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

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A blank check for politicos

While the rest of the nation is busy taking sides in the debate between the individual's right to choose versus the Catholic Church's stand against artificial birth control, the House of Representatives is moving closer to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. After reading  The Consolidated RH Bill, I gather that discussions should be more in the practical sense. Let the buyer beware.

Before anything else, allow me to put some things on the table:

  • The Catholic Church has done nothing but respect and protect God's gift of life to every human being, born and unborn. 
  • On the other side, the Philippine government continues to be viewed as having a serious corruption problem. On a scale of  01 to 10, with 10 being the worst, the country garnered a score of  8.9, poorer than 8.25 in 2010, as reported by Political & Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd in Hong Kong. (
  • There are more pressing problems in the country today. Just look around you. 
  • UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Jacqueline Badcock said the UN provides support to programs of the Philippine government but will not include providing contraceptives. (PhilStar)
  • There are several articles written in the Journal of American Medical Association on the harmful side effects of contraceptives, some of them leading to cancer and death.

Now that we are all in the same page, let us get down to brass tacks. Have you read the RH Bill?  I did, and some sections glared at me while reading it.

Sec. 6, Emergency Obstetric Care, states in part: For every 500,000 population, there shall be at least one (1) hospital with comprehensive emergency obstetric care and four (4) hospitals or other health facilities with basic emergency obstetric care.

Now, try clicking this - Google Books. Did you notice the hospital figures on the right hand page of the book? I understand that this is the "acceptable minimum level" as written in a foreign context. However, are we talking about a "one size fits all"  legislation?  Should our intelligent members of Congress conduct their own study and come up with a Filipino version of what is acceptable?  In my previous post, A Troubling Health Care Issue, I described the RH Bill AS A CUT AND PASTE JOB!

SEC. 14. Benefits for Serious and Life-Threatening Reproductive Health Conditions. All serious and life threatening reproductive health conditions such as HIV and AIDS, breast and reproductive tract cancers, obstetric complications, menopausal and post-menopausal related conditions shall be given the maximum benefits as provided by PhilHealth programs.

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. missed the Dec 2010 target mandated by law for it to provide universal health coverage to Filipinos. Health experts say the agency is poorly managed and consequently unable to deliver quality health care to those who need it most. A 2010 Social Weather Station survey on health care services and financing showed only 36 percent of respondents have PhilHealth coverage. (Vera Files)

Do you think the RH Bill will do better when their hedge or insurance for some very real risks is PhilHealth?

Sec.15,  Mobile Health Care Service. Each Congressional District shall be provided with at least one Mobile Health Care Service (MHCS) in the form of a van or other means of transportation appropriate to coastal or mountainous areas.

The provisions set for some serious medical needs most likely to arise from this haphazard project by the House of Representatives ARE SO MINIMAL that a single corrupt irregular transaction can tip the scale to more serious health problems.

Sec 30. Appropriations. The amounts appropriated in the current annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) for Family Health and Responsible Parenting under the DOH and POPCOM and other concerned agencies shall be allocated and utilized for the initial implementation of this Act. 

It so happens that it is P731 Million for 2011. This initial amount has been earmarked to cover expenses for information campaign alone. (

I bet you that in a couple of years, we will be watching some very dramatic Congressional hearings again on government funds filtering its way to nice houses in the United States, or to some guy's safety deposit box in a Swiss bank.

The absurdity of it all is the absence of any project cost analysis report, timetable, risk analysis and management, etc. It sounds more like "bahala na si Batman" to me.

Before I close, I would like to leave you with the following questions:
  • Are you willing to hand over some post dated and blank checks to the House of Representatives?
  • Do you trust that this RH Bill will result to any good at all when it clearly exhibits a lack of thorough research and analysis?
  • Who among the foreign pharmaceutical firms will be dumping selling us the materials and drugs for this project?
  • Would you not rather spend for projects like Emergency Management similar to what the U.S. and Canada are doing to prepare for disasters that are likely to happen? Look at what happened to our neighbors in Japan.
  • Do you want to give our corrupt-ridden government blanket authority over the future of your children's reproductive health? 

P.S. Thank you to Boyet Ignacio for his generosity in allowing me the use of his photo. His pictures really do speak a thousand words.

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