Filipinos does matter of course, but how Filipinos today manage to consume resources matter a lot more. Why do we import rice from other countries? The govt's Priority Poverty Reduction of P9.02 billion? We have grown to be a consumer-society & the middle-class driving gasoline-powered cars & diesel-driven buses, trucks, jeepneys, ships, boats, etc. So if the Phils can't produce more food & more energy, our problem of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, poor health, & improper sanitation will forever be experienced by poor Filipinos. Our gov't must find ways to cope & improve its lot. Filipina womanhood must not remain barefoot & pregnant all the time.


Name: Marie
City/State/Country: Batangas
IP Address: 194.24.158.4

Comments

Health and morality are the the primary concern of anti RH. And, the Laws of man/gov't . MUST favor to the laws of God. Even it hurts let's do it because Jesus also sacrificed and even had the worst kind of death ever for the sake of all.


Name: tonyo
City/State/Country: pinas
IP Address: 111.68.59.100

Comments

I agree 100% with JRH that “Family planning is the only answer or an effective policy for population control.” Singapore, Japan and China already proved that this is effective tool for economic survival and prosperity. With China’s one child policy per couple, China emerged as a world power. It’s now the biggest trade competitor and creditor of the USA. In the early 1980s, its people were starving. Pinas must do a China example, if it wants to survive. Don’t listen to the zealots and fanatics , like the Catholic Church and the likes of sister Marie who advocate population explosion but don’t contribute to the economy.


Name: 1 UP
City/State/Country: GOTHAM CITY
IP Address: 74.101.66.222

Comments

I don't think the advantages of reproductive health have been told correctly to the dispossessed part of the population who are experiencing higher birth rate. Contraception was sold as something evil that God forbids. God would be very upset that parents are unable to feed, educate, and guide their children and allow families become victims of poverty. Access to contraceptive agents/devices and maternal and children care are good for the country and its economy. Who wants to see mothers look older than their age through worries about their children, malnourished children scavenging for food and living in a sub-human habitat?


Name: Mikaela
City/State/Country: San Francisco, CA
IP Address: 204.68.210.39

Comments

P'NOY please stop "NOYNOYING" - Act now and pass this bill ASAP! Consider this issue as one of your high/critical priorities. This is not a JOKE/this is a serious matter. Kawawang mga babies na parang mga "KUTING" na pagkatapos ILUWAL ay saka doon itatapon ng mga MGA WALANG KWENTANG INA /MAGULANG. "NAKAKATULOG" pa ba kayo? Also, in the news, every single day puro patayan. I wonder if P'Noy is watching the news. Parang "CLUELESS" eh. For heaven's sake, pls. practice "MULTI-TASKING" like GMA! Learn from her.


Name: GFJBHEDF
City/State/Country: Hercules
IP Address: 67.188.19.40

Comments

I am all for passage of the RH bill, as long the government is not using people's taxes for condoms and/or women's pregnancy preventative devices. That's just a gimmick for legalized corruption, and we know it.., duh. Else, forget the RH bill, and do what priests and clergies do.., hire a male prostitute.


Name: 7gtg
City/State/Country: regnsk
IP Address: 24.72.32.254

Comments

I think RH bill is another 'do-nothing' bill (pahiram m.diaz) by 'do-nothing' politicians. like our president. It works like this: Pass the RH bill, and do nothing. Wait for the result. years from now the population will 'stabilize' and the economy will improve.. there's no need to do anything. Just stop the child birth. This is dumb. There are already people who had been born. They need jobs, skills training, etc.. And you focus on them not making babies? I think this RH bill is nothing but a food for those who hate the Catholic church. It's a reason to express their anger to their church.


Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Montreal, Canada
IP Address: 70.81.198.36

Comments

Take a closer look at the PNL picture of poor people living atop the niches in the cemetery. It tells a lot about the acute overcrowding in the Phils. What a paradox that we have high-rise apartment & condo dwellers surrounded by a multitude of squatter communities that ring around them. A recent survey revealed that one in seven lives in slums today. How can the gov't provide them better housing, proper education, & adequate infrastructure if they number in the millions? They come from small towns & villages & now over-crowded in sprawling shantytown & on top of niches. Houses made out of wood, cardboard, & scrap that ignites easily. Anybody can see all this from tourists to balikbayans to the common tao. Pass the RH-Bill.


Name: 1 UP
City/State/Country: GOTHAM CITY
IP Address: 74.101.66.222

Comments

People who are opponents of the RH Bill and Family Planning are out of touch. Countries with the highest population growth are poor, sickly and corrupt. Over population per se weakens very basic political institutions these countries have. Social and political unrests are always predictable and inevitable. Remember history: French Revolution was inspired by poverty and lack of political freedom. We all see the face of over population in Somalia and other African countries. Should PH wait for that moment?


Name: Jorge Villanueva
City/State/Country: Canada
IP Address: 142.163.138.178

Comments

There is the desire to talk about population explosion in the Philippines and the conflicting issues about it. Others prefer to discuss Manny Pacquiao's tax predicament with the government. Meanwhile, the Phil. Supreme Court issue takes a back seat due to Lenten recess. It boils down to are we going to look at the problem tree by tree or the blight affecting the entire forest? Think about it.


Name: Phil Researcher
City/State/Country: LA county, Ca USA
IP Address: 98.119.17.19

Comments

Re: 3rd World Country... I remember just about less than 5 years ago GMA bragged that her policies will bring the Philippines to become a 1st world country.. With the runaway population thousands upon thousands of Filipinos are just thinking of schemes to be able to leave the PH and settle elsewhere. The way it is now Filipinos are all over Europe the problem is most of them are overstaying tourists. Thus deportation is not only coming from the U.S. but also in Europe .. Our leaders are not shortsighted but most of them don't think of the welfare of our countrymen once they are in power.


Name: myrna
City/State/Country: canada
IP Address: 64.228.213.155

Comments

I disagree with the RH bill.. Its too late. discipline is the most important before you pass the bill. No bill, still children at early age cannot control themselves...sorry but I do disagree with RH Bill. Let you discipline, Filipinos, and there is no need of RH Bill.


Name: tonyO
City/State/Country: pinas
IP Address: 111.68.59.100

Comments

The RH Bill is only about free distribution of contraceptives and services. No law prohibits the sale and distribution of contraceptives. So, the problem is copulation at no cost. These people got no money for contraceptives and services. These are the unproductive and parasites of government who can’t afford contraceptives. If they can’t be controlled from reproduction, enact a law similar to China’s one child policy, or else castrate these irresponsible males.


Name: 222Lange
City/State/Country: NY
IP Address: 64.134.103.68

Comments

It is obvious that those who are opposed to it is selling the fear of divine punishment. People are being fooled. No word of contraception being evil is found in the Bible. The Bible is even silent on abstinence. When God says " Go ye and multiply" he meant it literally for the world was sparsely populated. God never said abstain or desist from having sex. But there is contradiction in the teachings of the faith when God sent the Great Deluge to stop the population growth.


Name: antonio jr.
City/State/Country: Manila
IP Address: 112.205.85.94

Comments

Yes", it is certainly a time for courage, the courage to face those who prefer to disobey God and propose Birth control. Aquino faces a dilemma on this since he is Catholic, let God be the Judge!


Name: 7gtg
City/State/Country: regnsk
IP Address: 24.72.32.254

Comments

I don't believe that the RH bill will be effective. I have no problem if it gets passed. The problem is on the focus of this government. A skilled head of the family who sets out to work overseas will have the most effective birth control in place (unless the sperm have access to Star Trek voyager's transporter). A Well educated young couple will have tasted the joy of material things acquisition and travel.. of which children can be a hindrance. So they will plan. The government need to focus on those who are already born .. much more than their preoccupation with preventing babies from being born. I don't believe the catholic church has influence in the bedroom. My kumander is a devout catholic but we are practitioner of artificial birth control methods, and artistry.


