Starting September 8, 2012, anonymous comments -- whether for or against the RH bill -- will no longer be permitted on this blog.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another academic against the RH Bill

Amparo Pamela Fabe is a UP and UA&P -educated economist and sociologist who has worked on USAID, ADB and World Bank projects. Author of four books and Senior Fellow of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, Inc., she is currently the Assistant Principal of the High School Department of the Philippine College of Criminology. 

A summary of the views she expresses below can be found HERE.

And here is a slideshow (from 2008) made by Ms. Fabe versus the then-current versions of the RH Bill:

"The Word Exposed - Questions of Faith" TV show tackles the RH Bill once more

(UPDATE October 13, 2011: All of Msgr. Tagle's videos on "The Word Exposed" versus the RH Bill can now be found in chronological order at this page: The Word Exposed - RH Bill Series.)

For the first three parts of this series, see this post: Bishop Tagle and Fr. Alfonso on the RH Bill

Part 4:

Part 5:

Interview with Atty. Marwil Llasos tomorrow

The Reproductive Health bill and Statism

The UST Varsitarian's latest editorial:

A DIFFERENT show of people-power was staged last March 25 at the Quirino Grandstand when the clergy and religious, pro-life groups, and the Church as a whole gathered to call for the abolition of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

During the Mass, attended by some 200,000 to 300,000 people, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales called for respect for life and the junking of the RH bill. Cardinal Rosales said that despite the bill’s avowals of “responsible parenthood” and “sexual responsibility,” its bias for contraception and “safe sex” is very evident, so that it is hardly expected to foster authentic responsibility and discipline, two virtues, he said, that the people and the nation need. He added that people’s indifference to life, if not their utter disrespect of it, could lead to moral decay.

The Cardinal said life should be defended from conception: “Kapag hindi pinahalagahan ang buhay na iyan sa alinman o saan mang yugto ng buhay ng tao, (sanggol, fetus, matanda, malakas, o mahina) hinding-hindi igagalang ang buhay ng sinuman—at diyan kapag wala ng halaga o walang pagpapahalaga, wala ng magtatanggol sa buhay."

The Cardinal’s remarks are a re-expression of what the Varsitarian has said in its last editorial (“RH Bill: Deadly, Anti-Constitution”). Despite its claim to being a lawful measure by its invocation of supposed constitutional principles and state policies, the RH bill is mum on the most important constitutional principle and state policy that should apply on any measure that seeks to regulate births, curb population growth, and introduce sex education—that the “State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.” (Section 12, Article 2) If one pits all of the questionable provisions of the bill against this proviso, one will recognize how the bill is in fact an attack on the 1987 Constitution that had been overwhelmingly ratified by nearly 80 percent of the population! One will agree with the Varsitarian that it is “deadly,” “anti-life,” “anti-family,” and “anti-constitution.” One will recognize that the RH bill is an attack on human dignity and the Filipino nation!

Oh, but contraception is not abortion, the RH bill proponents maintain. But only the truly dense cannot see through their smokescreen, their lie. In the first place, the bill makes a blanket approbation of all contraceptives, which it wants to be declared as “essential” medicines. Some of these contraceptives are technically abortifacients, even physicians admit that. Moreover, the bill compels medical workers to provide services to women suffering post-abortion complications, which is a condonation of abortion and violates the penal statutes on the crime. Much as mercy and compassion should be extended to women suffering from complications arising out of abortion, wouldn’t a law that forces medical practitioners to extend services to them, regardless of established ethical medical protocols, encourage other women to commit abortion, which is a criminal act? In short, doesn’t the RH bill in fact abet criminality?

Meanwhile, UST, maintaining its Catholic nature and character, released a statement last March 24 opposing the RH bill, saying it violates conscience and tramples upon religious freedom.” It said that any government-sponsored responsible parenthood program should be motivated by an “option for life and not against it. Backing the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ stand, UST said natural family planning was the better option as it is “not only pro-life but also pro-poor and pro-women, since it does not endanger people’s health.”

UST is specifically opposing provisions in the consolidated RH bill or House Bill No. 4244, such as Section 9 which names contraceptives as essential medicines, Section 18 demanding all employers to include contraceptives in their employee’s economic package, and Section 22 that prohibits any person from “malicious engagement in disinformation about the intent or provision of this act.”

“This would mean that the purchase of contraceptives shall be the burden of all tax-paying Filipinos, even those who, in conscience, are pro-life,” UST said in its statement. “This is a violation of the freedom of religion, of freedom of conscience, and of freedom of expression.”

As much as how the mainstream media generally biased for the RH bill portray the rally and UST’s stand, both events evinced a growing awareness in the Church and society at large of the demonic ends of the bill, its utter disregard of life. Despite secularism and the pro-choice mentality of many Filipinos, it’s good to know that there are still Catholics and other Filipinos who belive in the sanctity of life and the right to life of both the born and the unborn.

Moreover, Filipinos are beginning to see the dark social-engineering dimensions of the bill. Contrary to what the authors of the bill have been trumpeting, the RH bill is not pro-poor. If it is, then there will be no need for the more than a billion of pesos that is planned to be spent during its initial phase. Filipinos are beginning to realize that the money for it would be better used to address directly the education, food and health needs of the poor. After all, the poor need food, clothing and shelter, not condoms and contaceptives. Filipinos are beginning to see that the RH bill authors and supporters are really Stalinist legislators who see the poor as sex-starved rabbits and blame the poor for their poverty.

In fact, family planning and population control were enshrined in the Marcos Constitution of 1973. Despite the widespread implementation of the draconian birth control law, poverty persisted, denying any correlation between population and poverty. On the contrary, the Philippine economy collapsed, which should show that poverty is caused, not by overpopulation (no such thing), but by corruption, mismanagement, and monopolistic and oligopolistic practices.

Now, Congress, backed by academics from the University of the Philippines (self-proclaimed leftist and nationalist) and Ateneo de Manila University (self-proclaimed democratic liberal and nationalist), both elitist and burgeoise institutions, want population control back! Their concourse should show that Statism exists, whether in the left or the right, and that Stalinists and fascists aren’t so strange bedfellows. In fact, for all practical purposes they’re cozy intimates. And from their act of consummation would issue the monstrous offspring—the RH bill, nothing less than the spawn of Statism.

Filipinos for Life responds to Cayetano, Cabral and Salonga on Contraception and Breast Cancer

Here it is:

Philippine Population and Poverty

by timothy2011 of Filipinos for Life

Several persons on Facebook have been citing the Philippines’ real GDP growth rate as only 1.1% in building their argument for passing an RH bill. The argument is this: with an economic growth rate of GDP = 1.1% being lower that the population growth rate (PGR) of 1.95% (which was the PGR for the period 2005-2010; we are now in the period 2010-2015 wherein the PGR is 1.82%), how can the economy provide for the new Filipinos born every year? These figures have then been used to speculate about 40 years into the future, creating quite a doomsday scenario. This argument has two fundamentally flawed assumptions which completely disregard the facts.

