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

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Girls defending Life -- Two Open Letters on the RH Bill from Young Filipinas

On July 11, 2011 the Manila Times published on its website an open letter from eight PAREF Woodrose Students (Woodrose students explain why they object to HB 4244). In these past few days my attention has been drawn to two more open letters (see below) that were very recently written and published, I am told, by PAREF Woodrose students. These were originally posted on a Tumblr account (Defending Life, the Truth, and Everything) that is currently dedicated to the defense of the Church's position on the RH bill.

We Defend the Truth - Letter for Life

The Philippines is now in a state of conflict. A rift has been formed between our fellow countrymen and the mature Catholics that reside in this country.

We believe that the government’s insistence on the RH Bill has a story many of us don’t know. The bill itself is vague to begin with; its words sugarcoated to mask the underlying truth of what this will all bring to the country. It’s not enough to read and accept the bill at face value; you have to read between the lines to truly understand what the government is promising.

In fact, the RH Bill is not what the country needs because population is not the problem. We should work on finding ways to give the people proper education and well-paying jobs, instead of decreasing the growth of our population in order to reduce poverty.

The bill can be very deceiving, especially when it comes to Section 10, (Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines) which talks about contraception. Concealed in all the lies about the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is the truth about contraception’s bad side effects. Obviously, they will not explicitly mention the mild side effects of contraception usage, such as nausea and abdominal pain, nor will they mention the malignant side effects such as cancer, HIV, and AIDS. As mentioned, the bill is very vague and made to sound promising. The side effects are only a small portion of the things that were omitted from the RH Bill.

It has also been said that the separation of the Church and state is the key to a harmonious relationship between the government and the religious sector. But in our country, this has become more of an exception than a rule – being the third largest Catholic state in the world, often times this cannot be avoided. Our Catholic upbringing has made us stay away from legalizing divorce, abortion and the like, that are characteristics of so-called “developed” or “industrialized” countries.

Lately, however, our lawmakers have come up with the RH Bill, which is to reportedly manage population growth and Economic development. It gives reference to the Freedom of Choice, a citizen’s prerogative to do what is right as one’s beliefs and, more importantly, morality dictates. Yet how can there be Freedom of Choice in the RH Bill when there are conditions and penalties imposed?

For example, in Section 16, students should attend mandatory reproductive health and sexual education once they enter fourth grade. This curriculum requires the teachers to use different methods of educating their pupils on topics such as Family Planning as well as have access to supplies needed for these processes and other reproductive health needs.

Alas, this is not the only section in the RH Bill that requires mandatory services from people in the working class. In Section 22, it is stated that reproductive health service providers, such as gynecologists and obstetricians, are mandated to provide at least 48 hours of reproductive health services; these services include providing adolescents with information and education on reproductive health and sexuality, and may even reach the point where these employed individuals would be required to prescribe or give their patients contraceptives during the 48 hours in which they must provide health care services. Although, what will happen if these reproductive health service providers feel that doing this, or abiding by this bill is against their beliefs, their principles, and who they are as people?

The answer to this question is seen further in the RH Bill, in section 28 that states that if anyone refuses to deliver health care services, then this act of defiance can and will be punished by law through imprisonment, or paying of fines. Standing for what you believe is right, as well as acting on your stand, will be considered a crime worth a term in jail if this bill is passed, and this is pretty ironic considering the fact that one of the very first guiding principles that they stated in Section 3 is the government’s guarantee to the “Freedom of Choice” of the people. The people should understand that once this bill becomes a law, there will be no choice. This whole bill is a set of rules for us to follow that completely disregards the true meaning of freedom, which is to do what is right and moral, as these are the two factors that can be applied to the lives of all men, regardless of their race, religion, and status.

The government is going through such lengths to spread Health care and education through the state that they are even borrowing money from the United States. It’s as if our country isn’t already indebted enough. We are aiming to achieve Economic development when this bill only hinders our progression. We are loaning close to 14 billion pesos merely just to fund the projects’ supplies and facilities, things that we don’t even need.

