New RH bill: Deadly, anti-constitution

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Illustration by Patrick C. de los Reyes

PRESIDENT Aquino III should be commended for dropping the reproductive health (RH) bill from his legislative agenda. But his minions in the House of Representatives just the same are prioritizing the passage of the bill. They have in fact consolidated several versions of the bill and rammed it through the process so that, despite the denial of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte that they were rushing the bill, it’s now on its second reading and up for plenary debates. What the right hand giveth, the left taketh.

The consolidated version incorporates the President’s version of family planning, “responsible parenthood,” and further pushing the envelope, now uses the word “population,” making Edcel Lagman and his battened likes eat their word since they had been claiming before that heir original version of the bill was not a population-control measure. Considering that just about every shade and nuance of the population-control movement has been incorporated into the consolidated version, the bill is now known as “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011.”

With 35 sections and more than 5,800 words, the bill promises to become the most extensive measure by any Congress in history, and should leave no doubt to anyone about its Stalinist conceit and social-engineering intentions. Just about every possibility of unwanted pregnancy and regeneration by the poor is checked by the bill. While ostensibly declaring it does not set “demographic and population targets,” it declares that the ideal family size is two, which is just about saying that the population growth target should be zero. (The ideal population growth for the Philippines is zero, according to RH backer and former health secretary Alberto Romualdez!) The bill adds that the state “shall assist couples” to achieve that size.

Those who say that there’s nothing wrong with this should be reminded that the state is not exactly wet behind the ears: it is after all the state and its bureaucracy that have fostered the corruption and waste that characterize the debacle that is the Filipino republic. Considering the sorry tale of the tape as far as the Philippine state is concerned, should the state, which has an overpopulation of bureaucrats battening themselves like Lagman and congressmen on people’s money, have the right to suggest, much less, declare that there’s such a thing as an “ideal” number of children for couples to have?

Much more, should the state have any right to add what follows after the bill’s arrogant discourtesy of declaring how many children Filipino couples should have: “Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory. No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children.” One should rightly cringe at that.
“Assisting” couples to attain the ideal family size wouldn’t be hard for the state since the bill sanctions just about any contraceptive means and, making free use of taxpayer’s money and funding from foreign donors that support abortion, makes them available to all. Those who argue that the bill is pro-choice but not necessarily pro-abortion should look at the bill’s liberal sanction of contraceptives, some of which even physicians admit are technically abortifacient. And they should look at sections 2 and 3 on “Declaration of Policy” and “Guiding Principles.” While the bill enshrines “reproductive health” as a “universal basic human right” and exalts “freedom of choice” – where do you find such in the Philippine Constitution? – it doesn’t mention key state policies in the charter that should be the guiding principles of any law relating to family, life, demographics, and sex education for the young, the most important of which is:

“Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”

Why the very telling bypass of such a very relevant constitutional policy in a bill that seeks to use hundreds of millions of pesos to shower contraceptives and abortifacients on the poor; to provide sex education to the young and teach them how to have “safe sex,” even if the education ministries, the biggest bureaucracies, can hardly teach school kids properly the three R’s; and generally to neuter the poor by mass ligation and vasectomy?

Amid the mass of words and declarations and provisions and platitudes of the consolidated RH bill, try to search for constitutional principles such as “the sanctity of family life,” “(protection of) the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception,” “promotion of social justice,” and “dignity of every person.”

So sorry, but you search in vain.

Ona, Akbayan, Jalin

Department of Health Secretary Enrique Ona, should also be praised for sticking to his job as health agent of the state and shunning outlandish stunts like the ones staged by his hopeless predecessor Esperanza Cabral, who distributed condoms at Dangwa Flower Market last year during Valentine’s Day.

Eager to strike back at the bishops who had been holding back the passage of the RH bill, Cabral found a bogeyman last year out of the increase in HIV cases to press for safe sex. Insisting that she was within her jurisdiction as a state health official, she distributed condoms near UST on Valentine’s Day. In doing so, she merely showed the arrogance of the state because Valentine’s is a Catholic feast. Apparently, she had thought February 14 was Motel Day.

Those who cry separation of church and state whenever the bishops and the clergy criticize the RH bill should learn from Cabral’s case. The constitutional provision is really a re-expression of the republican dictum, “non-establishment of religion”; thus, separation of church and state is really a prohibition against the state, not against the church. Cabral’s case shows that it is often the state that transgresses on the church. And whatever the alleged meddling of the church on state affairs is, it’s merely one that is suasive, unlike that by the state which, because of its police and taxing powers, is coercive. For example, where did the condoms that Cabral distributed in Dangwa come from? Didn’t they come from the money of ordinary people who were taxed by the state into supporting such an unsavoury stunt as condom distribution during a religious feast which is supposed to enshrine human love, not animal lust?

Meanwhile, the blasphemous stunt of Cabral last year was restaged on Valentine’s this year by the Akbayan party-list group at the Nepa Q Mart in Quezon City. Its youth arm, Akbayan Youth, is the same group that criticized UST Theology professor Aguedo Florence Jalin for giving incentives to students who would post criticisms on the Akbayan stunt and the RH bill on Akbayan’s Facebook fan page.

It is quite galling that a group that by and large receives international funding, some of them from groups that espouse “reproductive rights,” should take to task a Catholic educator who gives incentives to students doing a completely optional assignment to defend the pro-life stance of the Church against RH and safe-sex proponents. Considering too that the professor did not force his students to do the posting, even making it clear to those who support RH among his classes that they need not join the opposition to the measure, considering further that hardly anyone fails Theology (except those always absent) in UST, Akbayan doth protest too much. Hasn’t Akbayan heard of “academic freedom” and “intellectual honesty”? Jalin was teaching Social Issues of the Church and he had the perfect right, nay the responsibility, to tackle the RH bill and the threat it poses to things which the Church holds dear—the natural law, the dignity of the human person, and the sanctity of life. By urging his students to post their criticisms of RH and of Akbayan’s attack on religion through its distribution of condoms on Valentine’s, a religious feast, Jalin was merely asking them to stand up for what they believe in. To put their money where their mouth is. Which cannot be said of other educators, such as the Ateneo 14, who oppose Catholic teachings on birth control and flaunt their defiance despite teaching in Catholic schools: they put their money where their pocket is while completely chucking intellectual honesty.