(Read the rest of the essay HERE)

Even the kids know that it is wrong

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea" Mark 9:42, Revised Standard Version.


I rarely print news reports here (as opposed to opinion or analytical pieces), but I'm making an exception for this article from CBCP News:

Children irked by sex ed in school

MANILA, April 29, 2011―A group of elementary students has reacted negatively to a lesson on sex education given them by volunteer teachers, highlighting the risks and unsuitability of the inclusion of the proposed program in the curriculum.

As part of a lesson on human sexuality, 10-year-old students from a public school were shown graphic images of what may happen as a result of engaging in sex.

Some of them were visibly disturbed by what they had seen, according to Chet Capati, a volunteer teacher who supervised the Reading Enhancement and Academic Program (REAP) – an apostolic project for public grade school students at the time of the 2010 incident.

"I saw the betrayed and pained look on my Saturday students as they related what happened a few days [after], when they received what was supposedly an eye-opener talk on sexuality. They were shown pictures of private parts of people with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)," said Capati, who saw the children weekly as part of a reading enrichment program.

The incident demonstrated what child development specialists, concerned parents and family advocates have emphasized regarding the dangers and unsuitability of including the government's proposed sex education program in the regular curriculum of the country’s elementary and high schools.

“These girls were very close to us and candid about anything they wanted to say. After the usual pleasantries and while waiting for the rest to arrive on that Saturday morning, one girl just blurted out, ‘Ate, ang bastos po,’ (It’s so indecent)” the volunteer teacher recalled. ‘Opo, Ate, ang bastos po nung tinuro sa amin,’ (Yes, what was taught to us was so indecent) another girl said,” according to Capati.

“I asked, ‘Anong bastos? (What’s indecent?)’ ‘Yung pinakita nila sa amin, Ate, (What they showed us)” replied the little girl, referring to the images of private parts of STD-afflicted persons.

The students added that they had wanted to shout to the facilitators to stop showing the pictures because the boys in the class had started to laugh.

“Pati po yung nagtuturo, tumatawa po sila, (Even the people teaching us were laughing)” the little girl described to Capati.

The facilitators who handled the lesson were college students from a private school who were giving modules on Hygiene as part of their project for a psychology class.

“The little girls had wanted to tell their teacher about the incident, but hesitated in the end because they were shy and probably thought they had no right to do so,” Capati said. “And I guess they weren’t that candid with their teachers or advisers.”

Capati expressed misgivings about the kind of messages that sex education in schools may send to students, who expectedly differ in level of maturity, personality, family background, and personal experiences.

“Yes, it’s important to get points across but always in the context of the sacredness of sexuality and not at the expense of students, whose concept of right and wrong is mercilessly distorted by so-called ‘education,’” she pointed out.

As a way to process the experience, Capati brought up the more crucial points involved.

“I had to ask them, ‘When is the right time for sex?’ To my surprise, what stuck to their young minds was the ‘Ang bastos po, Ate.’ To my question they gave all sorts of answers ranging from “sa mga mag-boyfriend (those in boyfriend-girlfriend relationships)” to “mga matanda na (the adults).” Only one answered “sa mag-asawa (the married ones).’”

“Here is a first-hand account of the possible damage this could do to our young people,” Capati said.

Proponents of The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011 (House Bill 4244) or the RH Bill, have been contending with growing opposition, partly due to the six-year mandatory sex education program it proposes to carry out in public and private schools nationwide, from Grade 5 to 4th year high school. Also included in the recipients are out-of-school youth and enrollees in the Alternative Learning System (Sec. 16. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education).

Among the many groups that have been strongly opposing the measure is Families Against the RH Bill, which started out as a Manila-based organization of families but has quickly expanded to having chapters nationwide.

Chet Espino, one of the group’s convenors said “mandatory sex education is among the main points of [the] group’s manifesto against the RH Bill.”

“Parents are the primary educators of their children. This unfortunate incident you mentioned is only an example of the risks involved in allowing untrained school teachers to teach sex education to their students,” he said in reaction to Capati’s story.

“The children will grow up with a negative idea of sex, which is sacred and beautiful because it is a precious gift from God. [Sex] is not evil as these 10-year-olds now probably think. It is the parents we must educate so that they in turn may teach their children properly about sex,” he added.

After her experience with the 10-year-old students, Capati was concerned that they might develop “extreme ways of thinking, such as sex being bad, or sex being good regardless of context.

She brought the incident to the attention of the girls’ teacher as well as that of the psychology students’ school director. They were both receptive to her feedback.

“So this is a first-hand experience of yours that sex education [carried out in a school setting] is not good,” one of them said.

The RH Bill, authored by Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay, 1st District), includes a P3 billion proposed annual budget for its implementation should it be enacted into law. Plenary debates on the measure continue in the Lower House after sessions resume on May 9. (Diana S. Uichanco)

Ang Katotohanan Tungkol sa Reproductive Health Bill

Filipinos for Life flyer

In slideshow format:

Advocating freedom without responsibility

A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away) 
By Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) 
Updated April 29, 2011 12:00 AM

Malacanang’s call for a halt to the heated debate on the RH bill is rather too late. This call should have been PNoy’s stance in his UP commencement speech. He would have really looked more like a Statesman and the President of all the Filipinos if he just initially declined to make a stand on the issue because there are still “continued discussions on the bill” which are necessary for them “to come up with a very reasonable measure”, as his spokesman now belatedly says. Ironically, his spokesman is now also giving the impression that the Church “looks at the government as an adversary” when it was PNoy who first said in a perceivably belligerent way, that he is willing to be ex-communicated by the Church for essentially favoring the RH bill a.k.a. “Responsible Parenthood (RP) bill. Naturally such assertion will provoke more debate and discussion.

Malacañang should know that the debate will stop only if the issues are presented clearly and truthfully, if they are met head-on with solid and convincing proof, and if the arguments do not ignore the truth or use deceit. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of debate now taking place.

At this stage, the pro-RH advocates and supporters are presenting as core issue, the freedom of choice; that couples or parents, in the exercise of responsible parenthood, have the freedom to choose between the natural family planning and artificial method of contraception to achieve the desired size of their family. This issue obviously assumes that either method can be chosen. But this assumption is contrary to well established fact that the artificial methods of contraception either kill an unborn child or cause various diseases to mother and children some of which are fatal. Hence artificial methods cannot be freely chosen because they violate the law or is harmful to the physical health of individuals and the moral health of society.

Specifically, it has been pointed out time and again that birth control pills directly cause abortion or indirectly lead to abortion. This has long been established by medical science and cannot be denied. Therefore choosing and using them violates not only the Constitution requiring protection of the life of the unborn from conception (Article II Section 12) but also the Revised Penal Code penalizing abortion (Articles 256-259).

