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

Friday, January 27, 2012

Our young population is our natural resource.

Uneven world
Benjamin G. Defensor
November 06, 2011 01:41

THERE will be seven billion people in the world this year and the usual doomsday scenarios will abound. Mass Media are busy squeezing the last ounce of novelty from the 7th billionth baby and there is bound to be as many 7th million babies as there are countries counting.

In 1999, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan had his picture taken Bosnian baby, Adnan Mevic, said to be the Earth’s 6th billionth baby. For all the publicity that the Mevic family had, they continue to struggle in poverty. This time around, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-mon has refrained from naming a symbolic 7th billionth Earthling because of the cruel world the baby will face.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Vice Rector of EDSA Shrine versus the RH Bill

Fr. Gerard Reyes is the Vice-Rector of EDSA Shrine.

Rally against the RH Bill before the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC

A rally against RH Bill was staged in front of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC January 23, 2012 before the March for Life. It was apparently organized by members of CFC-FFL.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Inquirer's surprisingly positive editorial on the HSBC report

(For the background to this editorial see this.)

Because it was released in the run-up to Monday’s Chinese Lunar New Year, the HSBC report, “The World in 2050,” has been met with incredulity, with critics attributing it to the geomancy typical of the season. But the report merely confirms, albeit in bolder terms, the rise of the Pacific Century, which has been heralded close to a generation ago. Most of the forecast largest economies and “star performers,” like the Philippines, Peru and Mexico, are in the Pacific Rim. 
When he was president (1992-1998), Fidel V. Ramos made “Philippines 2000”—that is, the rise of the country as a dragon economy—his centerpiece. He could at least now take comfort in the fact that his vision has been more or less reaffirmed by the HSBC during, propitiously enough, the Year of the Dragon. 
But even if the bank says that Philippine growth would be the most dramatic since it would leapfrog by 27 notches from its current status, Filipinos want more. Why wait for 38 years before the Philippines? 
The answer is that all of the nation’s struggles are part of its learning curve. What the Philippines should do is to embrace the present with all its challenges. To be sure, the report does not consider how the communist and Muslim conflicts, both incidentally some 40 years old now, may dampen Philippine growth. 
Still, the Philippines holds the biggest promise, according to HSBC, because of its robust population growth. In a rare moment of technocratic candor, HSBC virtually declares that high population is an economic plus, rather than a minus. “The losers are the small populations and aging economies of Europe,” the report says. Emerging economies of Eastern Europe would do well in the next decade “before demographics prove to be a drag.” Japan, predicted to slide down further behind China and India, would see its working population shrink by 37 percent because of demographic winter. Russia may have the world’s largest territory and is set to become the 15th biggest economy in 2050. But it would be just a step ahead of pygmy Philippines and its declining population would shrink its GDP by 31 percent. 
The task now is to invest in human resources...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Does the RH bill defy God? An open letter

This was published on page A-7 of the January 4, 2012 issue of Business Mirror.

Note: the paper "The Right to Life - The Greatest of All Rights" which is referred to at the beginning of this article can be found HERE.

Does the Rh Bill Defy God

(I haven't included this document's comprehensive list of references in this post.)

The right to life, the most basic right of all

The Right to Life - The Greatest of All Human Rights

What's this "Natural Law" and why is it relevant to the debate over the RH bill?

Here's the long answer to these questions: Jemy Gatdula's three-part series on the importance of natural law to legislation and to legal considerations regarding contraception in particular.

Returning to natural law
More on natural law
Contraception and natural law

Is the RH bill opposed to free speech and religious freedom? An Evangelical pro-lifer's view

by Melissa A. Poblete 
January 16, 2012

You have probably heard the RH supporters’ claims that the RH bill will give “informed choice” to the public, that it is for “women’s health” and for “obstetric care”. However behind this benign rhetoric is the heavy hand of the State in RH indoctrination. Section 16 is all about mandatory sex education for ALL students (both private or public schools, regardless of religious affiliation) – from grade 5 to 4th year high school. Section 24 ensures a nationwide RH “mass indoctrination” by “a heightened nationwide multi-media campaign to raise the level of public awareness of the protection and promotion of reproductive health and rights including family planning and population and development.” Far from offering the public informed choice, it actually sets up an RH indoctrination platform, where no one is allowed to express disagreement nor speak their opinions on the intent of the bill under pain of imprisonment.

You see, the RH bill is coercive. Why is it coercive? It punishes those who object to its provisions. It punishes those who will teach something different from its provisions.

How can it be coercive? Look at Section 28, “Prohibited Acts”

1. The RH bill punishes local government officials, regardless of their religious beliefs, budgets, and provinces’ health needs, if they do not implement the RH bill in their local government unit.

2. The RH bill punishes health professionals who withhold information on RH services, and it especially targets those who will do so because of religious convictions. If a pro-life, Catholic nurse or obstetrician chooses to only teach natural family planning to a patient, it is her right to do so and no law should force her to recommend artificial contraception.

