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A Demolition Job Backfires July 13, 2011

Posted by Maddog in Catholicism, Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues, RH/Abortion Bills.
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The headline of the following story says it all:

No Pajeros, no luxury SUVs: Accusations hurled vs bishops backfire on PCSO

MANILA, Philippines – Accusations hurled by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office against Catholic bishops boomeranged on the agency on Wednesday after members of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee quizzed the PCSO chief on why the prelates were accused of receiving Pajero cars when not one of them acquired the said luxury sport utility vehicle manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors using PCSO money.

As I expected, the truth eventually came out, and as a result the church-haters and pro-RH groups attacking the bishops over the PCSO donations now have egg on their faces. This was a shameless demolition job from the beginning designed to undermine the Church’s oppostion to the RH/abortion bill.

Well, the deception has backfired. While the bishops have been exonerated from any wrongdoing, the sheer malice of their detractors has become crystal clear. People know prejudice when they see it, and they will react. Online communities are now alive with ordinary persons — even non-Catholics — speaking out in defense of the Church. Even Sen. Miriam Santiago (author of the Senate version of the RH bill) has defended the bishops (at least on the issue on the constitutionality of the PCSO donations).

I also read one pro-RH person relating how he changed his mind on the RH bill issue after he saw how unfairly the bishops were being treated. Here is his comment on the Manila Bulletin website (http://www.mb.com.ph/node/326152/pope-no-rh-divorce#comments):

i was pro RH bill but the actuations of the senate against the bishops in the PCSO mess are so abusive! i can’t help but change my views about the whole thing. What is PNOY and senate trying to achieve? persecuting our bishops? the problem is very clear: there’s a defective policy in the handling of PCSO fund! PCSO should stop investing in the charity and health sectors! our country could not gain enough from the giving alms to the sick and the poor! why not INVEST in the education sector? invest large amount of PCSO monies to computers, INFORMATION TECH instead of ambulance! educate our children and youth by constructing classrooms and buildings! forget about helping the poor and the sick it will not do good to our country in the long run! Also, if the Senate wants to investigate, it should be fair enough to include all religions! what about the MADRASAH schools supported by the govt? isnt that against the constitution? let’s be FAIR!

That’s the decent Filipino talking!

The continuing hate campaign

Of course, the pro-RH camp and enemies of the Church won’t let little inconveniences like the truth or justice get in the way of their nasty hate campaign against the bishops. That’s why you have people like Jim Paredes making sanctimonious, self-righteous attacks against them on FaceBook and other online fora. Now that their accusations have been shown to be little more than hot air, I wonder if we will ever get an apology from their ilk.

I won’t hold my breath. Ordinary sinners may be deserving of a fair hearing, but it seems that the bishops are to be mocked and villified no matter what, and the truth be damned!

Maybe we ought to investigate these pro-RH NGOs and anti-church commentators for slander and impropriety. Will we find any skeletons in their closets? Oh, but they will whine that they are being oppresed! No way we can do that to ordinary citizens, but Catholic clergy (and faithful Catholics, apparently) are fair game. We are all sinners, but the bishops are to be presumed guilty of anything, even when proven otherwise!

Can anyone say, “D-O-U-B-L-E S-T-A-N-D-A-R-D”?

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The Abortion Cat Gets Out of the RH Bag June 14, 2011

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues, RH/Abortion Bills.
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The cat is really out of the bag now. Two recent foot-in-mouth public declarations by RH Bill supporters have revealed the nature of the nature of the agenda behind the bill.

GABRIELA pulls the rug out from under Lagman

The first one show the bankruptcy of the overpopulation myth often used as a main argument in favor of the RH Bill (now known as HB 4244).

Two authors of the controversial bill have called for the removal of its population control provisions. This was reported by the GMA News website on June 1, 2011 (2 RH authors want population control provisions scrapped):

Two authors of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill at the House of Representatives on Tuesday appealed to their colleagues to scrap three population control provisions in the measure.