Name: GFJBHEDF
City/State/Country: Hercules
IP Address: 67.188.19.40

Comments

There is nothing you or I can do to hasten the RH Bill. We can't push RH Bill "noynoyer" P'Noy to give his majority congress minions the "Go" signal. P'Noy is completely bogged down in his vindictive hatred for GMA, CJCcorona & Supreme Court for giving hacienda Luisita to its rightful owners.., the long suffering farmers of HLI. Besides, with the 2013 election looming, P'Noy won't dare offend the Roman Catholic hierarchy that holds clout over 80+ millions parishioners. He would indeed be a very sick man, if after the 2013 election.., he wakes up, and he is missing fingers and toes.


Name: James
City/State/Country: Philippines
IP Address: 112.198.77.185

Comments

Kahit hindi pa rin naipapasa itong RH Bill, matagal ng mabibili sa Pharmacy ang CONDOM na yan, pero mayroon pa ring mga STD na nakakalusot at nabubuntis by accident/unwanted pregnancies; ang totoong issue ay matinding kalibogan! kaya't VASECTOMY na yan! No need to insult other person's Religion, cos we have Freedom of Religion! Go straight to the point - VASECTOMY!


Name: Marie
City/State/Country: Batangas
IP Address: 194.24.158.4

Comments

Kahit pa maaproban ang RH Bill kung talagang walang puso ang isang ina hindi gagamit yan ng contraceptives kasi gusto lamang ay magpakaligaya sa mga lalaki then magtapon ng anak. Kung ayaw naman talaga magbuntis pwede namang bumili ng pangkontra. Bakit may magagawa pa ba ang simbahan sa gaya nya na matigas ang ulo at nagtraidor sa Dios? Talagang sila'y mga walang kwentang tao gusto lamang ay makipagsex. Sila ay gaya ng aso. Ang dapat mangyari sa bansa ay mahusay na edukasyon, pagkilala sa Dios at paglago ng ekonomiya. RH Bill ibasura yan! Dagdag gastos ng gobyerno at pagdami lalo ng mga immoral.


Name: 1 UP
City/State/Country: GOTHAM CITY
IP Address: 74.101.66.222

Comments

Phil Researcher wrote " Look at Europe they have negative population growth." That is the prize they got - economic prosperity and political stability. Unfortunately, Phil politicians are blind, deaf, and mute. They can't even communicate coherently.


Name: victor amor
City/State/Country: california usa
IP Address: 99.74.173.171

Comments

population control in RP is the most needed action to the lives of many Filipinos and especially to the women of the country


Name: Marie
City/State/Country: Batangas
IP Address: 194.24.138.51

Comments

All the pro RH with age 55 are not sure if they'll reach 80 therefore if they die less burdens. They insist - no babies because Phl is overpopulated. Maybe they prefer to see Koreans, Vietnamese and Chinese nationals rather than Filipinos. And after 35-40 years less Filipinos all "swingkit" will be dominant and rich. And Filipinos will become slaves as household helpers.


Name: JRH
City/State/Country: Montreal, Canada
IP Address: 70.81.198.36

Comments

What a contrasting portrayal of the poor living atop niches (cemetary condos) & the luxurious palaces of our archbishops. Aside from the vow of celibacy, a vow of poverty must also be followed by the clergies. Sad to say that it's not happening in the Phils. So unless the Phils will experience war, slaughter, plague, famine, or incurable sickness..the over-population will still increase alarmingly. Today, life expectancy went up in the past 50 years due to good medicine, chemical fertilizers helping food production, & clean water (filtered & chlorinated), yet in spite of all these, if we keep increasing the population & we have more mouths to feed, then, food, medicine, & good health will be a major problem in the future. Let's start asking these bejeweled archbishops why & could they help.


Name: Marie
City/State/Country: Batangas
IP Address: 194.24.158.4

Comments

If you complain too much about overpopulation in Phl., are you happy when people die from calamities and etc?. Are you not aware that complaining insults God and you don't trust Him? Lady, God can feed millions if everybody will cooperate with Him.


