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Monday, June 6, 2011

People Development, not the RH Bill

June 2, 2011, 3:33am
MANILA, Philippines — Since so much has already been said in the debate on the RH bill, we would do well to reflect on the basic issues that we need to resolve in order to make our choice. These issues revolve around the following points:

The importance we give to people as assets for our economy. Those who regard them as essential, critical assets, provided we can properly take care of them, should be for a People Development (PD) bill rather than the current RH bill.

Practical, short-term alternatives to control (curbing) of population growth. Those who propose these alternatives as much more important and critical, such as good governance and anti-corruption, should be for an alternative PD bill.

Giving the choice to couples – who need to be educated on their over-all social responsibility – on the number of children they may have.

Those who insist that this choice is best left with couples, guided by their doctor and pastor should be for a PD bill (not the RH bill).

Faith in divine providence and making key decisions in God’s presence. Those who bring God into the center of any equation and decision ensure that reference to a transcendent power is never relegated out, and should be for a PD bill.

Ethical norms and standards apply to all, irrespective of creed, political beliefs and social, cultural orientation. Those who subscribe to the universality of moral norms for human decisions and actions should be for a PD bill (not the RH bill, which glosses over ethical lines, let alone Constitutional bars).

Value of human life and deep respect for human dignity. Those who give a premium to human life, as coming from God, and the fundamental dignity of a human person, who enjoys freedom with personal rights and duties, should be for a PD bill (not the RH bill, which views a person mainly as a number).

Horror of abortion and of artificial contraceptive means and methods with effects and consequences similar to abortion. Those who respect the Constitutional ban on abortion and those who believe that many of the contraceptive pills and devices bring about effects similar to abortion should naturally be against the RH bill.

Decision-making should be left at the lowest possible level of the social hierarchy, leaving to government only those decisions that cannot be taken responsibly by the lower social bodies. Those who subscribe to the principle of subsidiarity should be against the RH bill, which expands the role of government into decisions best left to couples within a family.

Parents have the primary duty for the education of their children, and this includes in particular sex education. Those who believe in the primordial role of parents in bringing up and educating their children should be for the PD bill (not the RH bill, which mandates sex education even without the involvement of parents).

Limited government resources are best focused on priorities that address the needs of people for education, livelihood, job creation, civic responsibility and good governance. Those who believe that these are more urgent priorities, which the government and society in partnership with each other should pursue effectively, should be for the PD bill (not the RH bill that dissipates government resources and creates division among our people).

The list of key, critical issues is far from complete. But it covers many of the concerns that have been raised in the debate on the RH bill.

May we, as a people, decide on these issues, taking into account our long-term positioning as a nation, without ever forgetting God and the imperative of observing universal ethical norms and standards!

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