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

Friday, March 30, 2012

Central Bank Governor: "Population would be a source of economic growth"

Not directly about the RH Bill, but truly relevant to the debates about it:

From Manila Standard:

28 March, 2012 

A large pool of young workers will support economic growth in the next few years, Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said Wednesday.

Tetangco said in a speech before the Philippine Investment Forum the country’s large population of young workers with purchasing power provides the economy with the so-called demographic dividends that are good for consumption and investments.

He said the Philippines would enter the demographic sweet spot by 2015. “Population would be a source of economic growth,” he said, adding that the concept of demographic dividends has been proven historically.

“That concept, the demographic window, is that period in an economy’s history where more people or a prominent portion of the population is of working age. That means these people have the purchasing power, purchasing capacity, which can drive consumption, investment and therefore faster economy,” said Tetangco.

“Our average age is 22.2 years. So by 2015, we’ll reach that window. We’ve seen the experience of other countries — Thailand and Indonesia—in the region that have benefited from these demographic dividends,” said Tetangco.

He said the Philippines would be the last major economy in Asia to enter the so-called demographic sweet spot. “If you’re an investor and you’re looking at the potential of an economy in terms of the size of the market, they will consider these demographic window that the Philippines is about to enter,” said Tetangco.

Tetangco noted that nearly half a million graduates enter the labor force each year, providing companies with a big pool of manpower to fill their requirements.

“If the economy is growing, underlying that growth would be the increase of employment as well. So as you grow, you can generate more employment and therefore you can have more people employed who are able to spend and help fuel growth in the economy,” said Tetangco.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dr. Ligaya Acosta on the RH bill as a bringer of moral and spiritual poverty

In addition to the Knights of Columbus' Walk for Life in Manila, other Walks for Life were held in different parts of the Philippines on March 25, 2012. In one of those walks (the one held by the Diocese of San Pablo), Dr. Ligaya Acosta gave the following remarks:

Dr. Ligaya Acosta, Human Life International (HLI) regional coordinator for Asia and Oceania, was a guest speaker at the Walk held in the Diocese of San Pablo in the province of Laguna, two hours outside of Manila. 
“I think this event gives a strong signal to our president and legislators that the overwhelming majority of Filipinos will not allow them to pass the RH Bill, which threatens life and family, and that we will never stop fighting to protect the right to life given to us by the Lord, even if it means giving up our own lives for the cause,” said Dr. Acosta. “The Culture of Death is alien to the Filipino way of life, and we will not allow it to destroy our children and our future. The Philippines is very strongly pro-God, pro-life and pro-family.”
“As I have said many times in my speeches, there is a poverty worse than material poverty, and this is moral and spiritual poverty, which is what the Reproductive Health Bill brings,” Dr. Acosta said. 
Pro-life Filipinos hope that the simultaneous rallies will help pressure legislators to table the bill in both houses of congress. Congress went into recess last week, again pushing off a vote on the RH Bill. The congressional session will resume on May 7. 
“2013 is election year for the Philippines, and hopefully these rallies will give another strong signal to our elected officials that this time Filipinos know better, and will never again vote for those supporting the RH Bill and similar bills,” Dr. Acosta said. “Even with our victory last week, we will continue with massive public educational and activist efforts as we brace ourselves for another more challenging battle when congress re-opens May 7.” 

Source: Walks for Life Draw Tens of Thousands in the Philippines

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)

Human Cross versus the RH Bill

For the background to this event, see this article: Taytay’s BECs stage 2nd Lenten human Cross against RH Bill

Monday, March 26, 2012

A show of force on the Day of the Unborn

This article is noteworthy for explicitly identifying Mayor Alfredo Lim as being anti-RH, and for extensively quoting Cong. Mitos Magsaysay's speech versus the bill:

From CBCP for Life:

Tens of thousands join K of C’s Walk for Life, reiterate RH bill rejection 
MANILA, March 25, 2012–An estimated 30,000-50,000 members of the Knights of Columbus and their families trekked from Intramuros to the Rajah Sulayman park on Roxas Blvd. yesterday to carry out the annual Walk for Life to manifest the group’s pro-life stand and demonstrate its strong opposition to the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. 
Dubbed with the theme “We Value Life” this year, the activity started with a 6:00 a.m. Eucharistic celebration at San Agustin Church, Intramuros, with Luzon State Chaplain and Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco as main celebrant. 
After the mass, participants from different Knights of Columbus Councils and other organizations assembled in front of the church then walked to Roxas Blvd., carrying streamers and placards identifying their group, and bearing life-affirming messages as well as expressions of anti-RH bill sentiments. 
“Give us a chance to breathe because life is a wonderful gift,”” No to RH bill, We value life,” “Defend life,” “We fight for the Culture of Life, Against the Culture of Death,” “Ang buhay na isang regalo huwag sayangin, pahalagahan ito” and “Take my hand, not my life” read some of the placards that dotted the kilometric line of participants of varied ages, from a handful of preschool children and numerous elementary school and high school kids, to adults and quite a few seniors who were upbeat during most of the way to Rajah Sulayman where a program was held. 
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim commended the supposed concern of the RH bill’s proponents for caring for the women’s health issues but pointed out that the measure’s name can be deceiving.  
“Ang hindi ko ho maintindihan, ang title ng proposed bill na ito, ‘reproductive health bill’. Ang sinasabi ng mga proponents nito, ay pinangangalagaan daw nila ‘yung kalusugan ng mga ina na manganganak dahil maaari daw mamatay sa panganganak at meron silang mga statistics na nagsasabi kung ilan ang namamatay sa panganganak,” Lim said. “Sa biglang pandinig, napakagandang pakinggan — inaalagaan ang kalusugan ng mga ina natin.” 
He segued into a personal testimony of living a welcoming attitude toward life and being contraceptives-free with his first wife of 44 years before she died and with whom he has eight children, and with his second wife with whom he has four children. 
Zambales Representative Ma. Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay, known for her firm opposition to the RH bill as well as her prowess in discussing it in plenary debates, explained what makes the measure unnecessary and thereby unworthy of support. 
Some 80 percent of the provisions in the RH bill, she said, are contained in the Magna Carta of Women which was signed into law in 2009. 
“Nakalagay po sa proposed RH bill that we should provide pre-natal and post-natal care sa lahat ng mga babae dito sa Pilipinas. Iyang provision na ‘yan nasa Magna Carta na eh. Kapag sinabi niyo pong ‘access to all kinds of family planning methods,’ nasa Magna Carta na rin ‘yan. Kapag sinabi mong ‘the right to space your children,’ nasa Magna Carta ‘yan.” 
“Kapag sinabi mong dapat mag-provide ng birthing facilities ang mga health centers nationwide, nasa Magna Carta na rin ‘yan. At ‘pag sinabi mong dapat magkaroon ng midwife, nurse at duktor ang mga health centers nationwide, nasa Magna Carta na rin ‘yan,” Magsaysay continued. 
“So bakit pa natin kailangang ipasa ang RH bill? Eh dapat ngayon pinapatupad na po namin sa pamahalaan ‘yung provisions ng Magna Carta.” 
The congresswoman also delved on the concept of essential medicines and how she regards the attempt to categorize birth control drugs and devices as “essential medicines” as senseless. 
“Anong sakit ba ang ginagamot ng contraceptives? Ang pagbubuntis ba ay isang sakit?” she recalled asking RH bill sponsors in plenary debates, to which the latter replied in the negative. 
“Ang alam ko sa ‘essential medicine,’ ‘yan ay iniinom ng isang tao sapagkat siya ay may sakit, at kung sakaling inumin niya yung gamot, gagaling siya. Kung hindi naman pala sakit ang pregnancy, ibig sabihin walang sakit, so hindi mo pwedeng i-consider na ‘essential medicine’ ang condoms at contraceptives,” the solon explained. 
The bigger picture that could explain the bill’s proponents’ motivation was revealed by Magsaysay. 
“Ang sabi kasi nila, sa DoH, mas mabilis ang priority sa pagbili ng gamot kapag ‘essential medicine’ ang classification. Kaya gusto nilang lokohin tayong lahat at sabihin ang contraceptives ay dapat gawing ‘essential medicine,’ she said. 
The Zambales congresswoman also mentioned that she would rather that students were taught values formation rather than sex education, as the youth need to learn to know and value their self-worth, understand principles such as integrity and focus on character building in general. 
Allen Paolo Guballa, State Chief Squire, also spoke as part of the program, which ended with the release of white balloons as the song “Habang May Buhay” was played. 
The Walk for Life took place a day before the Day of the Unborn, a special day officially designated in several countries including the Philippines for celebrating the sacredness of the lives of babies before birth. Besides the Philippines, March 25 is marked with a pro-life theme in El Salvador, Argentina, Guatemala, Chile, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Peru, Panama, Paraguay, Slovakia, Cuba, Austria and Romania. (CBCP for Life)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Filipinos for Life response to Rep. Kimi Cojuangco