3. The RH bill punishes health professionals who refuse to give RH services. And the religious objectors are required to refer. Why should someone who is objecting be forced to refer , against his own conscience, by a law?

4. The RH bill punishes anyone who “will engage in malicious disinformation” about the intents and provisions of the bill. The RH bill dissenters who have different opinions than those who crafted the RH bill are the targets here. Obviously, it will not apply to RH supporters and advocates.

Besides, who determines what it the “correct” information and what is “incorrect” (to determine what is“disinformation”)? The RH sponsors, lobbyists, advocates and their resource persons. YET, in the present RH bill debates in Congress and the social media, RH bill advocates, lobbyists, supporters are ALREADY denying RECENT(dated May 2011) unbiased evidence-based scientific information (from the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer , no less) that states that “combined oral contraceptives are group 1 CARCINOGENS” and that “there is SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE on the carcinogenicity of combined oral contraceptives”. If these people who wrote the RH bill and are lobbying for it are denying medical facts NOW, how can they be trusted to determine correct information? Medical science is ever-changing, and new researches reveal causes, effects and correlations that were not known before. In this example, carcinogenicity of combined oral contraceptives is established by new findings. How can a proposed law punish “disinformation”, in the ever-changing field of medical science?

Moreover, RH advocates are also denying basic scientific facts like the beginning of life. From high school we are taught that a new human life begins at fertilization, at the moment of zygote formation. We have RH advocates who call the unborn as “not human” or “not persons” and those who arbitrarily, but absurdly, move the beginning of life from the moment of fertilization to implantation. With these absurd unscientific assertions of RH advocates, how can the RH bill determine what is “incorrect” or what is “disinformation” when they themselves deny plain-as-day scientific facts and findings?

To be truly fair, RH advocates denying scientific facts and downplaying cancer risks from oral contraceptives must also be punished because these are all medical disinformation. But if it is ONLY these RH consultants/advocates who will determine what is “correct”, then ONLY pro-life advocates will be punished. This is highly discriminatory and truly biased.

The RH bill is like a giant indoctrination and coercion machine. It violates the principles of free speech, and the freedom to practice one’s religion. These are just more reasons to say NO to the RH bill.

What Responsible Parenthood should mean

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My two articles for Catholic World Report on the RH Bill

The Tipping Point. An aggressive campaign to promote contraceptives picks up steam in the Philippines  -- published in the November 2011 issue of Catholic World Report

A Two-Child Policy in the Catholic Philippines? That day approaches, as the legislative assault on the country’s moral traditions accelerates. -- published in the May 2009 issue of Catholic World Report

Two articles that touch on the relation between the Philippines' population growth and its economic future

From Bernardo Villegas' January 12, 2012 column "What to expect in 2012":
I expect at least a 6% growth of GDP for the whole of 2012. Thanks to our not being too export dependent, we are partly insulated from the stagnation that the world economy will experience in 2012. Exports account for a little over 30% of our GDP in contrast with close to 200% in such tiger economies as Singapore and Hong Kong. 
These rich countries will see their GDP suffering from either a decline or a significant slowdown. Not the Philippines nor Indonesia, nor China nor India. They can thank their large populations which guarantee a large domestic market for their local businesses. Although I do not accept at face value the prediction by some population commission officials that the Philippine population will reach 97 million by the end of 2012 (it will be closer to 95 million), I welcome the talk of a large population. A large population attracts investors, both domestic and foreign, because of the strong domestic market they see. 
Even the lowest-income households (the so-called D and E markets) can offer attractive markets for the savvy business man who knows how to mine the "bottom of the pyramid." Ask Procter and Gamble, Unilever, Jollibee, McDonald's, Alaska Milk Corporation, Lucky Me, Nestle, etc. They are creative enough to design products that can be sold to the poorest of the poor. 
Just to humor a geomancer I overheard in a New Year's television program, let me agree with his "prediction" that the "water" attached to the Dragon symbolizes a flood of investments and consumption expenditures in the Philippines for 2012. This "flood" is made possible by the significant increase in domestic savings over the last four to five years and the still healthy demographic profile of the country in which the young still outnumber significantly the senior citizens. To the RH Bill proponent, let me repeat: It's the large population, stupid! 
What about "inclusive growth"? Will the growth lead to alleviating mass poverty? I am optimistic because I see the efforts of Vice President Binay complementing the excellent work of the economic team in controlling inflation and mobilizing funds for investments with pro-poor projects. I see the Vice President trying to replicate at the national level what he did when he was Mayor of Makati in ensuring that growth in one of the richest cities in the country would trickle down to the poor in terms of quality education in the public schools, health care, housing and welfare for the senior citizens. 
It was a very wise move of the President to assign the Vice President to two of the most effective channels to uplift the conditions of the masses: social housing and OFW welfare. Another source of optimism is the work I see being done at the Department of Public Works and Highways whose leadership is addressing the decades-old problem of inadequate rural and agricultural infrastructures. 
Next to providing their children with access to quality public education, the greatest service we can give to the poor, who are mostly in the rural areas, is to endow them with the infrastructures they need to make their small farms productive and to bring their produce to the markets cost effectively. 
We may not achieve our targets for the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, but we are headed towards the right direction. We are applying emergency measures to alleviate the economic sufferings of the poorest of the poor through the Conditional Cash Transfer program. 
But even more important for the medium-term reduction of poverty, we are creating the right environment for both public and private investments in the countryside, the only sustainable way of creating employment opportunities and thereby reducing mass poverty.