But the pro choice advocates brusquely dismiss this point by clinging to the theory used in justifying abortion - that life begins at implantation of the fertilized ovum in the mother’s womb and not at conception. Undoubtedly this theory is clearly contrary to medical findings and scientific reference works consistently declaring that life begins at conception. In fact the framers of our Charter have already recognized and affirmed that human life begins at conception. Hence they provide in the Constitution that the State shall protect the life of the unborn from conception.

Even then, pro-choice advocates still insist on giving the people freedom to choose the birth control pills with a sweeping and bare denial that the RH bill is for abortion and with a curt statement they are also against abortion. Apparently this position is self-contradictory and can only be interpreted to mean that the RH bill advocates are against abortion but they recognize the right of others to choose artificial methods that may cause abortion. So they are actually advocating freedom without responsibility.

And this advocacy is anchored on another form of freedom - the supposed “freedom of conscience”. This is a common expression based on the wrong notion that the so called conscience is “free to create its own laws about good and evil”; that it is autonomous or “totally subjective, which ignores the law and determines by itself what is right and wrong”. Hence we often hear from public officials implicated in various wrongdoings the usual expression “my conscience is clear”, as they make blanket denials of the charges; or the very recent expression made after making a stand on the RH bill that “in the end I will just listen to my conscience and do what is right”.

Conscience is “not a speculative assessment, opinion, or judgment on general principles, or a decision about the usefulness or practicality of an action”. Conscience is the “judgment of the intellect on the goodness or evil of an act performed or about to be performed”. Pope John Paul II explained it with greater clarity when he said: “The judgment of conscience has an imperative character; man must act in accordance with is the proximate norm of personal morality...The authority of its voice and judgments from the truth about moral good and evil...This truth is indicated by the “divine law”, the universal and objective norm of morality. The judgment of conscience does not establish the law; rather it bears witness to the authority of natural law and of the practical reason with reference to the supreme good, whose attractiveness the human person perceives and whose commandment he accepts” (Veritatis Splendor).

Another core issue raised in the RH bill is that it is supposedly intended to protect and promote the women’s reproductive health by preventing pregnancy, as if pregnancy is now a disease. But statistics for the past ten years show that maternal mortality rate due to giving birth is not that high as to be considered one of the ten major causes of death among women in the country today. What is intriguing here is that suddenly, news reports are coming out now allegedly showing that 10 or 11 mothers die every day while giving birth. Obviously this is another attempt at pressuring our legislators to pass the bill.

Actually however, assuming the statistics are correct, the RH bill is not the answer to the problem. Maternal and child health care is presently among the functions of the DOH. This rise in maternal deaths shows that DOH is not properly doing its function. Hence improvement of the services in this regard should be made, not the passage of the RH bill.

Finally, it is also wrong to claim that the RH bill should be passed because it is the popular choice of the people. Truth is not determined in a popularity contest. Truth is an objective reality that remains constant regardless of what people say. The RH bill should be passed because it is based on the truth and is for the common good and not because, the survey says so.

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The RH Bill: An Imposition from a Foreign Power?

By Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) 
Updated April 29, 2011 12:00 AM 

(An excerpt):

Disturbing questions are being asked by the public and in the coffee houses of Cebu as to why the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill was all of a sudden renamed Responsible Parenthood (RP) Bill, which is supported by Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III? I would like to believe that deep inside, PNoy knows that the RH Bill was just too controversial and too uncomfortable even for his taste. But since he did not want to back out of his promise to the Americans, he has asked the RH to be renamed RP… which in effect is the same dog with a different collar! 
Talking about the bottom line, We proud Filipinos finally had the guts to free ourselves from the bondage of American colonialism or as the Communists would say, American Imperialism by taking the US military bases in Clark and Subic away from American control. But let’s ask ourselves, have we really gotten away from US influence? If you look at the controversy of the RH or RP Bill, we are in effect kowtowing to American interests. 
All this stems from a report from former US State Secretary Henry Kissinger who in April 24, 1974 (that’s 37 years and five days ago) came up with a report on “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for US Security and Overseas Interests.” This report outlined the need for a study of the impact of world population growth on US Security concerns, especially from poor countries like the Philippines. That Kissinger memo resulted in the Kissinger Report 2004 which reveals that the US Government funded the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the leading advocate of abortion in the US.
It is a fact that a couple of weeks ago, the US Government nearly ground to a halt because the Republicans that control Congress and the Democrats that control the Senate were deadlock because pro-life Republicans no longer wanted to fund abortions to the tune of $980 million annually. I can’t put in all of what’s written on this report, but if you’re interested you can Google Kissinger Report 2004 and you will get the truth about this controversy that has embroiled our nation. 
The recent report on this issues is that the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) and almost all the Protestant Churches that have separated from the Catholic Church are now pushing for the RH-RP bill. There is no doubt that an unseen hand is trying to forge and shift the RH-RP debate with the Catholic Church against these other churches in order to get the heat out of PNoy. But all this is being foisted on the unsuspecting Filipino Catholics that in the end, passing the RH-RP bill will eventually lead to a law supporting abortion which has happened to all nations that embraced their own RH bills. This is why we must fight and kill it now before it’s too late and we shall be cursed with the wrath of God. PNoy ought to look at this more clearly or else.

John Paul II to the Filipino people on the sanctity of life, part 2: Preserve your Christian values!


The Filipino people will always draw the strength and inspiration that they need to carry out this task from their noble heritage—a heritage not only of Christian faith but also of the rich human and cultural values that are their own. Every man and woman, whatever his or her status or role, must strive in all earnestness to preserve, to deepen and to consolidate these values—these priceless gifts—against the many factors which seriously threaten them today.

Preserve, through your lucid and deliberate efforts, your sense of the divine, your prayerfulness and your deeply religious consciousness. Preserve and reinforce your respect for the role of women in the home, in education and in other challenges of life in society. Keep and strengthen your reverence for the aged, the disabled and the sick. Above all maintain your great esteem for the family.

Preserve the indissolubility of the marriage bond. Keep inviolate the right to life of the unborn child and uphold firmly the exalted dignity of motherhood. Proclaim vigorously the right of parents to be free from economic, social and political coercion, as they endeavor to follow the dictates of an upright conscience in determining the size of their family in accordance with the will of God.

Establish firmly the serious responsibility of parents to raise their children in accordance with their human dignity. Defend the children from corrupting influences and uphold the structures of family life. A nation goes the way that the family goes, and when the integrity and stability of family life is imperiled, so will be the stability of the nation and the tasks it must assume before the judgment of history.

The challenge that faces each nation, and more particularly a Christian nation, is a challenge to its own internal life. I am sure that the leaders and the people of the Philippines fully realize their responsibility to construct an exemplary society and that they are willing to work together to achieve this end in a spirit of mutual respect and civic responsibility. It is the joint effort of all the citizens that builds a truly sovereign nation, where not only the legitimate material interests of the citizens are promoted and protected, but also their spiritual aspirations and their culture.