From the official website of Filipinos for Life:

March 21, 2012  
During interpellations Monday on the privilege speech given by Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco, who is among the sponsors of House Bill 4244 which seeks to establish a taxpayer-funded contraceptive welfare program and mandatory sex education, the congresswoman went into a diatribe on the Catholic Church. Cojuangco was within her rights to try to convince her colleagues to vote for the measure. But the attack, which contained utter falsehoods, was uncalled for. 
Cojuangco needs a fact-checker. First of all, no massive rally has been called for March 25 to mark the “Day of the Unborn,” an international celebration promoting the dignity of human life. Rather, it was suggested by Pro-Life Philippines that pro-life groups hold “candle-lighting activities for the unborn; prayer meetings to spread the message of life and love; poster-designing contests revolving around the pro-life theme; seminars and exhibits related to pro-life issues; printing and distribution of leaflets and other information materials to encourage awareness of culture of life issues; and rallies or small public meetings to propagate the pro-life message.” 
Cojuangco accuses Catholic bishops of being a stumbling block, claiming the Philippines was still in the “dark ages.” But the bill is 80% redundant, as many provisions are already found in the 2009 Magna Carta for Women and other regulations. We do not need this bill. 
The congresswoman herself appears to be in the dark about the ill effects of artificial contraceptives which she wants to distribute to women at the expense of taxpayers. Oral contraceptive pills are classified by a WHO research unit as Group 1 carcinogens along with asbestos, arsenic, formaldehyde, and plutonium. 
Cojuangco should get her facts straight and carefully study the Church’s position on the RH bill, instead of engaging in juvenile attacks unbecoming of a legislator. 
The Church is opposed to chemical pills because these can lead to very early abortions. Medical literature have documented that aside from suppressing ovulation and thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg, chemical agents in the pill have a third mechanism – terminating life by making the endometrial lining of the ovary hostile to a newly formed human being in cases where the first two mechanisms fail. 
It’s irresponsible for a lawmaker to recommend chemical contraception without disclosing its dangerous side effects and without considering the ethical and moral implications. Women deserve to know the truth about the pill. 
Cojuangco makes the erroneous and misleading claim that the family planning method accepted by the Church does not work, “Period.” 
German researcher Dr. Petra Frank-Herrmann found in 2007 that the Symptothermal Method’s effectiveness is “comparable to the effectiveness of modern contraceptive methods such as oral contraceptives, and is an effective and acceptable method of family planning. The Symptothermal Method involves monitoring fertility signs such as body temperature and cervical mucus secretions. It is a modern method of natural family planning endorsed by the Church, along with the Billings Ovulation Method and the Basal Body Temperature Method. 
On the contrary, artificial contraceptives, which are so widespread in countries like the US, have not reduced abortion because of significant failure rates. Cojuangco should be informed that in the US, half of women who had abortions used contraceptives in the month when they became pregnant. 
For Rep. Kimi Cojuangco to accuse the Church of meddling in state affairs is deceptive. The RH bill will trample upon individual and religious rights by forcing Catholic hospitals and doctors to provide contraceptives and sterilization services and mandating Catholic schools to teach contraception to students. Worse, Catholic taxpayers will foot the bill. 
The proponents of the bill are in fact the ones seeking to impose their own views, using taxpayers’ money, and with the coercive force of law. We call for more legislative debates on the bill, so Cojuangco and her allies would see the light.

CBCP for Life has published a report on this statement: Rep. Cojuangco told: ‘Get your facts straight’

For the record: Anthony Perez on the Overpopulation Myth

Anthony Perez is one of the founders and leading officers of Filipinos for Life. He penned the following essay for the "Definitely Filipino" website more than a year ago, but I've neglected to post it on this blog until now. Mea culpa. CAP.

From Definitely Filipino:

Anthony Perez

Yesterday I watched with dismay a video of politicians and known personalities being very vocal about their support for the RH bill. That quote made famous by Professor Charles Xavier came into my mind: “Man fears what he does not understand.”