Name: EASTERN RIZAL KID
City/State/Country: EASTERN RIZAL, PHILS
IP Address: 121.54.46.9

Comments

Frm "idol" Tonyo: "GFJBHEDF said RH bill prevents sperm from entering the egg…If you don't poo poo, you'll die of blood poisoning. If you don't release.., what will happen?” Adre, men will get prostatic cancer if they don’t. Release it! Don’t mind what Marie says. Do it like the biblical 'Onan' if you want to survive. It’s designed by God to be released. But release it responsibly." RIGHT! And if u got no GF or wifey and are afraid of whores/STD, there's good ole Mariang Palad to help! GO! TIGIDIG! TIGIDIG! Hahahaha!


Name: 222 Lange
City/State/Country: NY
IP Address: 64.134.103.68

Comments

MC Ikaw : It is the shared name you had with other locals that is driving population growth. It is the rich people that deny the poor and the uneducated access to reproductive health for selfish economic reasons. Over population limits opportunities and hastens depletion of the country's resources but the the elective officials are oblivious to these. I hope the Lenten season will encourage these politicians time to reflect and do what is right for the country.


Name: anthone
City/State/Country: austin,tx
IP Address: 99.190.130.41

Comments

I would like to ask my fellowmen to forget all the present issues like the impeachment, RH, etc.. With everybody help, lets find ways to instantly make several battalions of farmers. Let our prez do his thing to provide about two hectares each for every landless family. Make them work on the land till they're dead tired..no more power to make babies. Population explosion? Solved.


Name: 7gtg
City/State/Country: regnsk
IP Address: 24.72.32.254

Comments

Marie: "Anti RH trusts God"... I don't believe in the RH bill. Therefore I say your generalization is wrong.


Name: 7gtg
City/State/Country: regnsk
IP Address: 24.72.32.254

Comments

I'm not catholic.. but I don't believe in RH bill helping our economy. There are already millions of young married couples. Are you telling me you want to stop them from making their first babies? . I think the RH bill is a distraction. Government should focus more on the economy. If condoms need to be distributed for free, then give tax incentives to condom suppliers. But re-focus government attention to job creation attract foreign investment and skills training. Train young people for exportable skills so they may get job overseas. Separation of male and female through overseas work is a more effective means of birth control. RH bill is a do-nothing bill. dump it.


Name: 7gtg
City/State/Country: regnsk
IP Address: 24.72.32.254

Comments

Tony0: "GFJBHEDF said RH bill prevents sperm from entering the egg…If you don't poo poo, you'll die of blood poisoning. If you don't release.., what will happen?” I suggest posters should refrain from going into the details of 'the birds and the bees' as it may show one's ignorance on the subject, resulting in personal embarrassment. Don't even start debating on it. so you 1UP, stop while your ahead before mockingmaya jumps in and turn this forum into an ascii port site.


Name: Jorge Villanueva
City/State/Country: Canada
IP Address: 142.163.138.178

Comments

The Filipinos are strong and capable people. I don't see any reason why we can't rise above our misery and solve the graft and corruption problem besieging the country. Japan was bombed back into the primitive stage with two devastating atomic bombs and the people had to scrounge for a bit of food, literally, on the street. Now the nation is rich. Think of South Korea and Vietnam. If they can do it why can't we?


Name: Jorge Villanueva
City/State/Country: Canaada
IP Address: 142.162.178.134

Comments

Readers might think that I'm into Philippine bashing but I really love my country of birth. It is my concerned about her situation now and the future that made me isolate the main cause of all her other problems. Set a good example of reducing graft and corruption by going after the big guns and the smaller ones will start changing their acts. It's not the other way around. If graft and corruption, influence peddling and bribery are reduced the country will experience a healthy economic environment encouraging foreign investment. With new investments jobs will open up and the standard of living will improve. People don't need to move away in droves and family imbalance and brain draining will cease.


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