Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Anti-Catholic and yet Anti-RH Bill. Yes, it could happen! - 1
DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
I have not previously commented on the RH or Reproductive Health Bill since I know it is not a highly essential action that will address the poverty of this nation. First off, the Malthusian argument that population robustness equals poverty is inane, as a simple comparison easily shows:
Japan, with a population of around 130 million (the 10th largest in the world), has a per capita income of $35,500 while the Philippines, with a population of around 94 million (ranking 12th in the world), has a per capita income of only $2,000. Before the 2010 elections, where the previous lame-duck government’s spending-inflated GDP “growth” became the basis for this latest estimate by some economists, ours even hovered lower at around $1,500 to $1,700 per capita.
The point is, the pro-RH proponents’ propaganda, based on an imaginary correlation between poverty and population, is hogwash — characteristic of the pigsty that is Congress, more so when spewed from the mouths of the usual pro-FVR-Gloria Arroyo porkers. (NB: Gloria Arroyo herself is anti-RH bill. -- CAP)
Rep. Edcel Lagman, for one, with the help of his allied NGOs and “cost”-oriented groups, has been taking many people for a ride without revealing the highway robbery built into the RH wagon. Few people know that the original bill presented before Congress already contained a list of brands of contraceptives and other birth control paraphernalia that was only subsequently removed when certain quarters began to smell something scandalously foul.
Big Pharma all over the world, particularly in the Philippines, is well known to provide lavish commissions and paybacks to its agents, promoters, medical prescribers, as well as to political lobby clients and NGOs. Many of these NGOs beholden to foreign funding, such as those linked with Etta Rosales and other Noynoy “leftists,” are with Lagman’s campaign. Ditto the likes of pro-Big Pharma, anti-natural medicine former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral and former (so he says) Carlyle Group director Fidel Ramos.
The transnational investment group Carlyle, which makes use not only of corporate but also global political clout in promoting its military-industrial interests, is also into pharmaceuticals in a very big way. William Shannon reports: “The Carlyle Group… manages nearly US$13 billion investments in various pharmaceutical laboratory and telecommunication, waterway transport companies.” He further calls it a “tentacular financial complex” and lists its “four most significant companies” (and their principal activities and periodic turnovers in parentheses) as: 1) Empi, Inc. (medical drugs and products, $73 million for year 2000); 2) MedPointe Inc. (drugs and condoms, $223 million estimated for 2001); 3) United Defense Industries Inc. (manufacture of tanks and armored vehicles, $1.18 billion for 2000); and 4) United States Marine Repair (the largest American company of non-nuclear warships, $400 million for 2000).
Disguised in this RH bill are the interests of Lagman and his ilk in the legislature (egged along by the similarly financially lascivious Big Pharma): automatic appropriation of the budget for their pork barrel plus government’s purchase of birth control “devices and supplies” as stipulated in Section 30 of the final draft of the RH Bill which states, “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… Such additional sums… shall be included in the subsequent GAA.”
You see, more funds will have to be allocated (taken from PhilHealth), with the PDAF or pork barrel requiring additional allocation to the delight of those porkers in Congress, along with Big Pharma selling these “devices and supplies” while obtaining a declaration of such as “essential drugs,” thereby opening these to “tax free” classification.
Furthermore, according to the draft, each congressional district “shall” be provided with a “mobile health care service unit,” which will, of course, sport the names of the congressmen and maybe the NGOs working with them. Legislators say the bill will only cost P3 billion; but when you add all the other funding sources (including the Anti-Poverty Commission, which will be required to chip in), then it will run to over tens of billions of pesos!
Meanwhile, RH bill spinmasters, both foreign and local, have been very good at framing the issue as an emotional cause for “women’s rights,” as a fight for “their own bodies,” etc., which no one can argue against. However, in some women’s groups’ hysteria, what is being missed is that they, too, are being used to swindle this nation of its much fed-upon budget pie.
The Magna Carta for Women already protects women more than a chastity belt can; and even among them, many recoil from the idea of removing constraints on abortion. Moreover, nobody follows the Church diktat against the use of condoms and contraceptives anymore (except for those who are still fearful or ignorant), so what else is at issue? (It should be obvious that I vehemently disagree with this. -- CAP)
This is perhaps why RH bill spinmasters have thrown in many red herrings, such as the control of HIV — even when a country such as Thailand still leads the world in HIV incidence despite its well known free condoms program. I am told that this is also the case in Bangladesh.
That said, the prevalence of HIV is a problem of values and social education, not sex education. It’s a problem of media culture too. Some young students having their OJT in my radio program have raised an upsetting problem — that of too many young girls (as young as 12) getting pregnant and selling their bodies for sex. But isn’t that a problem of poverty as well — a poverty spawned not by population per se but by a socio-economic system that is exploitative; that concentrates national wealth in an infinitesimal few; and extracts surplus out of the country in the form of unjust debt and taxes, ad nausea?
Ah, but such is the systemic cancer that the RH robbery hold-up gangs and their foreign partners, with their RH debates, would want to distract us from.|