Amidst this demagogue and clamor for the passage of this bill lies the silent truth: that everything in this bill is based on lies. I intend to shed some light on one particular lie – that the world is overpopulated.

To help us understand better what is at stake here, let us look at the facts.

The origin of the RH bill isn’t even local; it comes from foreign agencies that want to push their own agenda on developing countries like ours. In April of 1974, Henry Kissinger released the NSSM 200 or National Security Study Memo 200 which says that the population growth in the least developed countries or LDCs (the Philippines included) is a threat to the United States’ security and interests. Thus the study promoted population control measures like contraception and education towards the ‘contraceptive’ mentality. This ‘education’ also meant that everyone should be made to believe that the planet is getting more and more crowded and the resources are running out. I shall comment on this later on.

Overpopulation is a concoction of contraceptive pushers and abortion pushers who have banded together in a conglomerate called International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). These are owners of multinational corporations which manufacture infant formulas, contraceptives, condoms, IUDs, sterilization and abortion gadgets like suction machines. They are the same people who control international money lending institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Frankfurt-based Development Loan Corporation and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

NSSM 200 says that the population of the world has increased dramatically from 1950′s onwards, an increase never before seen in human history. This is true, but it was not the result of too many babies… it was the result of better healthcare. More children live beyond their fifth birthdays and fewer women die in childbirth. Sadly, the population scaremongers made it look like the world’s population was expanding simply due to the number of children being born.

But is there enough food and resources to go around? The answer is yes. Food production has been on the rise despite the growing population, and this rise can be attributed to technology. We now have the technology to produce food enough to feed everyone. But why is there still hunger? Attribute that to graft and corruption. Attribute that to lack of opportunities and arable land in some places of the world. The rich countries, on the other hand, have more than enough food to spare. Better yet, they own the technology that enables them to produce food to sustain them.

It is easy to believe that as we grow in numbers, there wouldn’t be enough space and food to go around, and it sounds logical right? Along those lines is the belief that population growth is the primary reason for poverty.

The culprit behind this thinking was Robert Malthus, who said that as the population grows geometrically, production grows arithmetically, therefore resulting in poverty. However, almost 200 years later, Professor Simon Kuznets proved that Malthus was wrong, and said that economic growth is fastest during the time that the population growth was highest. This was validated in Europe during the 100 years industrialization of the European continent. For his efforts in disproving the fallacy, Kuznets was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1971.

And yet our lawmakers (read: lawbreakers) continue the education (read: idiotcation) and brainwashing of the masses that they with their 8 or 9 children are the reason behind the poverty of our country. They disregard facts and still cling to the fallacious Malthusian principle.

If we are so many, then why are we still poor?

The natural and expected result in the equation however did not happen in the Philippines, because purchasing power was removed from the population that grew. People could not buy because they had no money; and they had no money because they had no jobs or income earnings. The earnings that could easily have gone on to the people through industry were siphoned off by payments to a ballooning international and domestic debt, by tremendous tax cuts and tax holidays being given to foreign investments prejudicial to the internal economic growth of the country and most of all by the shameful and rampant corruption in the government. Instead of the people earning, it is the government official and a select few who were making all the money – and can afford to have a $20,000 dinner while the country is hungry.

Is the earth getting more and more crowded? According to basic calculations by area, all six billion people on the earth today would fit within the state of Texas, with each family having a house with a little yard. So, it is not a question of area. The problem is the growing concentration of large numbers of people in certain cities, caused by the deterioration and lack of opportunities in the rural areas.

Today, the world faces a demographic winter with an ageing population (which means the median age of a country is rising). Population control has its good and bad effects – on the good side, it will create a temporary economic bonanza. This is happening to Europe, Japan and Singapore. On the other hand, they have to face the music after that economic boom: with an ageing population that has bred so few children, the burden of having to pay for social security lies on the few, and there is also the question of manpower availability. Fact is that many of these European and Asian countries are now giving incentives to those who can bear 3 or more children. They have realized their folly a little too late.

Does this RH bill support abortion? Not directly. Of course if it blatantly said that the bill does support abortion, it would be shot down faster than you can say “women’s rights”. But it is an open secret that to offer reproductive health care in the name of women’s rights and more importantly, population control, means that abortion is a necessary option as well. Not convinced? Let’s take it directly from NSSM 200:

“No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion.” (

I can go on with this until this note reaches part nth. I will do whatever it takes to stop this bill from being passed and to honor life from conception. But I guess i would have to end it here, as I really do not want to bore you any further.