Our country is not in desperate need of this bill. If the government is so adamant about the spread of awareness and knowledge among the nation, then the 14 billion pesos loaned would be of better use allocated to the Department of Education for education; not reproductive education, but actual education – elementary to high school level teachings – that the government should’ve prioritized from the beginning. Filipinos need to learn how to read and write, more than they need to learn how to plan their families. If only more Filipinos had the opportunity to go to school, then more Filipinos would exert time and energy studying, rather than wasting their lives and time elsewhere. They won’t be stupid enough to do irresponsible and reckless things had they been well-educated.

We would like to end this letter by reminding you of the cultural consequences of passing the RH Bill. Senator Hillary Clinton once said that, “Reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.” Though the RH Bill states that it is anti-abortion, it is apparent that somewhere down this road, abortion will be the next step we will take as a country. Abortion is outright murder, of the innocent children, no less. Is this what future you want to leave your descendants with? Do you want to leave them with blood on their hands?

You decide.

-Tippie Co, Janelle Cruz, Bianca Datingaling, Kitkat Elane, Gabbie Lombos, and Angela Runes


We are concerned high school students AGAINST THE RH BILL. We hope that you will take some time to hear from our perspective. Please remember that the Philippine constitution recognizes life the instant a child is conceived. Passing the RH Bill goes against this. It promotes contraception, which completely bypasses conception and therefore stopping life in its tracks. 

The RH Bill does not only affect Catholics, but all Filipinos regardless of their religion. Keep in mind that by passing the RH Bill you might as well be forcing the Filipino people to go against the beliefs they themselves grew up with. Passing the RH Bill will have negative effects socially, politically, and economically. The government should better analyze the implications of passing the RH Bill.

Here are various arguments against some of the Section’s in the RH Bill:

Section 20 of the RH Bill states that the government will assist families, couples, and individuals in responsible parenthood. It implies that the government will help the Philippine citizens achieve their desired family size through responsible parenthood. This section also promotes having two children as the ideal size of a family. In other words, the Philippine government will aid Filipino citizens with birth control, contraceptives, and sex education so that the Philippine citizens will have a family based on their “desired” amount of children.

Countries that limited the family size include Singapore and China.  Singapore had the two- children policy under Lee Kwan Yew while China has had the one-child policy. These two countries are experiencing demographic problems presently.  In China, there are more men than women because of the one -child policy. The effect of this policy over the decades is a change in demographics wherein there is a shortage of Chinese women who are available to marry Chinese men. An article by Cheryl Wetzstein ( The Washington Times 2010) discussed  the situation:

“When Chinese officials created the country’s one-child-per-couple policy in 1978, they intended to contain the country’s burgeoning population for the sake of economic growth, national security and environmental preservation.

But Chinese boys now outnumber Chinese girls by the millions, and the impact of the lopsided sex imbalance is starting to spill beyond China’s borders.

This phenomenon of “missing girls” has turned China into “a giant magnet” for human traffickers, who lure or kidnap women and sell them — even multiple times — into forced marriages or the commercial sex trade, says Ambassador Mark Lagon, who oversaw human rights issues at the State Department during the administration of President George W. Bush.”

In Singapore, the reverse triangle of a society with a smaller base if working people supporting a broader base of elderly, is starting to strain the social system.  Their leaders are now giving incentives for families to have more than 3 kids.

There is no child amount policy stated in the Bill, but passing the RH Bill may one day lead to this. The use of contraceptives can decrease the number of children produced. This can affect our country negatively as seen in the previous examples.

Do not simply accept the implications of other countries and our own that the Philippines is chin deep in poverty and can only free itself with the passing of the RH bill. Economically speaking, our country is rich in human capital. The government should focus on investing on this human capital for our economic development rather than limiting the growth of this economic resource. The government should focus on programs that will develop our human capital and prioritize programs in education, health services and job creation.

