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Support for RH Bill Debunked May 22, 2010

Posted by Maddog in HB 5043, Politics and Law, Prolife Issues.
Tags: , , , , ,

A little-known survey released early this year revealed that 92% of Metro Manila residents are against the passage of the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill, also known as HB 5043. The poll has called into question claims of wide public support for the proposed measure made by its authors and supporters.

The Filipino Family Survey, conducted from December 2-9, 2009, was conducted by HB&A International Research using the experienced field personnel of the Asian Research Organization (ARO), the Philippine affiliate of Gallup International.

According to the new poll, a great majority of those surveyed reject the salient points of the RH bill. Some 92 percent do not agree with the plan to make available free of charge birth control pills and IUDs to young teenage children without parental consent, and 90 percent do not want the government to allocate extra funds to contraceptives to the detriment of essential medicines which address the country’s top causes of death such as heart disease, cancer, pneumonia and tuberculosis.

On sex education, 87% disagreed with allowing their children to be taught by school teachers about the technical and biological aspects of sex in a co-ed environment, and possibly tutored by their teachers if they are not up to par with their lessons. Instead, 88% of parents wished to be trained on how to teach their children correctly about sex.

In a presentation of the survey results at Casa Español last January 8, former DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza noted these reveal how the pro-RH lobby has been manipulating public opinion polls, saying that the bill’s principal author, Rep. Edcel Lagman, “is fooling all of us.” He called Lagman’s claims that a majority of Filipinos favored the bill as a means to address population growth “grossly incorrect and a great injustice.”

Commissioned by pro-life groups and businessmen, the Filipino Family Survey was limited to Metro Manila, which they say is even less conservative than the provinces. The survey polled 500 respondents from 50 barangays in 16 cities and one municipality in Metro Manila. A previous, widely-publicized survey conducted in December 2008 by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), another polling company, polled only 1500 persons (with 300 from Metro Manila) to represent the country’s 90 million people. SWS claimed the 2008 survey, along with several other newer ones, showed a majority of Filipinos supported the RH bill.

Information accounts for results

The marked difference in the results between the new Filipino Family Survey and previous ones conducted by the SWS is apparently due to the fact that the respondents of the new survey received more information about the effects of the proposed law. Atienza explained that “99.99 percent” of the respondents in previous surveys did not know the RH bill and its provisions.

Previous surveys asked questions such as whether the respondents favored family planning or believed in proper sex education, both of which are measures that even opponents of the bill, such as the Catholic Church, already support. “Earlier surveys were couched in very general terms and without first ensuring that the respondents had read or understood the contents [of the RH Bill]”, said pro-lifer and Congressman Leonie Montemayor of the Alyansang Bayanihan ng mga Magsasaka, Manggagawang-Bukid at Mangingisda (ABA).

RH proponent and SWS president, Mahar Mangahas, acknowledged in his column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (“Business groups work for RH compromise”) dated November 20, 2009, that the previous SWS surveys made no mention of the penal provisions of the RH Bill. These include Section 21 of the RH bill which forces doctors and health workers to distribute abortifacient and artificial contraceptives against their conscience. If they object, the provision requires them to refer those who request for such contraceptives to other persons who will do the same objectionable act. Those who refuse to do so face heavy fines and imprisonment.

Critics of the bill, however, point out that these are some of its most controversial aspects, and that even erstwhile supporters of the general purposes of the bill have expressed objections to these penal provisions.


Although conducted nearly six months ago, the Filipino Family Survey has received little media attention. Its results, however, are still an eye-opener and continue to shake previous impressions that most Filipinos support the RH bill.

“The results show that Filipinos overwhelmingly support Life and the Family, and that they reject the Bill’s simplistic and obnoxious solutions to poverty and underdevelopment in our country, such as treating contraceptives as ‘essential medicines’ and allowing government to intervene in couples’ decisions on how many children they should have,” said Montemayor.

“Any good democracy, which is based on an informed populace, should take these findings very seriously,” said Dr. Raul Nidoy of Parents for Education Foundation (PAREF), who has written about the secular reasons for the immorality of contraception.

Continuing controversy

The controversy over the RH bill has become a defining issue in the 2010 elections. Even though the bill failed to pass in Congress, its proponents have already promised to file it again. Pro-life groups, however, are preparing to oppose it. Prominent pro-lifers such as Atty. Jo Imbong (Ang Kapatiran Party) and former senator Franscisco Tatad are also running for senatorial seats and have vowed to fight the bill if elected.

The RH bill has already lost some support in the political arena. Presidential candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teododo and his wife Congresswoman Nikki Prieto-Teodoro have wihdrawn support for the bill, while Liberal Party standard bearer Noynoy Aquino has said that it has provisions he “cannot support.”

Ang Kapatiran Party presidential bet John Carlos “JC” delos Reyes — along with the party’s local and national candidates — has always opposed the RH bill. Nacionalista Party candidate Senator Manny Villar has reportedly done the same. Richard Gordon has not opposed the bill but has said he will not campaign for it either.



1. mannixfortz - March 9, 2011

This RH Bill just want to promote contraceptives and help the manufacturers to gain billions of profits. I don’t know how much cut these politicians were promised.

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