Akbayan should be reminded that it is part of the administration coalition and technically, a part of government. Since it has representation in parliament and its people occupy key posts in the administration, it has no choice but to consider criticisms and opposing views. No one in power has the right to be onion-skinned.

Agony of Japan

No words can fully describe the magnitude and shock of what Japan suffered last March 11: the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and 30-foot-high wall of ocean that the undersea upheaval unleashed were never conceived even in the exacting calculations of the Japanese, probably the most disaster-prepared people on earth. The deadly combination of temblor and tsunami has left in its wake whole towns, industries and populations swept away from the map. Now, Japan is struggling to contain the damage of the disasters on its nuclear power plants. We pray that they will be successful in that regard.

The crisis is the worst that has happened to Japan since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the Second World War and the surrender that followed. Judging from that experience, the world knows that in due time, Japan will heal and recover. We know from the history of the Japanese people about their remarkable resilience and strength of spirit. We know that in the face of many calamities, the Japanese compose themselves with admirable dignity, honor, and optimism. We pray for—and expect that—Japan will heal and be back on its feet. In this terrible time of adversity, the Japanese should not forget that the world is with them in prayer and commiseration.

68 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry, but the last time I checked, Valentine’s day is no longer a Catholic feast. They even deleted St. Valentine in their official list of “saints.” Can you please clarify this??? Ang kilala kong Varsi ay sigurado when it comes to the veracity of their articles.

    • FYI: Although a Mass in honor of a Saint may not be celebrated in the Liturgical Calendar, it does not mean he is no longer a Saint.

      Feb. 14 feast of St. Valentine is celebrated in the Liturgical Calendar of the Traditional Latin Mass or Extraordinary Form:
      According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Valentine. St. Valentine, a priest of Rome, was martyred, it would appear, in about 270. On the Flaminian Way, at the site of his martyrdom, Julius I built a basilica which was visited frequently.
      http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2011-02-14

      Ordinary Form:
      St. Valentine’s Day, named after an actual Christian saint (or, possibly, up to three persons), is no longer celebrated on the Catholic general calendar, although the day is celebrated popularly in many Western countries on February 14…[I]n 1969, the Catholic Church removed his feast from the general calendar, in an effort to remove those saints whose origins are based primarily on legendary accounts. This does not mean that Valentine is no longer a saint. However, his feast is no longer celebrated on February 14 by most Catholics throughout the world. Yet, in Balzan and Malta, where supposed relics of Saint Valentine are present, Saint Valentine is still celebrated liturgically on February 14. There is nothing to stop a Catholic from honoring one of the Saint Valentines on February 14.
      http://www.churchyear.net/stvalentine.html

      “If you’re Catholic and you disagree with your Church. What do you do? You change your mind.” – Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

      • I don’t get the logic of people who are argue this:
        “If you’re Catholic and you disagree with your Church. What do you do? You change your mind.” – Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

        Laging sinasabi ng mga taga UST yang argument na yan, I remember there was this guy who was interviewed by The Guidon on the RH Bill and Ateneo teachers arguing for it, he said something like “If you don’t agree with the Church, then you should just keep your mouth shut” or something like that. (Note: some of those teachers taught sa theo dept ng Ateneo)

        Guys, really? I mean, REALLY.

        Dapat lahat tayo asong susunod sunod na lang? Dapat parang yung mga asong nagwowobble ng ulo sa mga taxi? Tatango na lang tayo? Bawal kumontra? Bawal makipagargue?

        Ano na lang nangyari sa mga Pilipino if we all kept our mouths shut when the Dominicans were enslaving Filipinos :/

        P.S Nilagay ko talaga pangalan ko para kung gusto mo magreply 🙂
        Sobrang nakakaloko lang talaga kasi yung ganung argument.

        • You don’t get the logic of Archbishop Chaput because you don’t get what being Catholic is. Faith requires an assent of the WILL. That means people CHOOSE to believe. The Church has the full deposit of Truth, whether people agree with Her or not. I don’t agree with the guy who said “keep your mouth shut” but I can understand the frustration with ‘Catholics’ (like some of the Ateneo teachers) not fully understanding what Church teaching is and then spouting off what are basically lies… in which case it *is* tempting to say “shut up”. As Christians we are called to be more charitable than that but I hope you understand that’s a struggle for everyone, pro- and anti- alike. If you don’t agree with the Church, you are *not* Catholic — that’s just the way it is. You’re PROTESTANT. You may not call yourself that but that’s what you are. That’s not a judgment, it’s just the truth. On the other hand, you may be surprised, there are many of us who do agree with the Church, not because we’re dogs who simply nod (and actually even dogs are smarter than that :)) but because we’ve studied the Faith and take it to be the full measure of Truth — while there *are* Catholics who follow blindly, there’s quite a lot of us that don’t. But hey, we can always agree to disagree. Chaput says, “If you’re Catholic”. What he’s saying in essence is, “If you CHOOSE to remain Catholic, then you have to change your mind, because otherwise you’re just clinging to a label.” Which in turn, is what I don’t get about Cafeteria Catholics. Why not just give up the pretense?

          • You say if one does not agree with the Church, then that person is not a Catholic. Hmm I guess you’re right… just like the fact that I do not agree with an IMBECILE like you, so yeah I guess I’m not an imbecile.