While this is a pleasant surprise, what I find more revealing are their reasons for doing so (as reported by GMA News):

Gabriela Women’s party-list Reps. Emerenciana de Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan said these three portions of House Bill 4244 or the consolidated RH bill may “release the floodgate[s] for the State to carry out its population control program under the guise of pro-choice and poverty alleviation.”

“Ang kahirapan ng bansa ay hindi dahil sa paglobo ng populasyon kundi dahil sa hindi pagkakapantay-pantay at korupsyon. Ito ay health issue at hindi population issue. Ito ay usaping kalusugan,” Ilagan said in a press briefing Tuesday.

“These provisions must be deleted in the RH bill. Otherwise, the long saga of blaming the population, specifically women’s wombs, for the rising poverty in the country continues,” they said in a separate statement.

So poverty is caused by inequality and corruption, according to the GABRIELA reps. I agree. But I thought reducing population growth and family size in order to alleviate poverty was one of the main arguments in favor of the bill. That is the argument many people repeat ad nauseam. Where has it gone now?

Out the window, apparently!

The GABRIELA reps seem to have figured out that overpopulation is a myth, a convenient scapegoat to blame for poverty. The rest of the pro-RH gang, however, seem to be clueless!

The Angsioco gaffe

The real show-stopper, however, comes from Elizabeth Angsioco, who wrote a column entitled Unborn vs. Mother.

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ABS-CBN poll rejects RH bill May 9, 2011

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, RH/Abortion Bills.
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A text poll[1] taken during the airing of ABS-CBN’s Harapan on the evening of May 8 — which featured a live debate on the RH bill — came up with an unexpected result. People were asked to send in their “votes” via SMS, choosing one of two options: A) Ipasa; or B) Ibasura (either pass the bill or trash it). At the end of the show, the final tally as of 12:40AM, May 9, was:

  • Ibasura: 65.38%
  • Ipasa: 34.62

In other words, nearly two-thirds of the text voters wanted to junk the bill!

This was undoubtedly a veritable landslide victory for the pro-life movement in the Philippines.

Here is a screenshot from the ANC Alerts Twitter page:

Screenshot of the ANC Alerts Twitter page. Click to see the full-sized graphic.

Where’s the pro-RH “majority”?

Well, well, well… whatever happened to the pro-RH “majority” that the SWS and Cong. Lagman keep on crowing about? Looks like that “majority” couldn’t get their act together last night. In fact, they can’t even seem to get a decent-sized rally together at all! If so many Filipinos really support the RH bill, they sure don’t seem to be standing up for it.

In contrast, the rallies AGAINST the RH bill across the country have drawn tens of thousands. The March 25 rally at the Luneta may have drawn as much as 200,000 (although the media chose to report an estimate made early in the rally of 40,000). Even if we accept the 40,000 figure, can the pro-RH “majority” even get anywhere close to that many together in a rally? Nope.

The cat is out of the bag. The “majority” claimed by the bosses at the SWS is a phantom majority.

Our congressmen would do well to listen.

Notes:

  1. It turns out that the ABS-CBN/ANC poll involved both SMS votes and online votes from the Internet. The ANC tweet at the time, however, did not indicate how many votes came via SMS and from the Internet.

Jesus was once an Unborn Child too April 25, 2011

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, RH/Abortion Bills.
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Christ sanctified the womb and the innocent children who are its temporary residents. This artwork says it all.

Sadly, some of the proponents of the RH/abortion bill want to pretend that some unborn children aren’t even people. They say the fertilized egg must first be implanted in the uterus (which happens some three to eight days after conception) before it is considered a human life.

Some will even say that they become people much later than that. Worse, some even think they aren’t people until they emerge from the womb.

Worst of all, some don’t care at all whether the unborn are people or not — it’s supposed to be a “woman’s right” to decide to kill them or not!

Let’s not leave any doubt: abortion is murder (killing of the innocent).