Even in exceptional situations that may at times arise, one can never justify any violation of the fundamental dignity of the human person or of the basic rights that safeguard this dignity. Legitimate concern for the security of a nation, as demanded by the common good, could lead to the temptation of subjugating to the State the human being and his or her dignity and rights. Any apparent conflict between the exigencies of security and of the citizens' basic rights must be resolved according to the fundamental principle—upheld always by the Church—that social organization exists only fοr the service of man and for the protection of his dignity, and that it cannot claim to serve the common good when human rights are not safeguarded.

People will have faith in the safeguarding of their security and the promotion of their well-being only to the extent that they feel truly involved, and supported in their very humanity.

It is my hope and prayer that all the Filipino people and their leaders will never cease to honor their commitment to a development that is fully human and that overcomes situations and structures of inequality, injustice and poverty in the name of the sacredness of humanity. I pray that everyone will work together with generosity and courage, without hatred, class struggle or fratricidal strife, resist­ing all temptations to materialistic or violent ideologies.

The moral resources of the Philippines are dynamic, and they are strong enough to withstand the pressures that are exercised from the outside to force this nation to adopt models of development that are alien to its culture and sensitivities. Recent initiatives that are worthy of praise augur well for the future, since they manifest confidence in the capacity of the people to assume their rightful share of responsibility in building a society that strives for peace and justice and protects all human rights.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Talks on the RH Bill tomorrow at Megamall

John Paul II to the Filipino people on the sanctity of life, part 1: Hold fast to the teaching of the Church!

Statue commemorating Pope John Paul II's visit to Cebu (Feb 19-20, 1981). 

His Holiness, John Paul II (r. 1978 - 2005) will be beatified on Sunday, May 1, 2011. Many can still remember the love with which our people welcomed him into our country on the occasion of his papal visits in 1981 and 1995 -- a love that he reciprocated time and again whenever and wherever he came across our countrymen. However, in our days of spreading secularism, militant feminism and atheism, and anti-Catholicism in what was once "the bastion of Catholicism in the Far East", there is the danger that the memories of those papal visits will be forgotten, as the mainstream Filipino media continues its war against the Catholic Church and villifies the moral teachings of this towering man of God, who once captivated the hearts and minds of our people. 

It is important, therefore, not only to recall the teachings of John Paul II on matters of human life and sexual morality, but also to bring forth the particular ways by which the late Pontiff had presented these teachings to the Filipino people. From today until May 2, 2011, I will be publishing extracts from the homilies and messages of John Paul II to Filipinos on these topics. 

The following is an extract (with my emphases in bold lettering) from Pope John Paul II's homily in Cebu on February 19, 1981:

Beloved and sisters in Christ, the centuries-old veneration of the Santo Niño here in Cebu prompts me to speak to you today about the family. The Infant Jesus himself was born of the Virgin Mary and lived in a family, and it was in the family of Nazareth that he began the mission which the Father had entrusted to him. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given". In him a new era dawned, in him the world was re-created, in him a new life was offered to humanity, a life redeemed by and in Christ. 
Because the Creator wills that life should take its origin from the love of a man and a woman joined in a covenant of sharing in marriage, and because Christ elevated this union of spouses to the dignity of sacrament, we must look at the family, at its nature and mission, in the bright light of our Christian faith. With legitimate pride one can state that whatever the Church teaches today on marriage and the family has been her constant teaching in fidelity to Christ. 
The Catholic Church has consistently taught—and I repeat here with the conviction that springs from my office as chief Pastor and Teacher—that marriage was established by God; that marriage is a covenant of love between one man and one woman ; that the bond uniting husband and wife is by God's will indissoluble; that marriage between Christians is a sacrament symbolizing the union of Christ and his Church ; and that marriage must be open to the transmission of human life. 
When Jesus was going about, teaching and healing, he was one day confronted by some Pharisees who wanted to test him about marriage. Jesus answered, clearly and firmly, by reaffirming what Scripture had said: "From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder" 
By making them male and female God established the complementarity of the sexes, for a man leaves his father and mother in order to be joined to his wife in that union of love that permeates all levels of human existence. This union of love enables man and woman to grow together and to care properly for their children. The union that makes them one cannot be broken by any human authority; it is permanently at the service of the children and of the spouses themselves. Thus the love between a man and a woman in marriage is a love that is both faithful and fruitful. It is a holy love, sacramentally symbolizing the union of love between Christ and the Church, as Saint Paul wrote to the Ephesians : "This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church" 
Fοr these reasons, the Church will never dilute or change her teaching on marriage and the family. 
Fοr these reasons, the Church rejects any attempt through the practice of polygamy to destroy the unity of marriage, and any attempt through divorce to destroy the marriage bond. 
For these reasons also the Church states clearly that marriage should be open to the transmission of human life. God willed the loving union of husband and wife to be the source of new life. He wishes to share, as it were, his creative power with husbands and wives, endowing them with procreative power. God desires that this tremendous power to procreate a new human life should be willingly and lovingly accepted by the couple when they freely choose to marry. Parenthood has a dignity all of its own, guaranteed by God himself. On my part I owe it to my Apostolic Office to reaffirm as clearly and as strongly as possible what the Church of Christ teaches in this respect, and to reiterate vigorously her rejection of artificial contraception and abortion. 
Yes, from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages, all human life is sacred, for it is created in the image and likeness of God. Human life is precious because it is a gift of God, whose love knows no limit; and when God gives life, it is forever. Whoever attempts to destroy human life in the womb of the mother, not only violates the sacredness of a living, growing and developing human being, and thus opposes God, but also attacks society by undermining respect for all human life. 
I want to repeat here what I stated when visiting my homeland: "If a person's right to life is violated at the moment in which he is first conceived in his mother's womb, an indirect blow is struck also at the whole moral order, which serves to ensure the inviolable goods of man. Among those goods, life occupies the first place. The Church defends the right to life, not only in regard to the majesty of the Creator, who is the first Giver of this life, but also in respect of the essential good of the human person" 
When the Church holds up before you the ideals of Christian marriage and the Christian family, when she insists that the love of husband and wife and the love of parents should be marked by generosity, she knows that there are many factors today that threaten family life and tempt the human heart. The selfish pursuit of pleasure, sexual permissiveness and the fear of a permanent commitment are destructive forces. As a good mother, the Church stands by her children in difficult times ; she stands by the couples who experience difficulties in abiding by her teachings. With love and with an understanding of human weakness, but also with an understanding of the power of Christ's grace in individual human hearts, the Church constantly challenges her children. She challenges them to be conscious of the dignity of their Baptism and of the gift of sacramental grace that they have been given precisely in order that they might be able to reflect Christ's sacrificial love in their lives develop their own love in a faithful and indissoluble union, and respond with generosity to the gift of parenthood. 
As the Second Vatican Council declared : "Authentic married love is caught up into divine love and is governed and enriched by Christ's redeeming power and the saving activity of the Church. Thus this lοve can lead the spouses to God with powerful effect and can aid and strengthen them in the sublime role of being a father or a mother" 
To all of you Christian couples—spouses and parents—I offer the invitation : walk with Christ ! It is he who reveals to you the dignity of the covenant you have made; it is he who gives immense value to your conjugal love; it is he, Jesus Christ, who can accomplish in yοu immeasurably more than yοu can ask or imagine. 
In a Christian community, everyone has a responsibility fοr families. Programs that focus on the family and on the dignity of marriage are of great importance: programs to prepare those who are getting married, and programs for those whο are already married. In regard to their children parents have an irreplaceable role to play, not only as the first educators in the faith and as models of virtue, but alsο as examples of faithful conjugal love. In the community of love and trust that each family ought to be, parents and children can be evangelized and at the same time instruments of evangelization. 
Sincere respect for life and human dignity, unselfish charity and the sense of duty and justice, rooted firmly in the Gospel, comes from a family where wholesome relations between parents and children prevail, and where each member of the family tries to be a servant to each other. A family where prayer, loving support and formation in the faith are of constant concern will bring untold benefits not only to the members of the family themselves, but also to the Church and to society.