          • And that kind of reasoning is precisely why I no longer consider myself Catholic. The church says you have free will but in essence, when you no longer agree to the actions of its leaders, it labels you as no longer catholic or a “cafeteria catholic” as you so charmingly put it. Where is the choice there? It’s just as good as telling to “agree with us or else you can no longer be one of us”. Case in point: read your comment for it fully embodies this thought.

            And to be honest, though you say the church has full deposit of the truth, the church for me remains fallible simply because its leaders are fallible. You cannot possibly deny the number of instances where priests are caught in sexually immoral acts and how the Vatican tried to sweep these under the rug by sending these priests elsewhere in the pretense of “study leaves.”

            That being said, I do not believe in the church nor its leaders. I believe in the greater good. Ethics, for me, should reign over religion.

          • That’s good, less 1 dirt for the Church means lesser potential for immoral acts… BTW, the politicians pushing the RH Bill are infallible? Always right?

          • And this is precisely why I no longer consider myself catholic. The church says you have freedom of choice but it also tells you to believe/agree or else you are no longer one of us. Case in point: Look at your comment. You are basically saying, choose to believe in the church and its teachings because it’s the fountain of truth otherwise, stop calling yourself catholic. Where is the choice there?

            Also I would like to point out that the church is not infallible simply because it’s leaders are fallible. What of the number of instances priests were caught in sexually immoral acts and the several ways the Vatican tried to sweep these under the rug? If you read the news, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

            Hence, having said that, you will understand how I no longer believe in the church nor in its leaders. I believe in the greater good instead. Ethics and the greater good should always reign over religion.

          • What Choice: Your post saddens me. It is clear that your decision was not made out of any love towards the Church. There are many Catholics who are disappointed and hurt by the abominable actions of both some clerics and laypersons alike, and yet they remain faithful and do what they can to assist in the healing of the members of the Church. If you loved the Church, you would try to initiate reforms from within, asking God for his supernatural help in your effort, rather than view the Church only on human terms and turn your back on it.

          • I guess there’s no arguing this then? Kasi kailangan ko maniwala eh. Sayang, ang exclusive naman ng religion natin. Akala ko pa naman Catholic means Universal. Hindi na pala. I pray every day of my life for guidance, not just for me, but for people in the Church, for you, too. Nalulungkot ako, sa totoo lang. Not in any way mad. Nakakalungkot kasi, iba yung pakiramdam na dahil dito masasabi sa akin na hindi na ako Katoliko?

            Protestante na pala ako, if I choose to question, choose not to ask. Actually, if you think about it, mas yung logic nga yung inaattack ko eh, not the argument itself.

            Was it Copernicus (i’m not sure) who said that the Earth was not the center of the universe? Tapos tinakwil siya ng Simbahan?

            Oh well, there’s always Jesus. Kahit kailan hindi siya nagexclude ng tao. Maybe you could learn a thing or two from him.

        • The position paper of the Ateneo teachers for RH is not based on Sacred Scripture nor the Magisterium, two elements which are necessary to even consider a position to be Catholic. One’s “sense” of the faith alone, expressed through one’s conscience, is not enough to make a pronouncement Catholic as one may have a deformed conscience and express a position based on this deformity. Among all people in Catholic academia, Ateneo the professors should know this and should have known better, especially the theology professors who endorsed the position paper. But, sadly they do not know better. One of the theology professors even argues for a completely relativistic inculturation of the Eucharist by using sisig and beer instead of bread and wine. This should give all discerning and faithful Catholics an idea on the “Catholicity” of the Ateneo professors’ ideas and their position paper. Frankly, it is a weak statement of personal opinion and not a representation of Catholic faith.

  2. I am not surprised that Varsitarian took the most obvious side in the world on the Reproductive Bill. But, please. Get your facts straight before you give out your opinions. Many many versions of the RH bill have been submitted to congress in the past decade. It’s not being fast tracked, it’s just going thru the normal process. In fact, it’s even being slowed down by some congressmen claiming to be ‘interpolators’ for the Bill. The authors have been waiting to get the debates going but the people against the bill still say that “they not ready”. One lawmaker even asked if the debates can be pushed back till May 2011. I mean common?! If you want to fight the issue you have to have a stand. The ‘delaying tactic’ is defeatist.

    Sec. Ona has said many times, that Pres. Aquino’s govt will be pushing for the passage of the bill. It’s no secret. It’s not an ‘internal’ movement in congress. It’s has been part of their agenda even during the campaigns.

    Lastly, just for FYI. There have been voluntary amendments made on the House Bill 4244. “Ideal Family Size” is no longer a provision of the RH bill (sec.20). I’m so sorry for ranting like this. But please, don’t take the anti-RH position without reading all your facts. Reproductive health is NOT just about contraception and family planning. It’s also about Maternal and Child Care, Male Sexual Health, education and counselling, prevention of infertility, and more.

    • Facts??? I have some questions about your “facts.” Are the proposed amendments part of a new official version of the bill or simply proposals? Are medicines for the top killers of women also going to be classified as “essential medicines’ such as those for heart disease (#1 killer), hypertension, cancer, diabetes, etc.??? FACT: the RH bill will classify ONLY artificial contraceptives as essential medicines!!! How about the Billings Ovulation Method and the Symptothermal Method? Will these also be classified as ‘essential medical processes’ so that couples who chose these methods may avail of competent instruction and coaching for free? What about the sex-ed materials? When will the DOH/DepEd show these to the public so that the public may know exactly what these agencies have been testing for the last several years? WHY THE LACK OF TRANSPARENCY??? “Delaying Tactics??? It was the Speaker of the House himself who announced which issues will be given priority as this session comes to an end — namely the impeachment case and the ARMM elections issue. ‘Normal process’? Last year the lower house created rules for fast-tracking bills that had been pending for years. Was not the RH bill included in this list of “priority’ bills to be fast-tracked?

    • Not fast tracked? Hello dear commenter. Are you reading the newspaper or watching the news. Can’t you see how these pro-RH legislators are doing all means to fast track this bill without any deliberations.