Some contraceptives actually kill the unborn (for example, by preventing the fertilized egg — a newly-conceived human being — from implanting in the uterus. With nowhere to implant, the baby eventually dies. This is an early-term abortion.

Such contraceptives are called abortifacient contraceptives — meaning they can cause abortions.

HB 4244, the current number for the so-called “reproductive health/responsible parenthood” bill in the Lower House, will spend millions (or billions) funding these deadly abortifacient contraceptives. It should really be called the RH/ABORTION bill.

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Pimentel replies to Robredo April 12, 2011

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Religion and Social Issues, RH/Abortion Bills.
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A few weeks ago, DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo overstepped his authority as he tried to nip in the bud a growing popular movement among local government units (LGUs) against the RH/abortion bill. He declared that barangays have no power to enact ordinances that restrict the sale and disribution of contraceptives (Robredo warns LGUs against making anti-RH law – Inquirer.net).

Barangay Ayala Alabang in Muntinglupa, followed by seven barangays in Balanga City, Bataan, have already passed such pro-life ordinances. More LGUs intend to follow suit.

Robredo’s blunder was pointed out by none other than former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr., the father of the Local Government Code that limits the powers of Robredo’s office. Pimentel’s response is reproduced below.

After reading Pimentel’s brilliant riposte, one has to ask: Does Rebredo even understand the Local Government Code?!!! As DILG Secretary he should!

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Penitential Walk for Life March 22, 2011

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues, RH/Abortion Bills.
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The Metropolitan Cathedral in Cebu packed with pro-life supporters attending Mass

Thousands of pro-life Cebuanos, led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, trekked some two kilometers on a wet, drizzly Saturday evening from Fuente Osmena to the Metropolitan Cathedral to pray for the protection of life and to dramatize their opposition to the RH/Abortion bill now being debated in Congress.

The March 19 “Penitential Walk for Life” was called for by the archbishop, which also coincided with his 61st birthday. The walk started at 6PM at Fuente Osmena and ended with a Mass celebrated by the archbishop and two auxiliary bishops, with some 5000 people in attendace, as estimated in an article by the Cebu Daily News, a local newspaper. Other observers estimated the total crowd that participated at different points along the route to be much bigger, with estimates ranging from 10,000 to as high as 20,000 persons.

Quite notably, Sun Star Cebu did not report on the event at all, at least not by March 24, a full five days after.

Other forms of mobilization against the RH/Abortion bill are being planned.

Photos

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma walks down Osmena Ave. to the Metropolitan Cathedral

Cebuanos Unite for Life February 8, 2011

Posted by Maddog in Catholicism, Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues, RH/Abortion Bills.
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Cebu Provincial Capitol

With the RH/Abortion bill being made ready to be railroaded through Congress, Cebuanos have had enough and are calling upon all to stage a massive protest action on February 11. The prayer rally is called “Cebuanos Unite for Life.”

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma issued a letter calling on the Catholic faithful and clergy to hold the prayer rally at Fuente Osmena Circle this Friday to declare their opposition to the deadly and unconstitutional RH/Abortion bill. Filipinos of other faiths are also invited.

The details are as follows:

Venue: Fuente Osmena Circle
Date: February 11, 2011
Time: 2:00PM to 5:30PM (1400 to 1730)

Assembly points:

  1. Beside CNU on Osmena Blvd. (for Catholic achools, youth organizations, parishes from the east: St. Rosario, Cathedral to San Nicolas).
  2. Beside USC Boys’ High, on Maxilom Ave. (for Knights of Columbus, CFC, parishes in the north: Talamban, Mactan, Sacred Heart).
  3. V. Rama corner B. Rodriguez (for senior citizens’ groups, AWROC, San Victene Sambag 1/11, Council of the Laity, Marian organizations, parishes from the south: Guadalupe, Naga, etc.)
  4. In front of the Provincial Capitol (ASC, pariahes from the north and outside Cebu City: Mandaue, danao, Bogo, etc.)