I was thinking of a particular quote to end this trilogy with a bang, but can’t think of any. In the end, I thought of quoting from the very first book of the bible, when God told man when He first created him, to “be fruitful and multiply.” It’s strange, but if overpopulation were true, God would have been been a very poor engineer not having the foresight that the world will become overpopulated one day. God gave us this command in order to RESPONSIBLY bear children that will be our joy and comfort when we grow old. Let us embrace life, my friends. It is good to be alive – let us share this with our children and our family.


If the rest of the world is growing old, and with our migratory ways and low median age at 23, it isn’t far-fetched that the Filipinos will truly fill the earth and be great as a nation. This is our chance for greatness my friends!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Summary of the Filipinos for Life talk in Greenbelt Chapel

From the website of Greenbelt Chapel (Sto. Nino de Paz Community):

(This article is based on the talks given by Mr. Anthony Perez and Ms. Anna Cosio on February 15, 2012, on the Reproductive Health Bill. Their talks were part of the 3rd Wednesday series of Talks at the Greenbelt Chapel. The Reproductive Health Bill was chosen as the topic since February was declared as Pro-Life Month.)

With all the news about earthquakes, strong typhoons, and the Corona impeachment, the discussion on House Bill 4244, otherwise known as the Reproductive Health or RH bill, has somewhat waned. It shouldn’t, though. If you think you already know everything that you need to know about the RH bill, please think again. A couple of lay speakers, Bro. Anthony of Filipinos for Life and Sis. Anna Cosio, RN, of Pro-Life Manila, talked about some myths surrounding the RH bill. Below are just a few of these:

If you think the Philippines needs an RH Bill to rally the public to be aware of population control, think again. Sis. Anna stated that the RH Bill is “80% redundant.” In other words, a big part of the RH Bill has already been covered in an existing law, Republic Act 9710, otherwise known as the Magna Carta of Women.

If you think oral contraceptives do not have any critical side effects, think again. Sis. Anna showed studies that the more popular oral contraceptives have been linked to an increased incidence of breast cancer among women.

If you think that the RH Bill does not espouse abortion, since the word “abortion” is not found in the proposed legislation, think again. Bro. Anthony cited organizations, like the Planned Parenthood (which is the largest abortion services provider) as backing the said bill.

If you think there is nothing wrong with children as young as Grade 5 being informed about their “reproductive rights,” think again. Bro. Anthony cited a provision which gives children the right to avail of reproductive health services (i.e., contraceptives) without even consulting or asking permission from their parents since this right is supposed to be protected by the state.

Bro. Anthony cited provisions in the RH Bill to demonstrate to the audience that the well-meaning intentions of the bill may lead to negative consequences. One of these, is an increase in the incidence of abortion. He cited a study that showed many women having resorted to abortion because other forms of contraceptives have failed. With the provisions he cited, Bro. Anthony has declared that the RH Bill is “the pathway for the legalization of abortion.”

Bro. Anthony also mentioned that the RH bill goes against the natural law on marriage. Marriage, he said, has two functions: unitive, which is to bring couples together in love; and, procreative, which is to engage in the sex act so as to procreate. The RH bill goes against these two functions.

Sis. Anna also cited the medical aspects of the RH bill, particularly the side effects of oral contraceptives. She referred to studies which linked oral contraceptives to an increased incidence in cancer. As an alternative, Sis. Anna mentioned the use of the Billings Ovulation Method, which is a natural method for family planning.

The talk on the RH Bill was a very timely wake-up call for the Greenbelt Community to ponder on. To really be pro-life, we must see children as joy and blessing – and not as burden.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Who should pay for cheap contraceptives?