      Pro-RH legislators don’t want to talk about the Consolidated RH because it clearly contradicts the Constitution and goes against scientific and economic facts.

      And FYI, did you really really read and understood the consolidated RH Bill. Can’t you see the unacceptable provisions there? Is having “acceptable” part of this bill enough to force us to swallow the whole bill?

      Tell me, is the current version of this bill acceptable 100%?

  3. “it is after all the state and its bureaucracy that have fostered the corruption and waste that characterize the debacle that is the Filipino republic.”
    – it is not the state that fostered corruption. YOU are part of the state because to become a state, it should have population, government, territory, sovereignty and foreign recognition. it means YOU (we) are part of the problem. don’t blame it all on the government.

    “should the state have any right to add what follows after the bill’s arrogant discourtesy of declaring how many children Filipino couples should have”
    – yes, its called police power defined as the power of the state to limit the rights and liberty of its people for the sake of public good. you may be enjoying your current status in life or certain privileges because of this inherent power of the state.

    “In doing so, she merely showed the arrogance of the state because Valentine’s is a Catholic feast. Apparently, she had thought February 14 was Motel Day”
    – whoever thought that valentine’s day is still being celebrated as a ‘catholic feast’ is at the very least ignorant. don’t be a hypocrite. why do think there motels are everywhere? valentine’s day even before are being celebrated in motels, hotels, o sa kahit saang madilim by many lovers. filipinos are not conservative. take off your blinders or get out of your shell. back in 3rd year i made a survey of UST STUDENTS regarding premarital sex, you will be surprised that 54% of those surveyed already engaged in sex. i personally know 2 UST female friends who got pregnant, and a UST guy na nakabuntis.

    “separation of church and state is really a prohibition against the state, not against the church”
    – really? as far as i know it goes both ways. church can’t MEDDLE with state affairs and the state cannot FAVOR any religion. whatever rights or prohibitions stated in the constitution or any law for that matter goes both ways. magresearch kang maige ah!

    “And whatever the alleged meddling of the church on state affairs is, it’s merely one that is suasive, unlike that by the state which, because of its police and taxing powers, is coercive.”
    – of course! state powers should be coercive. what do you think will happen to our country if these inherent state powers are only persuasive in nature? if it is the church that is coercive, bumalik sa tayo sa spanish period.

    “Didn’t they come from the money of ordinary people who were taxed by the state into supporting such an unsavoury stunt as condom distribution during a religious feast which is supposed to enshrine human love, not animal lust?”
    -again a hypocrite’s comment. man is a sexual animal. that ‘animal lust’ forms part of that ‘human love’.

    napatunayan lang ng article na to na deteriorating na ang varsitarian. this is my 7th year in UST (2 years in one major before shifting and finishing my second course. i’m now taking postgrad studies still in UST) and i have observed a steady decline in the quality of the articles written. hindi na pinag-iisipan ang mga sinusulat sa varsitarian, basta lang malamanan ang mga dpat ipublish na papers. i understand na gustong ipakita ng opinion/editorial na ito ang pangit sa RH bill, pero sana ang arguments ng writer are based on facts. hindi pinag-isipan ang arguments. nagbibigay ang writer ng cons ng RH bill which is ok pero i observed na pinagtatanggol nia ung stand nia in a way na he disregards the actual facts, specially sa interpretations ng law, constitution pati ng actual condition sa society natin. he should not invent or circumvent interpretations of law and the constitution which is duly established by Supreme Court jurisprudence. magbasa ho kayo ng jurisprudence bago kayo magcomment sa laws. look into the existing conditions, wag ka lang magsulat dahil akala mo un ang tama. as i can see, iba ung pinaniniwalaan mo sa status quo ngayon sa society.

  4. 1. Of course we have to resort to ad hominem don’t we? While it is true that the government as an institution has a lot of ground to cover, that doesn’t mean that it has revoked its right to do something about further growing problems. This article could’ve better served its purpose by actually researching on and exposing the demerits of the bill (like the “physicians admit are technically abortifacient” part). Of course this is an opinion page, but I hope you do give credence to opinion by matters of truth.
    2. About police and taxing powers… I wonder what you got to say about the banning of communion to pro-RH Catholics. [Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/02/17/11/catholic-parish-bans-communion-rh-supporters%5D. That certainly looks coercive to me. And I won’t tackle the taxing powers, I won’t go on telling that some people think that lobbying against RH guarantees more population, hence more income for the Church. But of course I’m passing off a lousy opinion here as legitimate point of discussion, perhaps like what I read here?
    3. Hardly anyone fails Theology in UST? Hmmm I wonder how much the students learn from it. And oh, just because it’s optional doesn’t mean it has no coercive meaning. Rational people respond to incentives, as any sensible economist would tell you. It’s student instinct for someone worth his dough to respond to bonuses, regardless of conviction. But of course if such person posted anti-RH stuff on Facebook just because of the bonus, that could mean there’s something fishy about the way Theology is taught there. And besides, if the students really believed what they troll-posted on their Facebook pages, they won’t say that it’s for the bonus, and they’d go it because it’s what they really believed in. No need to name-check and throw veiled accusations at people from other institutions, especially if your own institution needs fixing as well.

  5. A college paper often shows the kind of thinkers a university or college has. In this case, if I had to base my perception of UST students based on this editorial and this paper, I’d have to conclude that UST students are a bunch of IDIOTS who do not understand what they’re talking about.

    Stop worrying about the gov’t spending public funds on contraceptives. I’d worry more about the fact that poor parents of UST students are paying for the publication of this school paper.

    • What has happened to objectivity in journalism? Sounds more like the opinions of the University, rather than that of the student’s. After all, The Varsitarian is the official STUDENT publication of UST, is it not?

      • Do you know what an EDITORIAL is?

