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Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, August 06, 2012

On The RH Bill

In a few days the Senate will vote on the RH Bill. Meanwhile the war between the Pro-RH and Anti-RH forces rages on. I honestly think that it’s already too late to convince someone to switch sides. I believe that most people already have their stand on contraception.

For me the fight on the RH Bill is not about whether contraception is the lie of the Devil. Rather, I believe that the battle over the RH Bill is shaping up to be a battle of separating Church and State. It is a battle against the tyranny of the feeling-majority.

Sadly I’m not confident that our senators are smart enough to see the real issues behind the RH Bill nor courageous enough to not succumb to the Church’s blackmail tactics. If the people decide on the RH Bill, the Church will be in for a rude shock.

7 comments:

the green breaker said...

I think it's about time the Roman Catholic Church faces the fact that they no longer dictate. A dominating religion can't equate to majority. I think they have better issues [those that are internal] to look onto than tap on waters which are not theirs to cross.

chink said...

the anti-esablishment in me desires to wreck havok!!!

honestly, let's look at how the senate or the congress actually votes on matters of national importance...system of utang ng loob! how many can boast of credentials that actually puts them in a position to represent their constituents? that being said, the system of "i'll support your cause if you support mine" runs very deep in the proceedings.

i would have to agree on the point raised by the Church, that the real problem is corruption. if the problem is the maternal death rate at the child bearing institutions, then address that. if the problem is increasing demographics of unemployment, then address the competitiveness of the country in terms of education, logistics, transportation, energy and productivity. search for the real underlying problem and give a corresponding effective solution. it would seem that the underlying problem that this bill is trying to address is how fertile the filipino men and women are and thus we have to control it?

we are all talking about freedom for everyone, why mandate something that does not feel right for everybody? following true democratic practice as done by the european states, tax payers can actually indicate their support for certain government programs. for those who agree that their tax money should go to a particular program, then they can avail of the service. why can't we do it here? i guess because someone's pocket will benefit from all the condoms that will be imported in the millions but will never reach the actual people in the rural areas who were the poster faces of these programs. and also, when i go have safe sex, either with a buddy or a trick, i don't tell the government to pay for my condom! i shoulder the responsibility by purchasing for my own use (and flavor preference too, hehehe!) so why should my tax money go to promoting irresponsibility? if the breeders want a roll on the haystack and not be burden with the possibility of conceiving, then they can go to the nearest 7/11 or mini-stop store get a pack of their favorite, well-fitting condom! or they can go get their own pack of contraceptive pills. why does the government have to meddle in the private affairs of people as well? shouldn't these personal decisions be addressed personally as an adult? let's not take away the responsibilities and consequences from the people!

joelmcvie said...

@CHINK: I really appreciate the time and effort you gave in reading and commenting on my post. Which is why I also took time out to read and respond to your comments. Please note that if I disagree, I explain why. I raise my points as part of a discussion. I do not expect you to agree with my points. I leave it up to you (as well as the readers who will have the patience to plow through our lengthy comments, hahaha) to decide for yourself. =)

* * * * *

"The real problem is corruption." I disagree here. I believe the real problems are manyfold; blaming it all on just corruption is unrealistic.

Why is unemployment increasing? Why can't govt simply improve education, logistics, transportation, energy, and productivity? There are many reasons, and one of them is the high birth rate, especially among the poor. More citizens equals more resources needed for employment, education, transportation, etc. By curbing the birth rate, the govt will have more resources per citizen.

(Of course it goes without saying that govt should also address the other problems, like corruption, economic reforms, education etc. simultaneously.)

I guess there's a correlated question underlying all this talk of birth rates: What's wrong with population control? Why is the Church so scared of it?

Moving on....

I don't understand why you think the RH Bill will mandate condom use. The Bill just allows Filipinos access to more affordable condoms. If a devout Catholic sees condom use as a sin, he/she still has the freedom to not avail of such affordable condoms.

When people say, "But why should my taxes pay for importation of condoms?" then I'd say, "Why should my taxes pay for the students who go to UP and other state universities, when I never went to them?" If the poor have no access to good education, then the state provides them UP. If the poor cannot afford expensive family planning methods, then the state provides them affordable ones at health care centers.