The following article has been doing the rounds among Filipino Facebook accounts:

12-Jan-12, Joseph Villanueva, 
MANILA, Philippines - HSBC said the Philippine economy may become the 16th largest in the world by 2050, dwarfing neighbors Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. 
The British banking giant said the Philippines could even outgrow oil-producing Saudi Arabia - host to the biggest concentration of overseas Filipino workers - or the Netherlands, which is home to a number of multinational companies. 
The forecast is contained in a study projecting the size of a hundred economies 40 years hence. HSBC expanded the report from the original 30-country review published in 2011. 
HSBC said the Philippine economy would likely expand 15 times from $112 billion today to $1.69 trillion in 2050. The forecast sends the Philippines 27 notches above its current ranking of 47 in the original group of 50 economies reviewed. 
“Our ranking is based on an economy’s current level of development and the factors that will determine whether it has the potential to catch up with more developed nations. These fundamentals include current income per capita, rule of law, democracy, education levels and demographic change, allowing us to project forward the gross domestic product (GDP) forward,” HSBC said. 
It said the Philippines' likely improvement would owe more to an expanding population than to any improvement in individual wealth. 
The Philippines joins a group of 26 countries that are expected to register the fastest growth through 2050 at five percent a year on average. 
Countries in this group “share a very low level of development but have made great progress in improving fundamentals. As they open themselves to the technology available elsewhere, they should enjoy many years of ‘copy and paste’ growth ahead,” HSBC said. 
Other members of the group are China, India, Egypt, Malaysia, Peru, Bangladesh, Algeria, Ukraine, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Tanzania and Kazakhstan, among others. 
A second group of countries whose growth would average from three to five percent includes Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Russia, Indonesia, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and New Zealand. 
Cellar-dwellers include developed economies such as the US, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Autralia, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, South Africa, Austria, Sweden, Belgium, Singapore, Israel, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, Norway, Portugal, Finland, Denmark, Cuba, Qatar, Uruguay, Luxemburg and Slovenia.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Not the kind of foreign aid we need

From Bobit Avila's January 5, 2012 column entitled "Is the UN sneaking an RH program in Mindanao?"
If you lost family or children due to the flash floods that devastated Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City and Dumaguete City and are still able to have children, chances are, you will have more children to replace the ones who perished in that flood. I’m writing this because of the thousands that perished in that flood, many of them small children. Of course, we know well enough that making babies is not a priority for the victims as of now. 
This is why I was appalled by a report that came from another paper last Monday that the Manila office of the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) proposed an allocation of $1.76 million (P77 million) to address the “Reproductive health needs of displaced populations, as well as the monitoring, prevention and containment of possible outbreak of disease.” Say what? 
This only proves to you that the UN attached agencies just want to pursue their own abortion agenda even if the Philippines has not yet approved the RH bill. This should trigger the question: can this UN agency pursue its own RH agenda whether the host country allows it or not? 
Perhaps a bigger question we ought to ask is, “whether or not this program has the blessings of the Aquino regime.” Knowing how badly P-Noy wants to pass the RH bill, I wouldn’t be surprised if what Ocha is doing in Mindanao has the President’s imprimatur. Could this be the President’s way of shortcutting the Legislative process? 
Perhaps the UN Ocha does not realize (but I think they know this too well) that the priority of the displaced people now living in evacuation centers is not to have sex with their partners and make babies... rather their priority is to put a roof on their heads. We already heard on TV many victims being interviewed that most of their basic needs have already been addressed by the tons of donations given by the Filipino people. Most complain about not having a house to return to. Many are asking if they can find work. The priorities of the calamity victims are very clear to us and we should help them get back on their feet as soon as possible. 
But obviously the Manila office of Ocha has a hidden agenda when it launched the “Philippines (Mindanao) Humanitarian Action Plan 2012” purportedly to raise $28 million (P1.26 billion) to help the hundreds of thousands of victims of Sendong... supposedly to give them drinking water, food and an emergency shelter. But in truth, they are mere smokescreen for their real objective, and that is to distribute reproductive health kits and cull the population in Northern Mindanao.

I dare say that the UN Ocha office should back down with their sinister plans. They should use that money to help the victims get back on their feet. At this point, we ought to ask Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (JPE) to conduct a Senate investigation as to whether or not this UN agency is implementing an RH program even if the Philippines has not yet approved the law on RH. What does the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) say about sneaking this RH program into the country?