        American Heritage Dictionary:
        ed·i·to·ri·al

        (?d’?-tôr’?-?l, -t?r’-) pronunciation
        n.

        1. An article in a publication expressing the opinion of its editors or publishers.
        2. A commentary on television or radio expressing the opinion of the station or network.

        adj.

        1. Of or relating to an editor or editing: an editorial position with a publishing company; an editorial policy prohibiting the use of unnamed sources.
        2. Of or resembling an editorial, especially in expressing an opinion: an editorial comment.

    • Pity you for swallowing the RH propaganda hook, line, and sinker. This university has existed for 400 years warts and all. No one can take that away, not even you.

    • Yeah yeah…common comments of people of your kind. Telling people that they are “IDIOTS” without really really telling the reason why they are idiots is not helpful. It just show that you are just a ranter who hate the anti-RH people without logical reason.

      Rant rant rant all you want but the fact is that your rants is just nothing but…a rant.

  6. “By urging his students to post their criticisms of RH and of Akbayan’s attack on religion through its distribution of condoms on Valentine’s, a religious feast, Jalin was merely asking them to stand up for what they believe in. To put their money where their mouth is. Which cannot be said of other educators, such as the Ateneo 14, who oppose Catholic teachings on birth control and flaunt their defiance despite teaching in Catholic schools: they put their money where their pocket is while completely chucking intellectual honesty.”

    At least those Ateneo professors had the balls to stand up for what they believe in. Even the Jesuit priests of Ateneo are decent enough to acknowledge that other professors and students may not share their views regarding the RH Bill. Professors like Jalin should not be called professors at all. Stop making stupid people teach because they end up making more stupid people. Masyado nang factory ng katangahan yang eskwelahan ninyo. Tama na.

    • Uhhhm, Theology subject ito. So what do you expect a Theology prof to teach? That there is no God and RH is okay? Oh, please.

      • Your concept of Theology is boxed by your notion that it is a simply spilling out of dogma. In the Ateneo, we are taught that a proper Theology stems from a proper understanding of man–a Christian Anthropology. In this sense, we see man as thrust by God from nothingness into being with a natural inclination to do the good. But we are not born knowing the good, only understanding that it exists and that we must seek it. This natural inclination leads us to a life that hopes to unfold the meaning of the good–this is the fragile reality, that which can be influenced so easily so we tend to the Church. The Church, which has been established through thousands of years as a beacon of light.

        Then again, the good is not limited in the purview of the Church. At the end of the day, it is not the Church but our conscience that dictates our decision. It is in GOOD conscience that we act, that we make manifest the results of our intrinsic humanity (knowing the good) and our extrinsic faculty (desiring to know it further). The moment the Church impinges on our conscience is the moment it falters.

        Theology is not merely saying yes. It is a process, a systematic explication of God’s divine revelation. It is not merely a rattling off of verses or of the memorization of the ten commandments. It is a critical understanding of our faith. In social theology we learn of the PREFERENTIAL OPTION for the POOR, we learn the Theological motivations of environmental causes and similar other movements. These were born after the rumination of Vatican II that made the Church more aware of the changing world, of a new reality, of a different context.

        So as you belittle Theology you show how little you understand of it, you show how insignificant what you have learned is in your formation as a person.

        • The problem is you have read one editorial piece and you have already GENERALIZED UST’s Theology program. Have you seen our syllabi and texts? OK, since you’re in this habit, let me make my own impression of you. You seem to think that only your Ateneo teaches the right kind of theology, that UST theology profs are substandard and UST students are robots. HELL WRONG. And please, you don’t have the monopoly of the idea of “preferential option for the poor.” It’s in PCP2 and we know that. You say: “At the end of the day, it is not the Church but our conscience that dictates our decision.” Question: Do you have a well-formed conscience? Can you honestly tell me that when you use the pill for contraceptive reasons, the same day you can take Holy Communion? Ask your theology prof.

        • What’s your problem with DOGMA? Oh I know, you HATE it. Just doesn’t fit you lifestyle? Did your “prof” ever tell you that the Church debate on contraception is closed? No? That Humanae Vitae is infallible? That other documents before that like Casti Cannubi have ruled against contraception? Have you ever heard of the Magisterium? How about this quote from your patron, Ignatius — |”[I]f [the Church] shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black.”

      • Well I expect a Theology prof to enlighten me with the inner workings of faith, so that I can come in terms with my understanding of a Divine being, and not force things into my throat. I’ve had 2 Theology subjects so far (additional 2 next SY) and I appreciate the way they let me find my way into the faith without being too dogmatic about it. For short, I expect my Theo prof to teach, not to preach.

  7. Tsk tsk terrible writing. It’s really hard for the common reader to thresh out the points of this article. Also, please research on your facts. Parang tabloid tuloy ang dating nito.

    • Oh, really? How terrible? It’s easy to say ‘terrible’ for someone who can’t write one paragraph in straight English. Tabloid? Have you seen an English-language editorial like this in Abante? Remate?

  8. Since when was it a bad idea to be well-informed about the consequences of unprotected sex?

    There will never be a short supply of people who engage in pre-marital sex, whether contraceptives are available or not. There’s no use kidding ourselves otherwise.

    Why shouldn’t the government encourage that the ideal family size contains two children? We know full well that we don’t really need the population of the Philippines to grow any bigger.

    • It is a bad idea to discuss this in Grade 5, complete with modules on how to use contraceptives. Have you seen their sex-ed modules? No? Figures.

      • But it is an even worse idea to assume that students know enough about sexual health to be prepared if and when they do engage in premarital sex. In the same logic that you are applying to my comment, let me ask you this: when you were in grade 5, did your teachers teach you calculus? No. You were taught a degree of math that was understandable for your grade level. In the same sense, we cannot expect the students to fully grasp the idea of sexual health in one year. It has to be taught to them through stages. But the important thing here, is that it must be taught. If they will not learn it from a reliable and credible source, then from whom? The internet? movies? their peers? I agree that the modules on sex-ed have to be revamped, as with my own experience when I was in grade 5. To put it lightly, it was more amusing than educational. However, it is still an important lesson nonetheless.