Promoting condom use IS promoting responsibility. With gays, condom use means being responsible enough to prevent spreading HIV. With straights, condom use means being responsible enough to prevent unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.

I don't see providing affordable condoms as "government meddling" because the adult WILL STILL HAVE THE CHOICE whether to avail of condoms or not.

chink said...

@MCVIE: We can agree to disagree, hehehe! No problem here, i don't see it as an imposition on your part; and i hope that i don't come off as too imposing myself :-)

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Indeed, there are many factors that contribute to the situation but, in my opinion, corruption tops it off: if we look at the amount of legitimate and declared money passing thru the hands of the government, it is really just a wonder how they cannot address all the needs of the country! looking at government spending on infrastructure (an industry that i am familiar with), we can actually count the bags of cement and iron bars necessary to complete a project. the posted budget and actual cost have a big disparity. so where does the difference go? in the pockets of the corrupt (this may be a libelous statement as i do not have concrete proof, but money cannot just disappear into thin air! it has to go to somebody else coffers to be 'consumed')! how about the efficiency of government offices? how many inefficient and redundant personnel are employed just to paint a picture of low unemployment? this is also considered corruption because instead of working properly for the wages given to a person, brushing of hair and putting on make-up or surfing the internet or reading of the newspapers during work hours should be considered stealing as the wages given to these people are not properly used. if we evaluate the government as a corporation, i think they will fail miserable on many aspects because the bleeding of resources outweighs the rate of infusion. point therefore: why don't we address the bleeding of resources because this is the actual problem; and by doing so, have more resources per citizen!

i am not for unabated population boom but most emerging economies (e.g. indonesia, brazil) boast of a very young demographics but they can manage their resources properly. i cannot speak for the catholic church but i am personally afraid of population control because it is a very intricate system that has been tampered with by several western societies to the detriment of their race and economies. i don't say that we are heading toward that same direction but it might be wise to look at their history and learn a few things.

i've never agreed with the socialize system of dole outs. in fact, in my opinion, UP tuition should be on loan to a deserving applicant and slowly paid off after graduation; in this way, we promote a system of responsibility and future generations will also have access to the same financial aid from a replenishing pot. that being said, how much is a box of condom? i purchase mine for about php75/box of three (i know, medyo expensive, pero keri na!) if it is really that important for these people not to have unwanted pregnancies, then maybe they should save up php75 per week if they want to have sex three times a week ;-) again, my tax money should not subsidize the personal choices of others.

[I don't see providing affordable condoms as "government meddling" because the adult WILL STILL HAVE THE CHOICE whether to avail of condoms or not.]: If that is the argument, then the government should also provide "benefits" for couples who want to have numerous children because the adult WILL STILL HAVE THE CHOICE if they want to be familia numerosa! By going for a particular mandated program, the government is actually steering the mindset of the people to a particular preference!

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To MCVIE's readers, sorry sa novela...choz!!!

joelmcvie said...

@CHINK: Regarding govt meddling, I believe the government should encourage every couple, rich and poor, to have a number of children APPROPRIATE to their economic capability of giving their children a quality life. A rich couple can have 12 children IF they can afford it. A poor couple, if they can only afford 2 children, should be encouraged to just stick to two. And I believe that the government should have the right to discourage couples from having more children than they can afford.

With the RH Bill, Filipinos will have a better chance of preventing a 13th child (for the rich couple) or a 3rd child (for the poor couple). The Bill will allow couples access to information regarding reproductive health (which is important to the poor who have rarely have access to such information). Thus couples can have an informed choice as to how they can plan their family.

What I also like about the RH Bill is that it is realistic. Not everyone is capable of abstaining from sex (even devout Catholics). Giving the people alternative methods aside from abstinence means greater chances of preventing unplanned pregnancies. Whether a couple chooses a method that fits their religious beliefs or not is their responsibility, not the government's.

To quote what you said, "Let's not take away the responsibilities and consequences from the people!" Therefore, I believe couples who continue to make babies beyond their capability to provide for them are irresponsible citizens. And it would be unfair to ask the government to "reward" such irresponsibility.

chink said...

