Friday, May 20, 2011
All about money
SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star)
Updated May 20, 2011 12:00 AM
The debate on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill resumed in Congress this week, where the pros and the antis debate once more on this highly-toxic issue, often with those supporting the RH bill (notice they have dropped their new name Responsible Parenthood and returned to using once again the term Reproductive Health) peddling lies in order to sell their proposed bill. I fully agree with pundits that this controversy has polarized the Filipino people. I would even dare say that something good has come out of this debate because it allowed the Filipino people to totally look at the RH bill from different angles... from the moral, the legal to the economic issue - whether our large population is the cause of our poverty.
Yes, those supporting the RH Bill would dare, misinform, cajole or even lie to the Filipino so that they could have this bill passed, while those that are against the RH bill can only tell you one story... the truth!
We’ve so often quoted the world’s foremost liar, Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister (who at the end of the German Reich killed his own family and committed suicide) who made this most quoted quotation, “A lie repeated a thousand times, assumes the substance of truth.”
The RH bill has been peddled in Congress since the year 1999 in so many different House Bill numbers, selling us all sorts of lies, like for instance, contraceptives are not abortifacient. The latest that was revealed no less than by the former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral is that contraceptives can cause breast cancer, though it reduces the risk of cervical cancer.
But one good news out of this debate comes from Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who expressed his opposition to the RH bill saying, “As far as we are concerned here, I don’t think it is a priority. I’ll be very frank with you. As far as I’m concerned, I am not ready to tinker with anything that is an act of God.” Thank God for Sen. Enrile, but what about Sen. Ed Angara and Sen. Miriam Santiago, who recently attacked the Pacman? Ah, that’s what we shall tackle in our column tomorrow.
Meanwhile, there’s that alleged anomaly that Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III exposed during his privilege speech concerning a P2.6 billion allocation for Family Health Programs during the time of Health Sec. Cabral dubbed the Maternal Neonatal and Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) program of the local government units (LGU) which some LGUs say they never got. Sen. Sotto is right in asking for an investigation into this potential mess before the Senate would tackle the RH Bill, which also earmarks a large amount of government funds.
There’s more to the corruption issue now plaguing the RH controversy and it’s about money, money and more money from faceless pharmaceutical lobbyists who no doubt are funding Congressmen and women who support the RH Bill. Here’s a letter that reveals this reality.
“Dear Bobit, I have always wondered why the RH Bill is being pushed through even though with or without it, the consumer is free to purchase contraceptives in the counter. So I made some analysis. Based on National Census Statistics Board data 2000, about 24 percent of the Philippine population is above 20 years old. Based on the same statistics, about 50 percent of that are females.
“Considering we have a total population of about 90 million that means the total population of Filipinos above 20 years old is about 22 million. Half of that would be 11 million females. This is the present target market for contraceptives. If I am not mistaken, based on what I have found out from the internet, the cost of using birth control pills is about P1,000 a month.
“The total potential value of the market in the Philippines is therefore computed to be: 11 million x P1,000 per month x 12 months or a total of P132 billion per year. The problem for the contraceptive manufacturers is that 90 percent of the market belongs to the lower income who cannot afford to spend P1,000 per month. So in order to give this market purchasing power, the RH Bill is now being pushed to enable the government to use taxpayer’s money to subsidize these contraceptives.
“To further expand the market, the 10 to 15 years old will be given sex education in school and they will be allowed to purchase contraceptives even without the consent of their parents. That could mean another 4,000,000 potential users. The value of this additional market is calculated to be another P48 billion. Adding the two markets gives us a whooping valuation of P180 billion per year. Now I understand why the RH Bill is being pushed very hard. God bless! - Bobby Tordesillas.” No bill in Congress has been so thoroughly debated, dissected and discussed by the pros and the cons of various sectors of society. I have read and heard most if not all the comments for and against the RH Bill, but this angle has never been presented in this manner.
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