        • “I agree that the modules on sex-ed have to be revamped” — SEE?

          Section 16 (HAVE YOU EVEN READ THIS?) “The Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the DSWD, and the DOH shall formulate the Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education curriculum.” (how about THE RELIGIOUS sector?)

          “Age-appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall be integrated in all relevant subjects and shall include, but not limited to, the following topics:
          (i) Family planning methods;” (GRADE 5?)

  9. …because it is not based on logic but fiction. Anti-RH Bill endorsers are always the unreasonable nuts who want to press their own faith on everyone regardless of individuals’ beliefs. Religion will soon die out, after your generation of hopeless sycophantic religious fanatics soon die out. Leave us to fix the world of your long-endured errors. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

    • Haha. Religion will not fade away just because you feel bad about it. Your feelings are worthless. The Church has been there for 2,000 years and counting.

    • And how about your kind who want to press your own belief on everyone regardless of individual beliefs? Aren’t you guilty of the same charge dear commenter?

      Your pro-RH camp are forcing your belief on us through a law. Isn’t this a form of tyranny and oppression from your kind?

      C’mon dude. You just hate religion and DON’T FORCE YOUR IRRATIONAL HATRED ON US.

  10. Although I support the RH Bill, there are portions of it I do not like. I remain unsure on the bill’s stand on emergency contraception–mine is simply that it’s immoral. Most of it seems sound though. DISCLAIMER: I do not claim to be an expert on it; I have yet to read it in its entirety. But this article goes over the top. There is a way to argue without resorting to such baseless, fallacious arguments.

    Also, please stop referring to history. The Catholic Church has a history of greed, corruption, and immorality far longer than any existing state today. I’d be careful to use any argument that even mildly suggests the Church being oppressed historically, unless we are talking about the Roman period. And don’t forget how mum the Catholic Church can be in times of conflict.

    Saka, pwede ba, whoever penned this should be booted out of your editorial board. It sounds like you’re preaching to the choir. Your arguments make sense only to those who agree with you completely (and even if they did, any sensible guy who’s against the RH Bill would probably dismiss this article as worthless fluff). It speaks of your standards as a newspaper. If you’re going to argue against the bill, then have the sensibility to do it properly.

    • Hey, why not read it first? Comment ka ng comment di mo naman pala nabasa. Heto ang link: http://www.likhaan.org/content/15th-congress-house-bill-4244-full-text-final-consolidated-rh-bill-hb-4244

      Why not start with the PENAL provisions?
      “Any violation of this Act or commission of the foregoing prohibited acts shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine of Ten Thousand (P 10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P 50,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the competent court; Provided That, if the offender is a public official or employee, he or she shall suffer the accessory penalty of dismissal from the government service and forfeiture of retirement benefits. If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president or any responsible officer. An offender who is an alien shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration.”
      (BAT MAY KULONG?)

      The following acts are prohibited:
      … (e) Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act. READ UP!

      You want history? How about the history of the proponents of this bill — THE MILITANT LEFT? Do you want a history of BETRAYAL and MURDER? How about the DARK HISTORY of POPULATION CONTROL?

      Google Margaret Sanger and Indira Gandhi. Get some education. Anyway here is a preview:

      “Matthew Connelly’s exhaustively researched history on the population control movement, Fatal Misconception, describes what happens when powerful, influential groups decide other groups of people are “excess.” “This is a story of how some people have tried to control others without having to answer to anyone,” Connelly says. “They could be ruthless and manipulative in ways that were, and are, shocking.”

      He emphasises that population control has never been a global conspiracy. Rather, it reflects a highly conservative social outlook that treats other people as the biggest problem.

      “In effect, [populationists] diagnosed political problems as pathologies that had a biological basis. At its most extreme, this logic has led to sterilisation of the ‘unfit’ or ethnic cleansing. But even family planning could be a form of population control when proponents aimed to plan other people’s families.”

      Connelly, an associate professor of history at Columbia University, has no time for the “pro-life” religious groups who have opposed population control because they are against contraception or abortion.

      The denial of a woman’s right to control her own fertility is simply another form of population control. State-run programs to artificially boost population levels are also contemptible.

      “No less manipulative were those who were those who denied hundred of millions more people access to contraceptives and abortion because they wanted them to have more babies,” he says.

      But his book deals mostly with the policies, influence and actions of those who organised to cut population in the 20th century. Fatal Misconception “is a history of how some people systematically devalued both the sanctity of life and the autonomy of the individual.”

      Influence of eugenics

      A key actor in this history is the US feminist and birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger. In a 2008 interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio National’s Phillip Adams, Connelly described Sanger as a tragic figure.

      She rose to public prominence in the US before World War I as an outstanding representative of the political struggle for women’s right to safe abortion. She was persecuted and hounded by US government authorities for her pioneering stand.

      But by the 1920s, she had gravitated from being a campaigner for working-class women’s rights to a supporter of efforts restrict the right of working-class people to parent children.

      In 1925 she said:

      “If the millions of dollars which are now expended in the care and maintenance of those who in all kindness should never have been brought into this world were converted to a system of bonuses to unfit parents, paying them to refrain from further parenthood, and continuing to pay them while they controlled their procreative faculties, this would not only be a profitable investment, but the salvation of American civilization.”

      Sanger’s shift reflected a political compromise she, along with other early feminist activists such as Britain’s Marie Stopes, Japan’s Shidzue Ishimoto and Sweden’s Elise Ottesen-Jensen, made with the flagging eugenicist movement.

      In this period, “With few accomplishments, less public credibility, and little access to policymakers [birth controllers] agreed on the need to ally with eugenicists in every country,” says Connelly.