@MCVIE: i agree with you that every couple should be encouraged to have the appropriate number of children in relation to their economic means. I am just not quite sure that the RH bill addresses this concern effectively with the push to have greater access to condoms and contraceptives. Considering that the wheels of fortune can turn even the most establish status quo, the rich can become poor and vice versa; so what then happens to the rich family who could previously afford to provide for the 12 children? The point is that if we promote the short term solution mentality, I think that things will only turn for the worse as we get use to see things through myopic lenses. Bearing and rearing children are long haul endeavors that continuously put pressure on the commitment muscle of every couple. If we propose, as a solution, the physical barrier method instead of promoting a sense of discipline and accountability, then we have stagnated as a species in our evolutionary potential! In fact, we might already be losing the virtues of patience and perseverance; values that were so important to our forefathers as they were raising us in past.

I do not wish to shoot down the intent of the RH bill – that is to provide information. However, realistically speaking, how does the government plan to bring this information to the masses and the rural people? If the current education system cannot clearly explain the reproductive system – penis and vagina, ovaries and testicles, copulation and potential conception – to students, despite being an integral part of the science program in the public schools, how will the information be disseminated properly and effectively to the poor? I hope they don’t follow Ms Pillsburry’s leaflets for all potential situations!

{Whether a couple chooses a method that fits their religious beliefs or not is their responsibility, not the government's.} – Exactly, so why does the government have to spend millions to promote a particular method when they can use the same amount to add extra carriages to the MRT that plies EDSA to alleviate the congestion of the general public? Or actually relocate the squatters on the riverbanks that are the main waste contributors to the clogging of waterways; thus causing floods during heavy downpour. Again, let’s identify the real problem here and give a realistic solution.

{I believe couples who continue to make babies beyond their capability to provide for them are irresponsible citizens. And it would be unfair to ask the government to "reward" such irresponsibility.} – We have clarified our position on irresponsible parents who live beyond their means. My premise is that making condoms “affordable” favors only those individuals who want to have access to this government program. Conversely, why not grant “benefits” to couples that want to responsibly have numerous children? Like give them bulk discount benefits on purchases or greater medical subsidies because of volume consumption; whatever happened to economies of scale? It appears to me that the government is one sided on this matter!

joelmcvie said...

@CHINK: [1] "why does the government have to spend millions to promote a particular method when they can use the same amount to add extra carriages to the MRT that plies EDSA to alleviate the congestion of the general public?"

The gov't will spend millions to promote different methods of family planning; condom use is just ONE method. Part of those millions will also go into promoting other methods. Don't get fixated on just the condoms.

I cannot answer for the gov't as to why they're prioritising family planning over extra MRT carriages, although I do agree with that priority. Then again, perhaps they also have budgeted extra MRT carriages for 2012, except that we don't know about it because it's not in the news (unlike the RH Bill).

[2] "My premise is that making condoms 'affordable' favors only those individuals who want to have access to this government program."

Huh?! Making condoms affordable favours both rich and poor alike. It's just that the rich have more choices of condoms.

Why is family planning very important for the poor? Because they're the ones who can't afford more children. But family planning is also important for the rich. Because the gov't will still spend for its citizens, rich and poor. The rich have better chances of becoming productive citizens. Conversely, the more uneducated and unhealthy your citizens are, not only will they be more likely unproductive, they will also be an added strain on gov't resources.

Which is why I'm for a certain amount of population control. I'm not for the stringent one-child policy of China, but I am for making family planning accessible to all citizens.

[3] "Conversely, why not grant 'benefits' to couples that want to responsibly have numerous children?"

I don't get your logic here. If a couple wants "to responsibly have numerous children," then it means the couple can afford to provide for them. So why should gov't give these couples a discount, when they can afford naman?

Giving a "benefit" to couples with more children actually defeats the purpose of responsible family planning. Giving bulk discounts would actually encourage couples, regardless of whether they're rich or poor, to have more children. Do you actually want to encourage poor couples as well to make more children because, "Huy, magkaka-bulk discount tayo pag marami tayong anak"?

Also, I believe the gov't should be one-sided when it comes to subsidies; that is, the gov't should favor those who cannot afford (kaya nga "subsidy" siya). I found it unfair when rich kids would be granted subsidies in UP (their parents faked their true net worth when they applied). That means they've deprived a poor but deserving kid a slot. (Good thing this doesn't happen as much anymore, or so I've been told.) However, I also believe that subsidies should have limits too; I don't want a citizenry that's too dependent on gov't.