Please brings rosaries and pro-life banners and placards. Bring the Philippine flag.

The rally in Cebu City will in turn be followed by another mass action in Manila, called Filipinos Unite for Life, on February 12, 4:00PM, at the EDSA People Power Monument, Freedom Park, on EDSA  corner Temple Drive, near White Plains. More protests are being planned in other cities throughout the country.

(UPDATE — 2011-02-11: The Manila action will be an Interfaith Prayer Rally against the RH Bill. The date and venue have changed. It will be on February 13, Sunday, 4:00 PM onwards, at the PICC Grounds, Roxas Blvd. Please let everyone know.)

There is no more time for pussyfooting around this issue. The culture of death is now in the Philippines. The enemy is no longer just at the gates; it is already inside the walls, ravaging the city. We have to rally around the flag and save our country, its families, and its freedoms. The time to stand up and defeat the RH/Abortion bill is NOW!

You can download a map of Cebu City at http://www.cebu-ph.com/cebu.pdf.

fe February 8, 2011

Posted by Maddog in Catholicism, Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues, RH/Abortion Bills.
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With the RH/Abortion bill being made ready to be railroaded through Congress, Cebuanos have had enough and are calling upon all to stage a massive protest action on February 11. The prayer rally is called “Cebuanos Unite for Life.”

Archbishop Jose Palma issued a letter calling on the Catholic faithful and clergy to hold the prayer rally at Fuente Osmena Circle this Friday to declare their opposition to the deadly and unconstitutional RH/Abortion bill. This will in turn be followed by another mass action in Manila, on February 12, at the EDSA Shrine (called “Filipinos Unite for Life”). More protests are being planned in other cities throughout the country.

The details are as follows:

Venue: Fuente Osmena Circle
Date: february 11, 2011
Time: 2:00PM to 5:30PM (1400 to 1730)

Assembly points:

  1. Beside CNU on Osmena Blvd. (for Catholic achools, youth organizations, parishes from the east: St. Rosario, Cathedral to San Nicolas).
  2. Beside USC Boys’ High, on Maxilom Ave. (for Knights of Columbus, CFC, parishes in the north: Talamban, Mactan, Sacred Heart).
  3. V. Rama corner B. Rodriguez (for senior citizens’ groups, AWROC, San Victene Sambag 1/11, Council of the Laity, Marian organizations, parishes from the south: Guadalupe, Naga, etc.)
  4. In front of the Provincial Capitol (ASC, pariahes from the north and outside Cebu City: Mandaue, danao, Bogo, etc.)

Please brings rosaries and pro-life banners and placards. Bring the Philippine flag.

There is no more time for pussyfooting around this issue. The culture of death is now in the Philippines. The enemy is no longer just at the gates; it is already inside the walls, ravaging the city. We have to rally around the flag and save our country, its families, and its freedoms. The time to stand up and defeat the RH/Abortion bill is NOW!

Rice importation and population growth January 22, 2011

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, RH/Abortion Bills.
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Last January 11, the Philippine Daily Inquirer carried the story, “PH to sharply cut 2011 rice imports.” It said (emphasis mine):

MANILA – The Philippines, the world’s biggest rice importer last year, plans to sharply cut its imports of the grain this year, the head of the state grains agency said Tuesday.

National Food Authority administrator Angelito Banayo, asked about rice import plans for the year, told reporters: “Much much lower, probably not even half — probably one third.” He would not give specific figures.

. . .

Banayo said the government planned to cut imports because it already had a lot of rice stored from previous years.

Very interesting indeed. The population of the Philippines is not shrinking, but our rice imports will be drastically reduced. What does that mean?

This development indicates that past rice shortages (and the need to import) were not necessarily caused by “runaway population growth” as some have hysterically claimed. Rather, it seems that any shortages were more likely caused by other factors (such as corruption, hoarding, and inefficiency). After all, PNOY, in his State of the Nation Address, stated that some P160 billion worth of rice were wasting away on the shelves.

