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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More Filipino youth leaders speak out versus the RH Bill

From CBCP for Life:

MANILA, March 26, 2012—After a group of university student leaders declared its intention to campaign against lawmakers opposed to the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, several youth organizations representing an even bigger number of young people blasted the mistaken notion that majority of the youth are easily swayed by pro-RH propaganda.

Noisy minority

As for the statement made by the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) national spokesperson JC Tejano that “we are ready to launch the full force of the youth against anti-RH legislators,” Youth Pinoy! President Eileen Esteban remarked, “To me the statement is irresponsible and very assuming. It’s a hollow threat, propaganda to make them seemingly look huge but the truth is they are just a noisy minority.”

“SCAP is in no position to make wholesale statements about the voice of the youth on the RH issue. They are not even a quarter of the majority of the voting youth that they claimed to be, even if we talk of the numbers game,” she continued.

“You want to talk about the voice of the youth that reckons real numbers? Talk to millions of Catholic youth based in our 86 dioceses, the Catholic schools and the trans-parochial organizations with millions of members that extend globally — then we could talk of a threatening number.”

“In my opinion, the youth are the most intelligent sector in the voting population,” Esteban said, adding that she was at the PPCRV Command Center during the 2010 election, mobilizing millions of young people who wanted to take part in the historic first automated election.

“And their power to move on causes they truly believe in is just so spectacular that it’s almost miraculous. They are the vigilant and idealistic slice of the pie that inquires, critically studies and acts on a sound judgment. What made SCAP think that the youth will just give away their precious votes just because the candidate voted against the bill?! That’s wishful thinking.”

RH bill benefits only a few

“We the members of Federation of National Youth Organization are really standing up against the RH bill because we know that it will only destroy our family, our values, our morality, lalo na ng mga kabataan,” said Federation of National Youth Organizations (FNYO) Council Member Maria Lea Dasigan.

“Kung ‘di pag-aaralan, hindi natin maiintindihan na ang RH bill ay para lamang sa kapakanan ng mga iilan at hindi talaga para sa kapakanan ng mga kabataan.”

“Personally,” she added, “I don’t believe na marami [silang mga pro-RH] na parang nananakot na majority of the voting population are young and for the RH bill. I really don’t think so.”

The FNYO has organizations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and its members have recently come up with a signature campaign, the result of which they intend to send to Congress.

Part of the group’s preparations for the 2013 elections is educating its various organizations on electoral candidates who are true to pro-life legislation.

‘I am part of the youth and I oppose the RH bill’

Even students of the University of the Philippines pointed out that newly elected University Student Council (USC) chair Heart Diño, who expressed support for the RH bill at the SCAP press conference, does not reflect their convictions.

“Heart Diño’s seat in the USC was favored by a mere 17.02% of UP’s student population. Heart was voted into the council by 3,290 students out of roughly 19,300. Tell me, does Heart Diño speak the voice of UP’s studentry? Ideally, yes. But in reality, no,” stated Kiboy Tabada, convenor of UP Against the RH Bill.

“Heart was reported to have said that lawmakers ‘should not belittle the youth vote,’ that ‘they should listen to what the youth are actually saying.’ Listen to the youth? Or listen to you? I am part of the youth and I oppose the RH Bill. I believe that a lawmaker’s vote for the RH Bill is a vote against the real welfare of the youth, against the future of the youth. And I speak for the youth who stand against it and for the rest of my generation who do not know that it’s their future that’s at stake. On this matter, Heart Diño does not speak my voice. By what strong mandate can Heart speak the youth’s voice?”

Pro-life legislators can bank on youth support

The engineering student also reiterated his group’s all-out support for legislators who act on a genuine, life-affirming concern for the youth and for the future of the country.

“To pro-life legislators, stand your ground. The youth are with you. The youth know that you have our best interests in mind in your opposition to the RH Bill. There is no honor in instilling fear to get you to vote for the measure. There is no honor in ruining someone else’s credibility to forward our own. We from UP Diliman ought to know this. We remain ready to speak for and defend our position by its merits. And we will stand with and campaign for you by your merits as real representatives of the youth’s welfare,” Tabada declared.

John Walter Juat, also of UP Against the RH Bill, said that though the pro-RH student group was free to present its views, “I want to firmly say that they do not represent even close to the majority of those in the youth sector.”

‘Peaceful but strong assertiveness’ marks anti-RH campaign

“While the pro-RH camp may choose to go with ‘wrath,’” he continued (referring to the news item’s title ‘RH bill foes face the wrath of student groups’), “the anti-RH camp will choose the peaceful but strong assertiveness to convince our legislators to take a stand against this divisive bill, and support the pro-life legislators in the next election. The pro-RH individuals noted in the article may be university leaders, but they do not intimidate us, even a little bit. The fight to preserve our nation’s pro-life, pro-family, pro-God culture will continue and will not stop until this RH bill is finally trashed.”

World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific (WYAAP) regional director Renelyn Tan blasts the misleading assertion that the RH bill will empower women as well as provide a solution to poverty.

Youth know RH bill is not the answer

“Working with young people in World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific allows me to see the great concern they have on issues relating to women and children. Our members clearly do not want women dying during childbirth or children missing out on opportunities but unfortunately, the current RH bill version does not provide a holistic way of addressing the fundamental causes of poverty and challenges to true women empowerment,” Tan said.

In an earlier statement, Tan explained that she and other young people find it unfortunate that the media often portrays young people as “callous, who don’t know when to stop. But this is not true,” she asserted.

“Kaming mga kabataan, we are all made for excellence and we really hope that our government, our institutions, our leaders and civil society will be able to provide [the necessary conditions] because our lives should be seen as an expression of our intrinsic and inviolable dignity. We would like to reiterate that young people are not only sexual beings.”

“Much has been said about the RH bill, but it cannot be an issue totally conclusive of a young person’s future,” Esteban of Youth Pinoy! added.

“Education comprises the biggest chunk, though we’re not talking about sex education here but good quality education that leads to an individual’s progress.” (CBCP for Life)

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