If foreign investors see that the country has a rich supply of well-developed human resources that is priced competitively, then perhaps the investors will come here to open their businesses. In education, the government is doing well by working towards the K-12 program. If jobs are created here, then there will be less people applying for jobs abroad as OFWs.  At least, the parents can stay in the country and raise their children.  In this way, the Filipino family is strengthened.

Another section we do not agree with is Section 21 on Employer’s Responsibilities. This section ensures that employers respect the reproductive rights of employees by providing their employees with family planning information and services. The act does not specify what exactly are these services, but do include artificial contraceptive methods and procedures. According to this act, employers must fulfill the responsibilities of this act, if not they are subjected to penalty. Anyone who does not comply with the regulations of this act is subjected to imprisonment for a month to six months, or a fine of P10, 000 to P50, 000, or an imprisonment and a fine. In some cases, people who do not comply are subjected to deportation or dismissal from work.

The bill defines these facilities, services and supplies that are to be distributed are “medically safe and legal” but artificial contraceptives and such do not fall under “medically safe.” Contraception is not 100% reliable. If woman were to get pregnant despite the use of contraception she would most likely turn to an illegal and unsafe source in order to get an abortion thereby putting herself and the baby in danger.

By the definition of the bill, an employer refers to any natural or juridical person who hires the services of a worker. It is understood from this definition that because he simply pays for a service, an employer need not provide the additional services, which include artificial contraceptives. Not only is contraception unreliable, it goes against faiths. The employer, anyone as a matter of fact, should not be forced to go against his faith. In fact, by forcing the employer to go against his faith, the bill tramples on the right to religion. Catholics are not the only ones who disagree with this bill; the Muslims disagree as well.

Rather than making employers responsible for providing these services, facilities, and supplies to their employees, the government should take full responsibility for it. The government should be the one to provide for its people, as the government is for the people.

Furthermore we do not concur with Section 16 about Mandatory Age- Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education because of a number of reasons. One is that this could cause serious conflict with the many Christian schools (both public and private) in our country. Would you go so far as to force the principals, deans, and teachers of these schools to go against all that they believe in in order to fulfill this part of the RH bill. Please also take into consideration that some of these schools are run by Nuns (Virgin Mary Immaculate School), Members of Opus Dei (PAREF School Inc.), Franciscan Priests (De Lasalle Zobel), and other religious groups.

Section 16 of the RH bill also states that through this Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education, students will be educated about the dangers of teen pregnancy, and sexual violence and abuse. The fact that contraceptive devices are at the disposal of these teens will be the VERY CAUSE of teen pregnancy in our country. Once again, contraception is NOT 100% dependable. Teens will learn to trust in “safe sex” just because they feel protected with a condom and therefore feel that they have the liberty to have sex whenever they want. The same goes with sexual abuse. The many cases of assault and rape could RISE as sexual predators will become more fearless now that contraceptive devices are much more easy to obtain.
Another alternative to promoting the use of contraceptives and family planning is the practice of abstaining. The government should prioritize teaching the Philippine society how to abstain instead of always giving in to their lustful urges. With the use of contraceptives, the government is saying that it is okay that people have premarital sex, as long as people practice it “safely”. This notion is wrong because premarital sex is a sin. Instead of sexual education taught in grade school, the schools should focus on teaching the kids the value of sex, and the importance of self-control. Sex is a sacred thing, married people are supposed use it to show their spouse that they love each other. The government should be teaching abstinence. They should remind everyone that sex is sacred and should be done after marriage. The government should teach our society how to use their intellect, freedom, and free will properly. Contraception is not the answer, abstinence is.

-Erlyn Espeleta, Andi Fandino, Andee Torres, Monique Kahn, Marie Ilagan, Pilar Matoto

Age: 16-years old

School: PAREF Woodrose School
Year Level: Fourth Year High School

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