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

Friday, April 20, 2012

HLI Documentary versus the RH Bill now online

Human Life International's documentary on the fight against the RH bill in the Philippines can now be viewed on the following page:

The Philippines: Preserving a Culture of Life

The Youth, the RH Bill and Humanae Vitae

If RH bill is for "choice", then why does it endanger freedom of religion?

From CBCP for Life:

MANILA, April 19, 2012—As pro-lifers in the United States gear up for another nationwide rally for religious freedom in June to protest the birth control mandate, numerous Filipinos still need to open their eyes to the fact that one of the Philippine government’s proposed measures violates the freedom of religion.

Atty. Ma. Concepcion Noche, president of the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc. (ALFI) said that the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, which has divided the nation due to contradictory viewpoints and insufficient understanding of its implications, tramples on the people’s religious freedom, a freedom protected by the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

Based on the bill, healthcare workers and medical professionals are forced to provide RH supplies and services or participate in practices that go against their religious convictions — referring patients to others who would provide the services concerned is participation nonetheless. Employers also must either provide RH services to their employees or suffer the consequences as specified by the legislative measure.

“Dangling a criminal penalty of imprisonment and/or fine, believers will find themselves torn between fidelity to God and loyalty to their country. This unjustly limits the right to conscientious objection on the part of health care workers and medical professionals,” Noche explained.

“For the exercise of religious freedom to be truly meaningful, individuals should be allowed to profess and practice their faith by freely seeking and serving God in their hearts, in their lives and in their relationship with others, without fear of persecution or punishment. Only in this way can this right be truly guaranteed,” Noche pointed out.

The current set-up already allows respect for the religious beliefs of everyone, the lawyer said.

“But once a national policy on contraception is legislated, that changes the landscape altogether. Making it a matter of national policy or institutionalizing contraception via RH Bill and allocating billions of our scarce resources, will deprive us of our choice because the government will effectively have made that choice already for the Filipino families,” she explained.

What ‘separation of Church and State’ means

Much as separation of Church and State has been invoked by those who insist that the practice of one’s moral convictions has no place in the public square, this principle has often been misunderstood.

“Under our Constitution, the command against the violation of the separation of the Church and State is directed to the State — not to the Church — which is mandated to steer clear of the religious realm and give utmost respect to the exercise of religion. So, with the RH Bill, is the State poised to breach this wall of separation?” Noche remarked.

“The State exists for persons, as a guarantor and defender of their rights,” she continued. “In the face of ever-changing social conditions that confront us as individuals and as a people, the central question is: What are the requirements that government may reasonably impose upon its citizens and how far should they extend?”

Religious convictions have no place in the political process, some RH bill advocates have said. Noche, on the other hand, disagreed with this notion.

On the contrary, “As demonstrated by St. Thomas More when he defied the sovereign of which he was a “good servant” and chose to serve God first, religion has an important place in the political process. For indeed, it has been proven time and again that for democracy to be stable, it needs a foundation of moral principles based upon faith and religion.” (CBCP for Life)

Even without an RH Bill, the Philippines' population growth rate is still declining

Valeriano Avila 

The BusinessWorld’s Monday edition headline entitled “Population Count at P92.34M” is something that we’ve already known and written intensely. Allow me to quote the opening statement of that article, “The country’s population ballooned to 92.34 million in 2010 even as the pace of growth has slowed, latest official estimates show.” This is what we’ve been harping about in the last two years under the Aquino Regime that continues to insist that we need a Reproductive Health (RH) Bill to cull our purportedly “runaway” population growth.

This was the report that came from the 2010 Census of Population and Housing by the National Statistics Office (NSO) which proves that our annual population growth rate is only 1.9% when it should be at least 2.1%. This means our population is now declining, to think we don’t even have an RH Bill yet, as it is still being debated in the Congress floor. We have already more than emphasized that when populations go on a decline, it will take at least 3 or 4 generations before the decline can be arrested.

Our best example to date is Japan, whose population peaked after World War II, but then because of the remarkable economic growth that Japan experienced after the war, her population started to decline in the last 60 years. Today, so many kindergarten schools have shut down. Middle or high school campuses are almost empty and there are more old people walking the streets than young people.

