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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Big Pharma and the RH Bill

As noted in a previous post, Herman Tiu Laurel is by no means a supporter of the Church, but this does not prevent him from speaking out versus the RH Bill.

Herman Tiu Laurel

As we near the climax — so to speak — of the so-called “Reproductive Health” (RH) debate, the main issue becomes all the more apparent as the excitement of the foreplay fades. One pro-RH columnist wrote in his column last Friday: “What is at the heart of the RH law — and this is what the anti-RH groups strangely underplay — is using government money to subsidize reproductive choices.” Well, lawyer-columnist, I am highlighting it in my column; and I say you and so many other pro-RH supporters are either being taken for a ride or are taking others for a ride on one of the biggest scams in this nation’s history.

It seems that the real reason for the RH bill is not stemming the Malthusian formulation of population robustness equals poverty, or preventing the spread of HIV, or promoting sex education, or upholding the woman’s right to decide on matters relating to her ovaries. The real purpose is “using government money to subsidize” sex choices!

RH bill proponents really have a strange idea of what government money or subsidy should be used for; and that is coincidentally the way Aquino III’s government and his “civil society” cohorts — who are all backing the RH bill to the hilt — think of it, too.

First of all, PeNoy does not look kindly on the subsidy for rice farmers that the National Food Authority has been extending all these decades. His Budget secretary has in fact made the motions of totally slashing the NFA budget several times. Neither does PeNoy view with kindness or understanding the appeal of millions of MRT/LRT commuters to continue with the state’s “subsidy” (if it can be called that) of their fares, which they solely rely on to travel daily from home to work or school, which is as basic a necessity as power and water in modern life. But when it comes to “reproductive choices” — or sex — this they will subsidize to the tune of billions!

The appeal for the MRT/LRT subsidy was met with different tactics of dissuasion by Aquino III to convince commuters that it is such a burden to government. And when the commuting public wasn’t fazed, PeNoy’s spokesmen even attempted to browbeat Metro Manila’s MRT/LRT-riding population into thinking that they’re being unfair, selfish and abusive for demanding this transport subsidy when the rest of the nation’s taxpayers aren’t using the system. Yet what these prevaricators conveniently omit is that these MRT/LRT commuters are precisely the majority that go to work everyday earning subsistence wages from which government exacts its pound of flesh in terms of taxes — taxes that pro-RH proponents would now want to subsidize the sex choices of the beneficiaries of “free contraceptives and condoms,” the poor and unemployed (that is, if these reach them at all, given that macho culture and inebriation are some reasons that condoms are cast to the wind).

The only thing certain is that, once it becomes law, billions will be specifically allocated by the RH bill, whereby its first approved budget “shall be included in the subsequent General Appropriations Act,” i.e. automatically appropriated and/or sponsored — in perpetuity. That budget is certain to reach Big Pharma (including the FVR-linked Carlyle Group), which then also translates to “automatic sales in perpetuity.” Equally certain are the congressmen’s pork barrel allocations for a least one RH van per congressional district (including drugs, condoms, sex education materials, staff and fuel) that will have the congressman’s likeness emblazoned for all to see. Then, all of these monies are sure to come from the nation’s taxpayers, a great majority of whom are Metro Manila commuters who won’t get any subsidy for their essential work-related fares.

Regarding the RH vans, it must stated that there is already a proliferation of barangay health centers with literally hundreds of thousands of health workers all over the country, so why the RH vans for each congressman, over and above the free ambulances? Local governments do have a big say in these health centers’ budgets and supplies, as well as the dispensation of essential drugs; but keep in mind that neither the national or local governments dedicate budgets for free medication for deadly diseases such a tuberculosis and dengue (go to East Avenue Medical Center and see how expensive these are for the poor).

Yet the bleeding hearts of PeNoy’s government as well as many RH bill proponents believe “contraceptives and condoms” deserve a subsidy of at least P3 billion or more (when we factor in other government agencies such as PhilHealth, National Anti-Poverty Commission, etc. being mandated to fund the RH program)?

An important observation was made by one veteran street parliamentarian about the RH bill proponents taking to the streets to picket, rally and demonstrate for this subsidy for the poor’s “reproductive choices.” He noted the brand new tarpaulins, canvasses and cardboards, and the gleaming colors of the streamers and placards used, not to mention the full page ads. These can only mean huge funds flowing into the pro-RH bill campaign.

I’m sure that — despite my opposition to the Church’s many positions — whenever the Roman Catholic Church funds its campaigns, we know where these are coming from; but for those activist groups associated with Etta Rosales and Dinky Soliman, just where do they get their money? I guess we shouldn’t look far.

We know that USAid, as mandated by Henry Kissinger’s 1974 NSSM 200 (which we have no space to elaborate on), has always been for population control; same with Big Pharma. And, lest we forget, these people have the conditional cash transfer funds at their disposal too, which, as of the latest news, has already been increased by P2 billion over the P21 billion originally allocated. Shades of the CodeNGO PeaceBonds again?

(Tune in to Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m., and Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8; visit and for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

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