How to waste three billion pesos

Wrong Priority

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Two things you need to know about the RH Bill

From a Protestant Christian blog that courageously resists the RH Bill despite the support given to it by a number of other Protestant Christian churches:

The RH Bill is not a solution to the problems it seeks to address

From the latest Trade Tripper column of Jemy Gatdula of BusinessWorld:

is the subject of my Trade Tripper column in this Friday Saturday issue of BusinessWorld
One of the fascinating things to see is how full the churches were last weekend, what with the celebration of Easter Sunday. But what’s sad to note is that behind the facade of apparent devoutness lies a certain lukewarmness, perhaps even ignorance, of the significance of Holy Week and Easter. At worst, hypocrisy. 
The events we commemorate last week are not dead events. They were meant to teach us how to lead our lives. Of the many significant events of the last week of Jesus, let us take three to ponder upon. The first had to do with Judas’ betrayal. Certainly, his motivations for turning traitor were not mentioned in the Gospels (except for John’s laconic reference of Satan entering Judas after the latter dipped bread with Christ). Some commentators claim, however, that Judas felt disappointed with Jesus when it became clearer by the day that He was not leading a political revolution. Jesus’ somewhat weird statement that His followers should eat His body and drink His blood (which actually caused a number of His disciples to leave) may also have something to do with it. 
The second event is Peter’s denial. This came after Peter chopped off an ear of one of the arresting soldiers. Before that, Peter had made loud declarations of his willingness to die for Christ. However, in Peter’s zeal to be near the developments, in his eagerness to be part of the events, he pushed too much into the crowd and there he was identified as a follower of Christ. This set the stage for his denial. Upon being recognized (by servant girls no less), Peter, the supposedly bold brave man, started to fear for himself and denied knowing Jesus three times. Which resulted in him forever being depicted with a rooster on his shoulder. But I digress ... 
The third event is when Pilate asked the crowd to choose between Jesus and Barabbas. This was a profound choice. Barabbas, contrary to common knowledge, was no common thief. He was a revolutionary, a rebel, who was not above using violent means to achieve what are arguably good intentions. The name of Barabbas himself gives us a clue as to his identity. Barabbas means "Son of the Father." In effect, what Pilate presented to the crowd were two Messianic figures. But the differences between the two could not be greater. The crowd, of course, chose Barabbas. 
What is the point? The point is that in all three situations, Judas, Peter, and the crowd were given a choice. That choice is something we also confront every day, every single day, of our lives. The choice presented was: do we rely primarily on our expectations, plans, abilities, knowledge, and understanding? Or do we first put our trust in Him? 
Judas and the crowd essentially thought that Jesus was too otherworldly, too impractical, when what was needed was decisive human action. Pilate, incidentally, was another pragmatist, who knowingly allowed an innocent man crucified to save his career. Peter, on the other hand, was too eager for action that he forgot the teachings of Christ that he made himself vulnerable to turning away from Him. 
Obviously, I’m writing this article in relation to the RH Bill (now re-named Responsible Parenthood Bill). We are seemingly so eager to rely on our abilities, our intelligence, our plans that we forget to have the humility of remembering that we don’t know as much as we think we do. To solve poverty, to care for maternal health, to reduce teen pregnancy and abortions, these are all good intentions. But the means with which we seek to solve them, the reliance on contraception, are not in line with the faith that we profess as Catholics and the facts we know through human experience. 
The interesting thing about this is that in the zeal of RH Bill proponents to defend the indefensible, they even essentially started resorting to that line of Pilate: "what is truth?" Because it is the truth itself that is now being questioned to justify the use of condoms: the authority of the Papal office, the primacy of natural law, the teachings of saints Jerome, Augustine, and De Sales, to Popes Pius XI, Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, the apostolic duty of bishops, religious freedom and the right to proselytize, the diversion of tax money from education and necessary medicines, the carcinogenic nature of many contraceptives, the fact that contraceptive use resulted in the increase of unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and sexually transmitted disease, have weakened societies, and with no proven correlation to alleviating poverty. All this has to be wrong to make contraception right. 
Yes, there are problems that the RH Bill seeks to address. But the RH Bill will never be the solution. Human action unrooted in a morality, ethic, or faith will always be futile. Judas, Peter, and the crowd that chose Barabbas taught us that.

Glorify God in your bodies

Yet another "better late than never" post :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

RH bill supporters - what do they have in common?

Why should we fight the RH Bill?

Radio Veritas and Pro-Life Philippines radio ads versus the RH Bill

Information Ad # 1: "Ano, pinipilit nila ang paggamit ng contraceptives?"

Information Ad # 2: "Hindi sakit ang pagbubuntis!"

Information Ad # 3: "Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, hindi condom ang kailangan!"

Information Ad # 4: Nagsalita na ang Simbahan!

The RH bill: essentially a legal and not a religious issue

A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away) 
By Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) 
Updated April 25, 2011 

P-Noy really has the right or even the obligation as President to endorse for legislation any bill that he believes will promote his program of government. This is true even if the bill is as controversial as the Reproductive Health (RH) bill which he has renamed “Responsible Parenthood” (RP) bill. For taking such an unstinting stand on this issue, he earned praise and admiration as expected, from the RH bill’s backers who immediately claim he is supporting their cause.

But what is very unfortunate here is the seeming arrogance of power P-Noy displayed in dealing with the opposition. Many of those who voted for him in the last election envisioned a President who would unite the nation. But it is not the President they saw and heard in the UP commencement exercises. The public perception is that he just created a deeper fissure among our people in his stand on the controversial RH (RP?) bill, making his holy week appeal to “carry our nation together” sound hollow and empty.