By the time the Japanese government realized their serious mistake, it was already too late for them. Just a couple of years ago, at least two major Japanese multinational companies urged their employees to go home early and make babies. I don’t know if that program had an effect on Japan’s economic growth. Another country is Singapore, which, due to their being a small country, had no choice but to build high rise tenement housing for their people. Thus, with limited room, they could ill-afford to have more children because of their cramp spaces.

Now, Singapore is trying to attract an expat population so they could hire the best and the brightest from other nations. Without this, Singapore’s economy would ground to a halt. We are so blessed here in the Philippines because we have a robust population growth. Look at all the nations experiencing a robust economic growth in these times… China, India. I rest my case.

Without a doubt, the Philippines does not need an RH Bill. If there is anything that we direly need, it is to stop the imbalance in our money or wealth distribution. The rich continues to thrive, while the poor remains in that vicious cycle of poverty with no prospect of getting out of it. If the lot of the poor in our society can be elevated to become the middle class, it would mean a balanced distribution of wealth.

There’s a book entitled “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty” written by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, which syndicated columnist Thomas Friedman wrote about recently. I already ordered this book in FullyBook as I don’t want to get it in e-books. Anyway, the present system of governance in this country, where the ruling political and business elite have all but excluded the poor from our nation’s development, only tells you what we’ve been saying all along… we need a total overhaul of our current centralized system. If we don’t, someday Myanmar will overtake us and this is a reality we could face in the future.

Meanwhile, there’s that phenomenon whereby so many people living in the rural areas are migrating to live in urban centers. This is something that the Philippine government ought to look into. Manila based commentators insist that we are overpopulated because, like what the last Census has shown, the CALABARZON area is now the most populous with 12.61 million people living in the outskirts of Metro Manila, which is has become the second placer with 11.86 million people. Cebu with 2.62 million is not bad.

Once more we appeal to our readers, especially those Catholics whose hearts are close to our Lord Jesus Christ to come out in the open and help expose this despicable crime that would fall upon our nation under the guise of being a health program to protect women, when the reality is, the RH Bill is merely aimed to legalize the killing of the unborn.

Incidentally, I was at the drugstore the other day getting my prescription medicines and saw condoms, which you could buy over the counter in all drugstores. So if condoms are freely available (not only in drugstores but even in convenience stores), why is there a need to legislate this? Clearly the aim is to let corporations pay for the condoms or other contraceptive needs of its employees… something that unfortunately even the Cebu Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (CCCI) are totally unaware of.

Who's scared of 92.3 M Filipinos?

The following was published on the website of Business Mirror on April 17, 2012:

Mercedes B. Suleik 

“92.3 MILLION AND GROWING!” screamed the headline of one broadsheet. This was followed by the sub-headline “100 million Filipinos by 2015” which would simply scare the heebie-jeebies out of anyone. And of course, seized upon by the proponents of the RH Bill, as a great way of pushing their agenda forward—how are all those mouths going to be fed?

Once again one of oldest myths of economic literature which continue to belabour the consequences of population on the pace and process of economic growth is being rehashed. The Malthusian proposition of 1798 has become some kind of dogma to population junkies. Proponents of this doctrine have sanitized it to look like an innocuous, reasonable proposal to promote economic development. Poor countries, let’s be honest and say, the Philippines, has been the target of this campaign to “manage population” as a national policy.

Expanded elaborations of the Malthusian theme raised the bogey of difficulties of feeding expanding populations and of pressures on capital formation – assessments we might say were mostly concerned with short-run, direct impacts and downplayed indirect and longer-run effects that would likely occur due to price responses, institutional changes, and certainly technological innovations that poor old Malthus never imagined would ever come to pass. As a matter of fact, well-known economist Simon Kuznets, basing his conclusion on longer-run assessments, found that based on simple correlations, a net negative impact of population growth on per capita output was not obvious in the data. Indeed, a number of findings highlighting both the productivity of human capital and the importance of technical change put into question the highly pessimistic Malthusian underpinnings of the population bomb theories.

Now comes an even more positive window of opportunity in the development of society and a nation—studies that show a demographic dividend that countries such as our may exploit, by laying down appropriate policies that would make possible faster rates of economic growth and human development as fertility rates decline.

In the case of the Philippines, its population has increased at the average rate of 1.9 percent annually for the period 2000-2010 (in contrast to the lie that has been fed to our legislators and RH advocates – 1.9 percent versus the touted 2.3 percent, happily endorsed by USAID and UN-MDG people who have dangled the carrot of development with the stick of birth control—even non-statisticians can see the huge difference!