Way too often, doomsayers have been blaming rice shortages — and a host of other ills practically including the kitchen sink — on alleged “runaway population growth” or “overpopulation.” They seem to forget that both our nation’s Total Fertility rate (TFR) has been dropping like a rock, along with our population growth rate (see my blog post on that here).

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“Open Season” On Catholics? October 4, 2010

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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Within hours of Carlos Celdran’s outrage against the Catholic Mass, the Internet came alive with Filipinos posting their own opinions on the incident. Many not only praised him but even justified his actions. Others disagreed with his being jailed for violation of article 133 of the Revised Penal Code. Even now, several days after the event, it is still the talk of the town. Even FaceBook had a page for those clamoring that Celdran be released from jail (Carlos has posted bail and has been released).

More worrisome, however, was a flood of posts, on FaceBook and other blog sites, expressing outright hatred and contempt for the Church. Some of these were so vile that they would probably qualify as “hate speech” in other countries.

That wasn’t all, however.

The other night someone forwarded me a text message calling for other acts of disruption and outright sacrilege. What would be next? Silencing of Catholic leaders through grave threats? Violence?

Religious freedom and harassment of religious persons

Carlos Celdran is my friend and I feel bad that he resorted to this stunt. I also feel bad that he is in jail. He has been good and respectful to me despite our disagreements on some issues. He, like myself, has the right to speak out on any issue.

Still, we have to make one thing clear: Carlos Celdran is NOT in jail because of his views on the Church and the RH/Abortion Bill. His right to freedom of speech is protected under the Constitution and no law can take precedence over that. The issue here is NOT about free speech. It is about protecting people of faith from harassment. It is about freedom of religion.

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Legal abortion violates human rights August 6, 2010

Posted by Maddog in HB 5043, Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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The Ang Kapatiran Party (AKP) has issued a statement on the call by a foreign law firm for the legalization of abortion in the Philippines. The text is below.

PRESS STATEMENT
Ang Kapatiran Party
August 6, 2010

Legal abortion violates human rights

The Ang Kapatiran Party (AKP) condemns in the strongest possible terms the reckless, irresponsible, and inhuman call for the legalization of abortion in the Philippines by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR). A foreign law firm, the CRR has released a report where it wrongly blames the continued criminalization of abortion as a source of women’s rights violations.

Our nation’s pro-life laws do not violate the rights of women. Rather, they protect the inalienable right to life of all persons, including the unborn, around half of whom are female. Abortion is the murder of the weakest and most innocent of all human beings. It is the ultimate violation of human rights.

The abortion industry is a worldwide monstrosity that has killed more human beings in just 40 years (approximately ONE BILLION unborn children) than all the wars in the history of mankind (around 400 million). This form of mass murder must not be made legal in the Philippines.

The CRR’s call for legal abortion also reveals the hidden agenda of the pro-RH advocates who are pushing for the passage of Congressman Edcel Lagman’s RH/Abortion Bill. No less than U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has publicly acknowledged that the Obama administration’s worldwide reproductive health agenda — whose many agents in the Philippines receive its financial support either directly or indirectly — includes the promotion of abortion.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Lagman bill explicitly funds the procurement and distribution of abortifacient contraceptives. Such contraceptives have been shown to cause early-term abortions by preventing the implantation and development of the fertilized egg — which is already a newly-conceived human being — in the womb. This is clearly against the Philippine Constitution which protects the unborn from conception which begins at fertilization (the union of sperm and egg).

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The Abortion and Reproductive Rights Hoax August 3, 2010

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A New York-based law firm, the Center for Reproductive Rights, has released a paper blaming the Philippines’ pro-life laws criminalizing abortion for endangering women. The group alleges that current laws force women to turn to illegal abortions that can result in complications and — in around 1000 cases annually — even death. The report basically ties the laws against abortion to what it says are human rights violations.