First of all, he is talking about another version of the bill which he calls “RP” bill the contents of which are not yet known or made public up to now. Nobody has read or even seen a version of said bill and therefore cannot intelligently say that he/she is for or against it. Hence it is not quite right for P-Noy to say he knows those who oppose it; nor could he say that “their minds are already closed”.

Indeed the statements of his drumbeaters in Malacanang even vary with his own. One official said that “Aquino’s Responsible Parenthood version of the controversial reproductive health bill in Congress will neither be in favor of the Catholic Church nor Reproductive Health bill advocates”. Another claimed that “The RP bill means that we will not favor one over the other. Wala po talagang papaboran sa family planning method”. But in his UP speech, P-Noy already avowed categorically that his RP bill “has a lot of common grounds” with the RH bill now under plenary debate in the House of Representatives.

P-Noy is just actually reiterating his “pro-choice” stance in his UP speech about the “need to reorient, refocus and empower Filipino couples and provide them with full public information regarding the natural and artificial methods of family planning and consult the individual religious entities where they belong”. This is the principle of the Responsible Parenthood bill which he would like to “isabatas” and to explain to “those who oppose it” even if their “minds are already closed”. This is the very same stance of the RH bill authors and supporters.

Plainly, he would like Filipino couples to exercise responsible parenthood in determining the size of their family by giving them the right to choose between the natural and artificial family planning methods after being properly informed about them. And to enable the couples to exercise this right, the government should make available to them the modern methods of family planning. In short, if the couples choose the artificial method, the government should provide the artificial contraceptives, whether in the form of pills or mechanical devices.

Before espousing this principle, P-Noy should have consulted experts to determine the over-all effects of contraceptives. Had asked, he must have learned of the medical and scientific findings showing that artificial contraceptives not only prevent conception but also render the uterus hostile to a live embryo and thus prevent its the implantation in the mother’s womb. So that when the couple subsequently decides to have a baby by not using contraceptives or when contraceptives fail, abortion also happens. That is why the bill also has provisions on “post abortion” complications.

Indeed actual studies in the US show that artificial contraceptives are not 100% effective. It may also result in unwanted pregnancies forcing women to resort to abortion. In fact the US Supreme Court has already recognized the close causal link between contraception and abortion which led to its decision in Roe vs. Wade, legalizing abortion. Then there are also medical findings about the many harmful effects of artificial contraceptives on the life and health of mothers and children.

So this is not simply a matter of informing the couples and giving them the freedom to choose between artificial and natural family planning methods. Certainly, couples have no freedom to choose something that will violate the law particularly, Article II Section 12 of the Constitution which mandates the State to equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception; and Section 15 which requires the State to protect and promote the right to health of the people.

Moreover, artificial contraceptives also violate natural law or the “norm derived from human nature”. This is so because one of the most natural acts of a human person is to engage in sexual intercourse which has for its natural consequence the possible transmission of life when man’s sperm cell may fertilize the egg released from the woman’s ovaries. Contraceptives however interfere with this natural process by preventing the union of the sperm and the egg.

Hence the controversy here is not so much about whether the RH or RP bill is contrary to the religious beliefs of a particular sect or religious denomination. It is more about whether the bill giving couples the freedom to choose artificial contraceptives violates the law — of man and of nature. It is essentially a legal not a religious issue. Let us not drag the “Padre Damasos” here.

In pushing for the RH or RP bill, P-Noy is therefore not risking his own ex-communication from the Church. He is putting the country to greater risk of being engulfed by a “contraceptive mentality” which according to data gathered by western social scientists and pro choice advocates themselves, “has caused a rise in abortion, infidelity, breakdown of families, trouble in relationship between the sexes, a lessening of respect for women by men, female impoverishment and single motherhood”.

P-Noy should just concentrate in fighting graft and corruption to solve our country’s problem of poverty. He should not push for the RH bill as it may just lead us to a “higher form of corruption” — moral corruption which may probably usher economic prosperity but will certainly cause moral bankruptcy in our society.

During Easter time let’s hope and pray that P-Noy will further deliberate on his RH bill position and will not forget to implore the aid of the Divine Providence, the author of nature, the source and giver of life and the protector of the family.


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Brought to you by the "champions" of reproductive health "information"!

By Haggai De Cena of Filipinos for Life

Last Holy Week, I visited a remote barangay in Davao del Norte. There, I managed to have a small talk with some friends and about their life and their condition. One of the issue that was brought up is their family life and their livelihood. One of the women said that she is using birth control pills so as to prevent herself from getting pregnant. She has a child, about two years of age, and she don’t want to add another child because she believes that the salary of her husband will never be enough to cover the expenses for a growing child. She told me that she acquire birth pills from their local health center.

Family planning are one of the programs that are usually available in local health centers around the Philippines. Local health centers have an array of birth control pills, condoms, IUDs and other contraceptive tools that are distributed freely to mothers like my friend who don’t want to have another child.

During the course of our talks, I discovered that their health centers are just distributing those birth control pills without telling her and other women in the barangay of the negative health effects of those birth control pills. My friend does not know that the birth control pills that she is taking increases her risk to have a breast cancer. Also, she also doesn’t know that the birth control pills that she is taking is actually killing a newly formed life inside her womb.

The withholding of negative health effects and abortifacient effects of birth control pills is an injustice to Filipino women. The Department of Health must be held liable for putting Filipino women at risk of breast cancer and a host of temporary and permanent side effects of birth control pills.

Local health centers are zealous in distributing contraceptive tools in their area but they fail to properly inform women of the effects of those tools to their health. It is frightening to think that this “failure” by local health centers will continue once the RH Bill become a law. How many women will have breast cancer? How many of these women will unknowingly abort their babies?

Before the RH Bill is passed, I suggest that the personnel of health centers be required to educated the people about the negative health effects of birth control pills, IUDs and other contraceptive tools.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Protect the health and lives of mothers!


This series seeks to bring to the light the lies and half-truths that Likhaan, RHAN, FPOP, Remedios and other agencies and organizations disseminate, in their quest to pass the RH bill without it being fully understood by the Filipino people nor even by the lawmakers that support it. Filipinos for Life will address pro-RH claims to show our readers the TRUTH that they need to know and share with others.

To read the whole series, click HERE.

Noynoy's five-point position on responsible parenthood: Willy Jose's response

The five-point position on responsible parenthood of PNoy
The five-point position on responsible parenthood of President Benigno S. Aquino III:
[and my comments] -- by Wilfredo Jose

1. I am against abortion.
[This is a thoroughly misused and abused statement. If he is against abortion, then all his statements must be unequivocally consistent with this position. One cannot say he is against abortion yet be in favor of promoting abortifacient contraceptives, under the guise of "choice". Mr President, state your CLEAR position against abortifacients, otherwise your claim does not have any credibility]

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.
[Nobody is in a position to 'give' rights that we are entitled to in the first place, certainly not the president. Universal, unalienable rights are implicitly conferred upon mankind by its Creator, and that includes the right to manage our families. When the president says he is in favor of "giving the right to choose", he is in no position to give it, nor is he in a position to take it away. He does not have any right to give rights, for as president - he is just supposed to recognize them.]