What is this demographic dividend? Simply stated, the demographic dividend occurs when a falling birth rate changes the age distribution so that fewer investments are needed to meet the needs of the youngest age groups and resources are released for investment in economic development and family welfare. A falling birth rate makes for a smaller population at young, dependent ages and for relatively more people in the adult age groups – who comprise the productive labor force. It improves the ratio of productive workers to child dependents in the population, allowing for faster economic growth and fewer burdens on families.

It may be mentioned that the effect of this drop in fertility rates is not immediate. There is a lag that produces a generational population bulge that for a time exerts a burden on society and increases the dependency ratio. Eventually this dependent group will reach the productive labor force, and the dependency ratio will decline dramatically, leading to the so-called demographic dividend. This is the time when effective policies can facilitate more rapid economic growth, putting less strain on families. During the course of the demographic dividend, four mechanisms that will benefit society may be delivered through increased labor supply; increase in savings; human capital; and increased domestic demand.

Indeed, no less than BSP Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr. stated that the country’s large population of young workers with purchasing power provides the economy with the demographic dividends that are good for consumption and investments. This period in an economy’s history where more people or a prominent portion of the population is of working age results in greater purchasing power which can drive consumption, savings, and investment. He said that our average age is 22.2 years, with nearly half a million graduates entering the labor force each year, providing companies with a large pool of manpower to fill their requirements. By 2015, Tetangco said, we will reach that demographic sweet spot.

Our country should take advantage of the opportunity to enhance the key features of the economic life cycle. The productivity of young people depends not just on the availability of jobs but on their capacity to take up employment opportunities, i.e., education. As an aside, it has also been mentioned that there is a “second demographic dividend” which relates to a large proportion of older working age people who face longer periods of retirement, accumulate assets, and contribute to the economy’s consumption, savings, and investment. May I appeal to the one-track minded anti-life advocates to sit up straight and think through the benefits of the demographic dividend that we have been blessed with – and by the way, this dividend period, according to Wikipedia, is neither automatic or permanent and would last approximately five decades. So we better not muff it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On the courage of pro-life youths in the face of RH propaganda


The youth, as everyone knows, is a major stakeholder in this RH Bill, and this is the very reason why I find it very important to speak up about it. As a youth and as a concerned citizen of our beloved country, I want my voice to be heard as well by our government officials as I want the best for our nation.

After studying the RH bill’s contents, I fully believe that this should have no place in our country. Its “reproductive health” terminology is a mere disguise for it’s real purpose of indoctrination of the youth and population control. Moreover, the promotion of contraceptives included in this bill actually contradicts its terminology of “health” when studies show countless harmful side effects of these contraceptives. This bill transcends religion, race, and socio-economic status. Those who really study the bill and read between the lines know that this is very divisive and harmful to our country, and we must be extra careful not to be affected by the multi-million dollar monetary pressure from international organizations lobbying for its passage.

Politics have always been very powerful in our Filipino culture. Before elections, we see big improvements and we notice project after project of our leaders. This, apparently, is the same approach used by the author of the article. They are very much free to present their views, but I want to firmly say that they do not represent even close to the majority of those in the youth sector. There are also a lot of youth who are against the passage of the RH bill. It really struck me to see the word “wrath” in the article, as if they’re furious about it not being voted upon. While the pro-RH camp may choose to go with “wrath”, 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 dare not stop until this RH bill is finally trashed.

John Walter Brown Juat
3rd Year Education
University of the Philippines, Diliman

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

(UPDATED) Are the youth really pro-RH? A UP student's response to the pro-RH "youth leaders" vowing to mobilize the youth to vote against pro-life congressmen

UPDATE 4/3/12: This note has now been published on the website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer: Diño speaking youth’s voice?

Originally published on this blog on March 26, 2012:

A note from Kiboy Sagrado Tabada (PSHS alumnus and currently a student in UP Diliman) in response to the PDI article "RH bill foes face the wrath of student groups.":

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.

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?

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 UPD 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. There is no reason for you to fear.

I have great respect for Heart Diño and JC Tejano as student leaders, as representatives of the youth. But allow me to remind you that they ought to hear my voice, too; that they ought to speak my voice, too. You may claim that I speak for a mere minority. Don’t they?