Dr. Abraham Daniel Campo Cruz posted the following on a Facebook discussion page on pro-life matters. I am sharing this with his permission, with some minor editing: 

Supporters of the RH Bill say that we should lower the price of contraceptives for better access of the poor. However, we already have RA 9025, also known as the Cheaper Medicines Act: 
SEC. 23. List of Drugs and Medicines that are Subject to Price Regulation. - The list of drugs and medicines that are subject to price regulation shall include, inter alia: 
(c) Drugs and medicines indicated for prevention of pregnancy, e.g., oral contraceptives; 
The difference is that under RA 9025, it is the retailer/pharmacy or pharmaceutical company that will have to shoulder the expenses, so that the meds will be sold at the recommended retail price. 
However, under the RH Bill, it is the ultimately the Filipino people in general, through taxes as part of the National Budget or Phillhealth contributions, who will shoulder the expenses. In short, Filipino taxpayers will have to pay for contraceptive drugs and devices. These are things that observant Filipino Catholics  -- who certainly form a significant portion of Filipino taxpayers -- consider as morally objectionable.  
This angle makes the RH Bill an issue of poor implementation of RA 9025, increasing the tax burden of the Filipino people, and a violation of conscience of practicing Filipino Catholics who are thus forced to pay for something they consider morally objectionable.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tagbilaranons in Metro Manila against the RH Bill

Tagbilaran Association in Metro Manila against RH bill 
By Ben Cal
March 11, 2012

MANILA, March 11 (PNA) – The Tagbilaran Association in Metro Manila (TAMM) has thrown its full support to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in the campaign against the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

Dr. Judith Reisman versus the "fascist", "draconian" RH Bill

"If I am to call myself 'pro-life,' then I should be willing to give at least a few hours of my time to the 'fight for life.'"

A testimony by the Catholic blogger Tina Santiago-Rodriguez

Save the babies in their mommies' tummies!

An edited version on the website of the Philippines Star can be read here.

The Philippines: an HIV mystery (or, Why the Philippines must control the spread of condoms)

Can the Philippines keep AIDS at bay if it embraces condom culture?
The advance of AIDS in the Philippines has been "low and slow", but birth control ideology could unleash a full-blown epidemic.

by Oliver M. Tuazon and Angelo S. Porciuncula
(March 5, 2012)

While the Philippine Senate is busy with the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice of the Philippine Judiciary, the House of Representatives has resumed its interpellations on the controversial Reproductive Health Bill (HB 4244). President Benigno Aquino III is a known supporter of the bill, which has caused worry in some quarters that he will ask his allies in the lower house to fast-track its passage as he did with the impeachment of the Chief Justice. The Speaker of the House is a member of the Philippine Legislative Council for Population and Development, one of the most active groups lobbying for its passage.

The RH bill is entitled “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population Development and for Other Purposes.” However, let’s be clear that the Philippines is not a desert when it comes to birth control devices and services. In recent months, as condom ads flooded the streets and consciousness of Philippine society, it has become clear to everyone that the marketing and use of contraceptives in the Philippines is already legal and that the RH debate is actually about the use of government funds to promote and supply condoms, pills, injections, IUDs, sterilization procedures and so on to all and sundry.

This would, above all, complete a cultural revolution that began in 1967 when former President Marcos signed up to an international agreement on population control, a concept that the West has successfully imposed on many other developing nations. In conjunction with other social changes such as urbanisation, indigenous sexual and family culture has been undermined in these countries and new health threats have arisen, which lends doubt as to its genuine concern for “(reproductive) health”.

This is nowhere more evident than in the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has swept sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia while condom has been king. It is on this phenomenon that we now wish to concentrate as it demonstrates a compelling practical reason for rejecting the cultural package that the RH bill represents. The following is part of a longer paper that includes a wider review of the scientific evidence about condoms and AIDS.

Is our population's growth really the root cause of our economic problems?

From the prestigious American journal National Review:

By Christopher White
February 8, 2011

In one week, a population-control bill in the Philippines is likely to be passed that supports coercive government-funded family-planning initiatives for demographically targeted populations. If passed, one year or even one generation from now, the root problems that this bill seeks to address will still exist. In fact, they’re likely to be exaggerated.

“The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011,” as this bill is officially titled, is in essence an attempt to curb the growing population of the Philippines through a variety of measures — most notably, a new sexual-education program, greater access and distribution of contraceptives, and eventually, government-funded abortion. This past week the bill made its way out of a plenary session and is now on the fast track to becoming law.

At present, the population of the Philippines is estimated to be over 92 million making it the world’s twelfth most populous country. Fertile women in the Philippines have, on average, 3.1 babies each — a stark contrast to neighboring Singapore, which had an all-time low average of 1.16 in 2010. Given its size and increasing growth, the needs of the Philippines are vast — education, health care, and better sanitation to name a few. But is population growth really the root cause of these problems and needs? History seems to indicate otherwise.