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.
[God is the giver of the fundamental human right to religious liberty. God is the giver of life. When people say they are for abortion or contraception and at the same time recognize the sacredness of human life in ALL its stages, they must understand what it means and how to act accordingly.]

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.
[The responsibility to provide and informed judgment must come with a realization that the truth in its bare glory must be made known. To peddle unthruths - such as contraceptives recognize the sacredness of human life in all its stages - is a total mockery of cultivating informed judgment.]

5. In the range of options and information provided to couples, natural family planning and modern methods shall be presented as equally available.
[What modern methods? Under the premise that "those modern methods" contain abortifacients, then his last point completely negates all the four points above, and likewise goes against the fundamental law of the land. All these statements are not only unconsitutional, worse, they are unCatholic as well.]

Let us pray for our president.

Jason Evert versus the RH Bill

On my late posting of this: better late than never!

The Media's RH Bandwagon

By Antonio J. Montalvan II
Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE LENTEN fare on national television was the most contrived ever. All of a sudden, episodes focused on the charity works of famous individuals and the humanitarian undertakings of a large Catholic lay organization; shouldn’t these be regular fare, instead? All of a sudden, Catholic Church-bashing came to a halt.

With the Lenten holidays over, we can expect the church barrage to resume. As the Congress recess comes to an end, one resurrection is clear: expect media to take up again the issue on the Reproductive Health Bill. But do not expect it to contribute to a healthy discussion. Media, generally, have never been on the side of the church on the RH Bill.

One of the greatest recent ironies we have seen in media is how a statement of a new thespian in bowler hat ala Rizal (“The Church’s pronouncements on the RH Bill are all lies!” or words to that effect) is never matched by the whole stock of scientific studies proliferating in the open about the ills of contraception.

Nor was there fair coverage when Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel was said to have been singled out from a Baguio pulpit. News anchors of Baraquel’s sister’s television network (where she is a perennial guest, naturally) were quick to the draw. Immediately, Baraquel was on the air. It had taken a few days later to air the side of the Baguio priest, and not before he had already been vilified, his arrogance taken to task for a wrong use of the pulpit (as if a correct theological use of the pulpit had always been part of media knowledge).

It is not enough to say that the RH Bill has received popular support, as the so-called surveys are said to have shown. Popularity will never ever erase the ills of contraception. It may be popular to say that the Church is lying or is meddling in the bedroom, a quip that easily lands a prominent place in media headlines. No matter the so-called popularity, it will never remove the fact that the efficacy of contraception will always be a false perception. We only have the tell-tale data from countries after many years of contraceptive use. All that data are not to be sought in musty libraries.

Media have had the propensity to ignore that data. That is incredible in a wired age where data are at our fingertips. And we are not even talking about Wikipedia.

Why the selectivity? Campaigns for contraception have never been a free lunch. There is money in the lobby. Congress and money are the wrong partners, as they always have been. Congress is the wrong place to dictate on something that should be left to personal preference.

The arithmetic is simple. Who stands to gain if government starts buying contraceptives from tax money? Who also stands to gain from the travel perks dangled to some media writers? Naturally the slant for the favor is understandable.

But it is a slant where the deciding public turns out as the victim. Pro-contraceptive activists have always cried out for women’s rights and that great euphemism “informed choice.” But 61-percent use of contraceptives by women aged 15-49 in both marital and consensual unions worldwide has not improved the worth of contraceptives. Commercial interests and ideological fervor notwithstanding, the world’s abortion rates continue to be alarming. The growing number of the young who are contracepting has not reduced the startling rates at which sexual diseases are being transmitted. Where divorce in the West stood at only over 300,000 in the 1960s, when contraception was first introduced, today the rates stand at the millions. Clearly, “informed choice” appears to be non-existent.

Studies have repeatedly shown that contraceptive use has not improved the quality of marriage. Counselors often cite the wife as commonly saying: “During intercourse I am only an object, a thing, a means, at the service of my husband’s pleasure.” These are factual data coming from countries that have had long years of contraceptive use. Obviously, “reproductive rights” are not confined merely to the woman’s side of the issue. If data on such institutions being eroded scream at our face, it becomes more astonishing how they can be ignored.

Worst, I have not heard anyone from the pro-RH side admit the connection between contraception and cancer. There the data are supposed to be profuse. Is the omission deliberate? We shudder to think that even the board of the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecology Society (POGS) has sidestepped that issue, they who are supposed to be at the forefront of responsibly protecting the health welfare of society.

It is not difficult to see where the Philippines is headed with the eventual passage of the Reproductive Health Bill. Yet these issues are not being discussed openly. It becomes more dreadful to imagine that our legislators, many of whom may easily be swayed by media as the gauge of how their constituents think, will eventually decide on the matter. Once the floor debates progress, we can easily judge how much knowledge they have gained from their readings on the issue, or the lack of it.

Interference in religious freedom will always be a thorny issue for legislation. To begin with, it should never be legislated at all. The Constitution guarantees that. But even that aspect of the RH Bill is being ignored.

We may be off to a bandwagon for the RH Bill. But that will never erase the fact that much of our people wallow in ignorance about the issue. In fact, we are only continuing to guarantee that the ignorance is invincible. No one can beat, at this point, media’s failure in shaking us out of that unshakeable ignorance.

As Guyito, the Inquirer mascot, tries to make it out lightly, even Malacañang is ignorant. How much more for ordinary mortal Filipinos?

* * *

Comments to

The contraceptive mindset: the inability to say "no".

Not openly against the RH Bill, but the message is quite relevant. - CAP

'Hindi umaayaw'
By "Petrufied"

If you listen to AM radio, you must've already heard the advertisement for vitamins that uses the title of this post as a tagline, and you know that their image model is no other than Robin Padilla. The whole point of the ad is to say that Robin can do all that he does (and even be locked up in jail) because he never backs out, or if you take the tagline literally, he doesn't say no. And he doesn't have to say no to anything because his vitamins give him the energy to do it all! Hooray!

I get the point of not wanting to back out of anything--especially when it comes to work. The ad is talking to people in blue collar jobs and appealing to their yearning to easily put in more hours at work so they can have more income to bring home. In that case, not backing out is a good thing.

I brought this up because I want to focus on something quite the opposite, which is being able to say No. It's ridiculous to go, I never say No. Sure, that's obvious when it comes to things that can get you in trouble, land you in jail, etc., however, there are also other less obvious things that merit saying no to; and because we are thinking people, we should know when these occasions are.

Have you ever heard anyone say: "You can afford it, why not?" or "It's your right to do what you want," and other phrases of the same line of thought? In this get-everything-you-want-NOW kind of world, that seems to be the dominant philosophy. Dominant, though, doesn't necessarily equate to "good for you," and no matter how much of a right you have to drown yourself in junk food, junk media, or junk philosophies, you realize sooner or later that you are not happy drowning in the same after a while. All this yes-ing can get tiring; worse, you come out of it not learning anything at all.