      The influence of eugenicist ideas became increasingly marked in Sanger’s public statements. Connelly records her saying:

      “I believe that now, immediately there should be national sterilisation for certain dysgenic types of our population who are being encouraged to breed and would die out were the government not feeding them.”

      During the interwar years, Sanger played a key role in laying the foundations of a global population control movement.

      From the outset, the partnership with the eugenicists warped the movement’s aims. Its prescriptions for the Third World avoided policies that focused on economic development or women’s access to education – despite the proven link between these and lower birth rates.

      “But while birth control proponents were quite diverse and usually divided, none took up the cause of women’s education,” says Connelly.

      “That would have undermined efforts to forge an alliance with eugenicists, because it would only remind them of how contraception helped educated women avoid contributing to the gene pool. Instead they could agree that the solution was to find a simpler, cheaper contraceptive that could be used by uneducated people.””

  11. I guess most of these pro-RH bill proponents are too horny they want to have sex whenever they want and they want the government to pay for it. Well for one, condoms won’t make poverty any better, it would just be another burden to taxpayers. RH Bill is just a lame excuse for convenient and easy sex minus the responsibility of bearing children. The Church can yap all they want about their doctrines and homilies but common sense is all we need. And common sense tells us that the government does NOT NEED to spend a centavo on artificial contraceptives.

    • I disagree. Just because a person agrees with the RH bill it does not mean that all they want to do is have sex and have the government pay for it. They may agree with the bill because they perceive it is needed in society and not because they are horny.

      Condoms and other contraceptives do not have a direct influence in the increase in poverty. However, they would help control the population and help the government in allocating what little resources we have. Does the government need to spend to provide artificial contraceptives to the people? The argument can go both ways. However, the government does have a duty to promote the welfare of the people and government officials seem to believe that providing for contraceptives would promote such goal.

      • Unfortunately, HB 4244 is weighted to favor the life of the mother over the life of the unborn. Our constitution calls for equal protection of both.

      • “they would help control the population and help the government in allocating what little resources we have”

        What? You still believe this myth? Do you think that there is really a need to decrease our population to “allocate resources?”

        Let me ask you these: Is the number of Filipinos the cause why the “masa” share on small amount of resources? Is reducing the number of people, specifically the member of the “masa” ensure that they will get the resources that they deserve from the government?

        You are barking at the wrong tree dear commenter. It is the rampant corruption that causes this “poor allocation of resources.”

        If government officials believe that contraceptives will promote their welfare, then their belief are wrong.

    • “WOOOO!!!!! SEX NA TAYO!!!!! SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX!!!!!” if that is how you view the RH bill supporters, then you are gravely mistaken

      • “AMEN ALLELUIA PRAISE THE LORD!” if that is how you view the RH bill opponents, then you are also gravely mistaken.

  12. I hope that whoever wrote this ill-prepared article takes particular care in reading and understanding the criticisms and arguments made by the following:

    Blooregard Q. Kazoo (not verified) on Mon, 03/21/2011 – 14:01 cruisenitolits (not verified) on Sat, 03/19/2011 – 23:43.

    Just because the provisions found in the Declaration of Principles and State Policies particularly Section 12 are not mentioned in the bill, it does not necessarily make it anti-constitution, as you put it. Whether or not the bill is unconstitutional as it may violate such provision is still up for interpretation. Also, before you cite the constitution, like how you mentioned the “non-establishment clause” of the Bill of Rights, you should familiarize yourself as to how they are generally interpreted and how it may be interpreted in light of this particular bill.

    Furthermore, you should have considered the fact that what you are criticizing as “anti-constitution” is still a bill. Although its current provisions may be read as unconstitutional, they may not be so once it is completed. Thus it is rather hasty to call out the bill as anti-constitution.

    Although you may get a kick out of the fact that so many people reacted to your article, which may make you believe that what you have written is worthy, I regret to say that it is not worthy of reading. The only reason the people who posted their comments here read it to the end is that it assaults the senses, leaves us dumb-founded at its idiocy and enrages us to comment. These comments should make you think twice when you prepare another article, unless you want to be humiliated again. In which case, you should write as horribly as you have so far.

    • But asking the question why these provisions are not included are VALID questions since the bill touches on the FAMILY. Maybe you don’t care about the family as a social institution? Maybe if you were a Bernas I will listen to you. But you are not. And have you read what Bernas had written about non-establishment? Maybe not!. Here it is…

      “This brings me to a basic principle that must not be forgotten when reading the Constitution. It is this, that, for the state, the Constitution sets up the structures and powers of government and enumerates some non-inherent powers; but for the individual person it is a guarantee of fundamental rights. The Bill of Rights, where the non-establishment provision is found, is a limitation on the powers of the state but a guarantee of the rights of individuals. In the matter of religion, this is obvious. The Constitution commands the state not to establish any religion (no law shall be passed respecting an establishment of religion) but it guarantees the right of the individual to the free exercise of religious profession and worship. One of the purposes, in fact, of the invention of “non-establishment” is the protection of individuals from oppressive state religions. Non-establishment, in other words, is in service of free exercise. Hence, when there is conflict between the two, jurisprudence favors free exercise. For instance, our Supreme Court has spoken of “benevolent neutrality” in approaching religious conflicts.” http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20101206-307274/Church-and-State

    • I do not think that there’s anything to be proud about with this editorial. It only proves that people who are against the bill at least makes the effort to listen to what the other side is saying before making their arguments. The same cannot be said for the person who wrote this or the editorial team who allowed this to be published.

      • That’s what you think. This is an opinion piece. If you wan’t, put up your own paper and write your own opinion.

  13. “With 35 sections and more than 5,800 words, the bill promises to become the most extensive measure by any Congress in history”

    The 1991 Local Government Code has 536 sections. That is more than ten times this bill.

    get your facts right, do your homework… until then, i’ll reserve my comments on your flawed logic and all the fallacies you used.