Philippine Population: What's the issue?

The following introduction is adapted from Facebook comments by Dr. Quesada's son, Leo:

The following article by Dr. Ramon Quesada provides empirical data from the time of the Marcos administration to the present regarding population growth rate vis-a-vis population control policies and efforts. More importantly, it provides a cross-sectional analysis throughout the provinces in the Philippines with regard population and per capita income. The article is written in simple terms, easily accessible to the layman.

Ramon Quesada also has a Masters Degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Connecticut. He graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in AB Economics after shortly turning 18 years old (!). He was the former Executive Director of the Strategic Business Economics Program, and is well-traveled internationally (including Nigeria and Pyongyang, N.Korea) and locally. Under that program, he would give mid-year and year-end economic briefings to numerous company officers and CEO's, bank officers, etc.

The Philippines: the best country for long-term economic growth because of its population

From a recent report by CNBC on the top ten countries for long-term economic growth (the Philippines tops the list):

The Philippines has one of the fastest-growing populations in Asia. The population is set to jump by almost 70 percent over the next 40 years, and HSBC believes the combination of its powerful demographics and strong fundamentals will drive the economy to become the world’s 16th largest by 2050. That would mark a jump of 27 places from its current ranking of 43.

The country is one of the world’s largest exporters of labor, with over 9 million Filipinos working abroad, according to the latest data from the Commission of Filipinos Overseas. In 2010, almost $19 billion was sent back to the Philippines as remittances from Filipinos working abroad.

More recently, the country’s fast-developing business process outsourcing (BPO) industry has helped keep some of the workforce from leaving the country. Already 350,000 Filipinos are estimated to work in call centers, compared with 330,000 Indians, according to the Contact Center Association of the Philippines. The industry is projected to provide more than 1 million jobs within two years.

The economy’s focus on the services sector and domestic consumption, as well as a lower exposure to global financial markets, helped it to escape a recession following the 2008 global financial crisis.

See these articles as well: Why invest in the Philippines? and Inquirer's surprisingly positive editorial on the HSBC report

Michael Voris versus the RH bill: Round 2

Last year, renowned lay Catholic speaker and commentator Michael Voris visited the Philippines and came up with two videos attacking the RH bill (Thrilla' in Manila and Liberal Tyrants).

This past February he came back to the Philippines for an extended tour and filmed the following videos, all of which touch on the RH bill one way or another:

Obama and the Philippines

Obama's Gay Ambassador

Even in the Philippines

The Church is Right!

Bishop Chat

The following article from the CBCP for Life website summarizes Voris' exhortations to his Filipino listeners to defend the Catholic faith and its stance on matters of doctrine and morals:

MANILA, Feb. 22, 2012—Catholics should see to it that they translate their faith into concrete everyday actions instead of merely paying lip service and staying on the level of being a “Sunday Catholic,” an international speaker said during his recent visit to the Philippines.

“One can’t say ‘I’m a Catholic, I love Jesus,’ then goes home and pretends that none of the other stuff matters. There are threats against the true, good and beautiful so intense that this demands a certain response from us. Everything we do needs to be dedicated to the advancement of the Faith, whether we’re evangelizing someone we know, carrying out a devotion, fighting abortion in the Philippines, the RH bill… Whatever it is, we simply don’t escape,” Michael Voris of reminded the crowd at St. Francis of Assisi Parish during a recent talk he gave as part of activities being conducted by Pro-Life Philippines for Respect and Care for Life Month.

Voris, known for his online episodes of The Vortex which delves on various issues pertaining to culture and the Catholic faith, emphasized the call to every Catholic to deepen his understanding of the Faith and urged all to be pro-active in defending the Church especially nowadays.

Not to be timid about Catholicism

“You cannot be… quiet, afraid, timid, shy about Catholicism. The Church is under attack from every possible avenue you can imagine,” he said.

The Catholic Church is being criticized for its unwavering position on contraception and abortion, and Church officials and groups have been leading the opposition to anti-life legislation, such as the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. Lately, however, Filipinos of various persuasions and religious affiliations have become more vocal in rejecting the population control measure.

Voris pointed out the need to understand issues regarding the culture of life and know how to explain their stand on matters like the RH bill, even when talking with self-proclaimed “independent thinkers.”