That's one of the things I find wanting in a contraceptive mindset. It's all yes-ing without stopping to think about what's good for anybody, let alone what's good for the self. People can go on harping about their rights as if there's such a thing as rights without responsibility, but it doesn't change the fact that each one of us needs to learn to say No, too.

I find it puzzling how some people applaud the Japanese for their great self-mastery and selflessness, and then trumpet their support for some bill that teaches the Filipinos to throw to the winds those very same virtues. My think: why is self-mastery considered noble when you're in a crisis of Ondoy proportions, but not very valuable in the bedroom?

It's the same virtue: if you can say No in the privacy of your home--say No to lazing around, say No to your vices (you know what those are), say No to putting off spring cleaning to another day, say No to comforts (chocolate?) once in a while--then you will be able to say No when you step outside: hold back that rage when an impudent taxi driver cuts you on the road, avoid succumbing to a BIG SALE that you don't need to be in, call a rain check when your friends are not being prudent about their time and yours....

You may be thinking: how KJ naman to have to say No to so many things! But keep in mind that every No to one thing is a Yes to something else, and something better for that matter. You say No to laziness, you say Yes to accomplishing things. A No to one more bar of chocolate is a Yes to good health, and perhaps to sharing that extra bar with someone else, too. No to the BIG SALE means Yes to saving up for a style piece that you'll get more wear out of later on.

And of course, every well-thought-out No is a brick in that house called character, which constantly needs fortifying, given the fickleness of our "open-minded" world. You gotta learn to say No conscientiously. You gotta think well and hard before you give your Yes to anything. That's good character. That's self-mastery.

...besides, whoever takes "hindi umaayaw" as a compliment better brush up on colloquial Filipino--isn't that the description right next to "Utu-uto"?

Not what the Philippines needs

This article is a few months old. As the saying goes: "better late than never!" - CAP

by "Filipino Freedom Fighter"

Population has become a subject of heated debate during the past few years. Proponents of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill argue that the Philippines is becoming overpopulated and that it is undermining the public welfare. Everybody will partake less of the economic pie because resources, especially land is fixed. Neighboring Asian countries have enacted population control measures and are doing better than the Philippines, so therefore, higher per capita GDP must be because of population control measures! And in the name of sustainable development, the Philippine government must enact population control measures here. The idea is that lower population equals more wealth, and more happiness!

There are many problems with this sort of thinking, but to start off, we must remember that per capita GDP describes an aggregate, and does not describe the distribution of income throughout society. A hypothetical country wherein 90% are poor but 10% are extremely rich would still yield high per capita figures. More importantly, a lower population does not imply that everybody gets a little bit more. Economic demand is not constituted solely by desire, but by desire plus purchasing power. An infinite desire to have a BMW does not mean infinite demand. Demand only exists where there is purchasing power accompanying desire. If the population of the Philippines were reduced by 1/3, the poor would not be any better financially. If we assume that the 1/3 that disappeared were part of the labor force, then society would be worse off because there would be less productivity. Division of labor is compromised making goods and services less available and more expensive.

The concept to grasp here is Say's Law, named after classical liberal economist Jean Baptiste Say. A farmers supply of wheat excess of what he consumes constitutes his demand for all other goods. You first need to produce in order to consume. A lower population means less productive labor, and hence less ability to consume.

On the individual level, the population of your country says nothing about the quality of life you can achieve. If you want to better your lot in life then you work, you take part in the division of labor. The more people take part in the division of labor, the more the specialization, and the more efficient wealth creation becomes for everybody.

The market system is not a zero-sum game. If you want to consume then you have to produce, you have to add to the economic pie. Prices determine what you must produce and what to consume. Prices of labor or wages guide people in getting jobs, as with prices for other items. The only thing government can do is impede this process and create more consumers than producers, as most Western welfare schemes, by subsidizing the unemployed. They have changed the rules of the game. For now you can earn an income and consume goods without working, ignoring the Biblical tenet "For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat."(2 Thessalonians 3:10)

It is vain to take the collectivistic approach and deal with charts and figures rather than real, living, changing economic agents at the ground level who are unique and make different choices. The government simply cannot look at population growth charts, compare them with population charts with other countries, and ex post facto come to a conclusion that will lead to the creation of another corrupt bureaucracy.

Empirical evidence does not warrant the claims of the population controllers. Hong Kong, Monaco, and Singapore are ranked in the top five in population density yet those three countries are also among the top ten in terms of per capita GDP. At the other end of the list, it is the poorest countries that have the lowest population density. Countries like Congo, Mozambique, Mali, and Zambia. It is important to note that just because less population does not equal more wealth for everybody, does not mean more population necessarily means more wealth for everybody. It is only when the productive worker or entrepreneur produces more than he consumes, or in the act of saving, that he can benefit society the most. The point is that in order to have high population numbers, there must be, or must have been a good workforce and capital goods enough to support it.

Poor Southeast Asian and Latin American countries have a large portion of their labor force in the agricultural sector where many working hands are needed. Large family sizes make good financial sense in the context of rural life. Children in rural areas are viewed as assets in the financial sense because they contribute to the family income at a young age. Urban families have less children because children are viewed as 'liabilities', their education and various other consumption items unavailable to rural children are expenses of the family. So contrary to the claims of the population controllers, having many children are actually good for rural families. And how could they not be? Rural folks do not mindlessly produce more children without weighing the costs and benefits. Families in the rural area are just as responsible as those in the cities. Or maybe the political establishment thinks differently?

The truth is that the poverty of the Filipino people have nothing to do with population. The Philippines is suffering because of the government interventionism hampering the market process and a majority that refuses to recognize and accept the inherent evil of state coercion.

Side notes:

If the goal is to reduce population numbers as such, then capital accumulation, particularly, machination and modernization of the agricultural sector is key. In the agricultural areas, the benefits of having children surpass the benefits of not having children. The solution is to reverse this. By making it unnecessary for agriculture to be labor intensive, labor will move to higher paying industrial and service-oriented sectors where children will not be needed on the fields and can be sent to school. And the only way this can happen is to get the government out of agriculture, out of fertilizer subsidies, import quotas and customs fees for agricultural commodities, out of the provision of irrigation, out of crop insurance, but that is another topic for another day.

I will be forever dumbfounded by the silly attitude of the political establishment in accusing lack of education for the alleged overpopulation of the country. This is typical leftist blame the victim mentality. For who, in fact is educating the masses of the people, the freakin' government is!

If you sincerely believe in reducing population growth for whatever reason, you can do it the moral way by spending your OWN money to buy condoms and distribute to people. Voting on other peoples' property just to serve an unfounded belief (look at sources) is wrong and is why the government can get away with a lot of horrible acts. Statism is just so easy to subscribe to. No down-payment required.