  14. “…considering further that hardly anyone fails Theology (except those always absent) in UST,”

    First off, I am totally offended by the way you belittle Theology. One must understand that theology is not merely the memorization of verses, the rattling off of the ten commandments, the unthinking ingestion of Catholic dogma. It is so much more than that and in understanding what Theology is, in essence, we realize that often the Church, inasmuch as it remains a beacon of moral truth, entreats upon certain boundaries that we must question or reflect on.

    In Theology, we are invited to understand our faith further, not to be imposed with the presence of God but to learn how our lives are testaments of His presence. We ruminate over our faith, sometimes we have to question certain aspects of it, sometimes we have to doubt, it is because of this that our faith is stronger. A blind acceptance is not faith, it is not built on anything stern, only in the flimsy scaffolds of fear and ignorance. We question out of the willingness to understand. As you have said, faith, like love, is an act of the WILL.

    Theology also teaches us one very important lesson: the Christian Anthropology. This teaching lays the foundation of the Church’s understanding of man and his personhood. We are taught that as beings in this world, we were thrust by God from nothingness into existence. The Bible tells us that He created us in His own Image and Likeness. We understand this as a normative hope, that as we embark in our own journey of discovery, of life, we fulfill his hope for us to live like Him–He who is love and thus live a life of love. Furthermore, an important aspect of the Christian Anthropology is the notion of conscience. We have an innate accountability to do the good. As the flower tends towards the sun, so do we tend towards the good. It is in this accountability that we try to understand the good to be done. Through the reality of moral science, of trying to know the good, we are introduced to a fragile reality where the notion of good becomes subjective. This is where the Church figures in, as an institution that illuminates us and sets the direction of the Good. The Church, however, must never impose, only provide avenues. The third aspect of conscience is its manifestation–as we are not merely thinking beings but doing beings as well. We bow to this manifestation, to this act, that stems from wanting to do the good and trying to understand what the good is. Often the Church does not understand that in this aspect of conscience, no institution should impose because our acts come from what we understand to be good.

    This is not to say, however, that criminals must be punished as there are several criteria, in Moral Theology, that we must consider. There are evils unavoidable and evils avoidable as well. Yet if we reflect over the fact of conscience, one can say that a Catholic can support the RH bill in good conscience–in light of the pertinent teachings of Social and Liberation Theology.

    I am not totally for RH but neither am I against it. My only wish is for discourse to happen, not in the crass and classless way by which the Varsitarian wishes to engage in but in the sensible confines of academic understanding. Mudslinging and ad hominem attacks get us nowhere, they only aggravate the present divide. Though one might argue, still, that he has the freedom to express his opinions–and that this is an Editorial article, though an argument of nature is weak in this context–he must also realize that as we are given the freedom so are we given the responsibility and response-ability to act on the good.

    • I hope you provide the same type of commentary to the pro-RH who engage in mudslinging, name-calling, heckling, and character attacks bordering on libel.

      • Of course. I often detest those who are Pro-RH only because they do not believe in the Church.

        The comment, just to be clear, had two general points. First I wanted to clarify the notion of Theology that seemed to be grossly misrepresented in the article. In properly understanding theology and its numerous teachings, which is my second point, we see that a Catholic can, in good conscience, support the RH Bill. It does not say that one MUST support in the RH Bill. It simply facilitates the middle ground that we often forget. It is impossible to debate in extremes, one’s assumptions will always cause problems in the parameters of dialogue.

        I do not condone any form of tactless mudslinging. If what I’m getting from your reply is right, you, too, believe that the article does its fair share of fallacious and often baseless retorts that do nothing but debilitate the possibility of dialogue.

        In hind sight, what the bill lacks is a fundamental consultative nature. We have yet to engage the grass roots to truly understand the context. The statistics say one thing–and to be quite honest, can be interpreted in a myriad of ways–but to actually reach out and engage is another thing.

        • I tried to search in vain for one key word in your post — MAGISTERIUM. have you heard of that? or are you and your “theology” prof allergic to that word? Catholics cannot support the RH bill in good conscience. This has been answered by more reasonable Ateneans in a paper before — “Following one’s conscience is therefore not a matter of what one “feels” or “thinks” to be right or wrong. Rather, conscience must stand as a “witness to the authority of truth (italics ours) in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 177). The Catechism quotes John Henry Cardinal Newman who says, “[Conscience] is a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by his representatives” (ibid. 1778). The task of conscience is therefore not to invent truth, but to discern what is true by listening to the voice of Jesus echoed by and through the Church. It is important to understand that this argument does not lead to a ‘wooden compliance to directives.’ Our faith, in St. Anselm’s words, is a faith that seeks understanding, fides quaerens intellectum. Catholics therefore do not blindly obey teachings just because they come from the Church. Rather, their faith bids them to seek to understand the mind, heart and spirit of the Church and make them his own.” http://www.rcam.org/Homilies/2008/statement_catholics_cannot_support_RH_bill_in_go0d_conscience.html

    • The above reply is, pretty much, a concise and well elucidated summary of the topic on Conscience and Christian Anthropology, on the course TH131 Marriage and Human Sexuality under Fr. Adolfo N. Dacanay. I think I know who wrote it. And I respect that he wants to remain anonymous.

      I’d rather give praise than insult to anyone. And so, I give my two thumbs up to this Atenean. Ateneo has taught you well.

      May we all come to good terms and engage in healthy discourse. God bless to everyone.

  15. If there is no teaching Magisterium, there will be chaos. There is a moral and natural law which we must all follow.Jesus Christ established the Church to continue the work of leading as many souls to Heaven. Anyone is free to leave the Church. Nobody is forcing anyone to stay.

  16. I thought UST is a Catholic university? This means this editorial is ONLY FITTING. If you don’t like what UST espouses, enroll somewhere else. Also, if you don’t like what the Catholic Church teaches, go to another religion.

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