This is nothing new. Pro-abortion forces used the same deceptive tactic to get abortion legalized in the U.S. The deception lies on many levels, some of which we will examine.

Who’s rights?

Given a Choice, They’d Want a Chance. | Abort73.comThe CRR sees access to abortion as a human right, and in their view the denial of such is effectively a violation of a woman’s rights. This claim, however, is extremely ironic because abortion is itself a violation of human rights: it is a denial of the unborn child’s right to life. Since the situation therefore involves the alleged “rights” of a woman over the right to life of an innocent child, we must ask: whatever rights a woman may have regarding choices about having children, can these be more important than the right to life itself?

Life is the most paramount right. Without it no other rights can be exercised. Therefore, even if choosing an abortion is part of a woman’s rights — as claimed by the CRR — it is necessarily a lesser right than the right to life, a right which will be denied to the victim of an abortion, the unborn child.

Human life

To get around this dilemma, many pro-abortion groups sinply deny that unboirn children are people. Doing so, however, requires ignoring basic biology and scientific evidence. Once a human egg is fertilized, it can naturally develop only into a human being. It will not become a dog or a cat. It is definitively a human being. Furthermore, science tells us that the 46 chromosomes that define a unique human individual come together at fertilization. The fertilized ovum will become only a specific human individual and not another. It is clearly then a human person.

Aside from the scientific evidence, those that deny that the unborn are people have to face another problem: if the unborn are not human, then when do they become human? Obviously, birth is just an arbitrary defining point since the transfer of location and physically parting from another person (which is what a birth involves) does not define humanity. Other changes in the embryo or fetus are also not sufficient defining points since these are simply stages in the development of a unique individual already defined at fertilization. Even born human beings are still undergoing development. An infant is physically different from an adult. Later stages in development of an already unique individual cannot therefore define the beginning of human life and personhood.

The price of “safe” abortion

There are many laws that result in difficulty and hardship. Enforcing our laws against murder, for example, often result in shootouts and great expenditures to catch murderers. Enforcing our laws against drug trafficking also results in many deaths and a host of other problems. Does that mean we should legalize murder and drug trafficking? Of course not. We should not legalize these because thyey are wrong and the hardship entailed in enforcing our laws is nothing compared to the greater evils that will befall our nation should these crimes be legalized.

In the same way, abortion is in itself a great evil, a crime against the unborn, and a violation of human rights. If indeed continued criminalization of abortion can lead to other hardships. these are little compared to the mass butchery and massive moral degradation that would occur should abortion be made legal.

We must also note that there are other ways to alleviate the alleged plight of women who find themsleves turning to abortion. There are alternatives such as adoption, pregnancy crisis centers, and even foster homes for expectant mothers. There are also other measures that can be implemented by the government that can help, as we shall see.

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Support for RH Bill Debunked May 22, 2010

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

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Ang Kapatiran Party Olongapo Sortie May 1, 2010

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JC greets his fellow town-folk during the motorcade

Last April 10 I had the wonderful privilege to accompany Ang Kapatiran candidates on a sortie to Olongapo City, the hometown of presidential bet JC delos Reyes. The plan was to hold a small motorcade through the city and then retire to JC’s house at SBMA for a fundraising dinner where I was scheduled to perform a few songs.

We left the Ang Kapatiran Party headquarters at around 6AM and proceeded to our first stop, the Shell station on the North Expressway. After a quick breakfast, we went non-stop to Olongapo City. Not having had any sleep the night before, I made myself as comfortable as i could and dozed until we arrived at JC’s cozy and very open home in SBMA. It was around 10AM.

The rest of the day consisted of our multi-legged motorcade, meetings with small groups of voters, a late lunch, and a wonderful lugaw dinner at JC’s home. I must say, that was the best lugaw I have ever tasted!