“Oftentimes Catholics do sound uninformed, uneducated, just like we’re parroting back some party line, some script to read, that we don’t understand. That’s wrong; that has to change, the 50-year-old speaker observed.

“And for some it’s ‘I’m gonna vote against the RH if it comes up’ or ‘I’m gonna oppose it and I’m gonna go out in the streets and protest against it because the bishop told me to.’ You sound like a total moron to somebody who doesn’t understand what the Church teaches. You need to be able to say, ‘I’m protesting this because… blah blah. And I’m happy that the Church and I are in agreement on this because this is the truth, and I live according to the truth.’ That’s how you’re going to have to answer that,” he urged.

Genuine love leads to studying the Faith

Voris, who went on a week-long tour speaking to groups in Manila, Bacolod, Cebu and Davao accompanied by Pro-Life Philippines’ officers, explained that the desire to know more is a natural consequence of a genuine love for Christ and his Bride, the Church. And if there is genuine love, a Catholic would want to understand the Church’s teachings and position regarding life issues.

“In order for Catholics to really, really love the faith, and love all the teachings that come out of it, not just the theological, dogmatic or sacramental teachings but also moral teachings, you’ve got to know the faith. There’s a basic principle of philosophy — you can’t love what you don’t know. And the opposite of that is true also: Why would you not want to know everything that you can possibly know about something that you love, or someone that you love?” the speaker stressed.

Voris is known for his direct and sometimes scathing approach to tackling issues, and here he minced no words in getting his points across to jolt his audiences into a more dynamic practice of the Catholic faith.

“When Catholics are accused of being like mindless sheep and can’t think for themselves, that argument against Catholics has a little bit of truth in it… Why? Because Catholics don’t know their faith enough.”

For a Catholic not to know his faith means he doesn’t love it enough, he said, but enthused that authentic love for God and the Church he established will change that.

“The faith… always comes down to a simple relationship between me and my God. Now do I love this God the way I should? And if I don’t then shame on me,” Voris continued.

“When you love somebody you want to know everything about them that you can possibly know. You wanna know everything about the person. You ask a lot of questions. Why? Because you love them or think about them and you wanna know everything about them. “

Earlier in the day, Voris paid a visit to Adamson University to speak with the students as part of his Manila itinerary. He visibly captivated his young audience, driving home the message about the need for young people to seek friends, and eventually a future spouse, who will bring them closer to God first and foremost. He also underscored the importance of finding someone whom they can be proud to call as the father or mother of their children. He concluded by urging the young students to be true to their calling to live a Catholic way of life and to be true to their identities as Catholics.


Tagalog Pamphlet: Ibasura ang RH Bill!

Some common errors regarding the population issue

This article is more than a year old, but remains just as relevant:

November 21, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Over at least the last forty years, I have spent hundreds of manhours being interviewed by journalists and others interested in the issue of population growth in the Philippines.

I must have met more than a hundred journalists over the last two generations. In order to help the present crop of journalists learn from the mistakes of their predecessors in their profession, let me enumerate the common pitfalls I have observed as a business economist.

In the same way that I can accuse myself of ignorance in certain areas (like the most recent case of my not knowing about the UN protocol concerning the underenumeration of babies in population censuses), there have been some notorious cases of ignorance among journalists and other commentators who comment on the population problem of the Philippines.

The first I would like to cite has resurfaced in the current debates about the RH Bill. There are still reporters and commentators who claim, through ignorance, that the opposition to birth control is exclusively a Catholic position. For the nth time, I must remind them that some of the most prominent social scientists in modern times have concluded in their research that population growth is not the cause of mass poverty. The late Simon Kuznets, Harvard professor and Nobel Laureate in economics, was Jewish. He was the father of national income accounting and is responsible for such terms as Gross National Product and Gross Domestic Product. As a student of long-term economic growth, he was convinced that population growth not only was not responsible for mass poverty but was oftentimes a most positive stimulus to economic development. Another Jew, Julian Simon--a famous resource economist of the last Century actually wrote a best-seller entitled The Ultimate Resource, in which he maintained that people are the most important resources in integral human development and that birth control should not be considered as one of the instruments to eradicate mass poverty. Gary Becker, another non-Catholic and Nobel Laureate, who teaches at the University of Chicago, has also questioned population control as a means to attain economic development in his many scholarly studies on human capital.