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Ang Kapatiran Party Proclamation Rally February 20, 2010

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John Carlos "JC" de los Reyes, AKP presidential candidate

Last Tuesday, February 16, I had the most profound and humbling honor to perform with my band for the Ang Kapatiran Party (AKP) proclamation rally. The AKP candidates for national positions (President, Vice-President, and eight Senators) were introduced right amongst some of the poorest and marginalized Filipinos in the country: at Barangay Lupang Pangako, Payatas, Quezon City — and that is where the AKP is right at home.

Yes, you got that right. Payatas: the huge and infamous dumpsite where over 200 lives were horribly snuffed out when a literal mountain of garbage gave way and buried the the shanties of many poor residents nearly a decade ago. Eric Manalang, AKP party president, said it best when he described Payatas as a mirror of the situation in the entire Philippines. The very existence of a huge community consisting of over 3500 dirt-poor Filipino families living right by a seven-storey mountain of garbage (and many of whom have to scratch out a living as scavengers) is a monumental sign of failure in governance — not only within Metro Manila, but in the entire country.

Make no mistake about it, failure in governance — massive, pervasive, persistent, insidious, and long-entrenched — is the real problem of the Philippines. All the other usual scapegoats (such as “overpopulation” or “indolence”) are really just excuses NOT to address this root cause of the widespread poverty and injustice that stalks our land.

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Sticking It to the RH/Abortion Bill December 3, 2009

Posted by Maddog in HB 5043, Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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Just when things are looking bleak, the Lord sends some light to guide and inspire us.

The past few days have brought good news for those fighting to defend life. I was certainly happy to find these following gems in the news.

First we have the following piece by Roberto de Ocampo entitled Kill ‘Bill’? (http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20091127-238839/Kill-Bill):

… one would think that I should be an obvious supporter of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. I am not. I have serious misgivings about it.

First, I find it unnecessary. If as the supporters have time and again emphasized, the major shortcoming of our current population management program is the need for more widespread education and information, then I submit that the government presently has the breadth and depth of institutional capability to do this with the voluntary cooperation of the private sector, including the Church. If the observation is that the government has not done this well enough, this can be redressed with a good combination of political will and leadership and a better budget allocation, not a bill. True, the Church will promote only natural family planning methods. So be it. That’s the role and position of the Church. The state’s role is to help expand the public’s knowledge of choices, not limit it.

This leads me to my second serious misgiving, namely, the present draft bill contains punitive provisions that are tantamount to an affront to civil liberties and smack of religious persecution. Just read the section mandating private sector employees and private health practitioners to actively promote artificial birth control methods and distribute devices whether or not their conscience and religious convictions agree with the practice. Combine that with the section imposing penalties of imprisonment or fines or both if they don’t follow or are deemed guilty of “perceived violations” and tell me that the bill does not encroach on basic civil rights. Tell me that the bill does not unfairly force a person into a moral dilemma, a State-induced struggle of conscience. This is not education, it’s coercion. This is not choice, it’s threat.

. . .

Finally, I find it truly disingenuous for anyone to proceed on the premise that the poor are to blame for the nation’s poverty. This seems to be one of the bill’s underlying economic philosophies—i.e., we could be such a richer nation if the poor would do something better than just go forth and multiply. Pardon me, but in the context of our income-distribution challenged society, the poor are often the victims, not the problem. And let’s not forget that it’s the poor, not the wealthy, whose acknowledged sacrifices as overseas workers are propping up this struggling economy. If a major concern of the bill is to help reduce poverty, then I cannot believe that the bill’s proponents and supporters are unaware of the many other major factors that are the root causes of poverty (poor governance, corruption, severely unequal distribution of wealth, low productivity, unattractive investment policies, etc.) and, of course, the many other alternatives that can be brought to bear to address them (giving up pork barrel, reforming land reform, raising tax collection efficiency, curtailing dynastic politics, etc.)

I am not the only one impressed by De Ocampo’s courageous stand. John-D Borra praises De Ocampo in his blog post, It Takes Courage to Choose Life (http://johndborra.blogspot.com/2009/12/it-takes-courage-to-choose-life.html).

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