RH bill needed to cut abortions
- Boo Chanco () - June 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Once again Tuesday last week, it was made painfully clear to me why we need to have reproductive health information and family planning options readily available from responsible channels to prevent tragedies. My wife was riding with a friend when her friend’s driver got a cell phone call that got him very troubled. My wife noticed his face turn ashen with concern and she asked him to stop in a safe portion of EDSA going towards Mall of Asia.

My wife asked him what the problem was and the driver said it was an emergency call from his wife. It seems she was bleeding profusely and didn’t know what to do. The driver explained that they have been having a long running argument about his wife’s plan to abort a two or three month old fetus she was carrying. The driver said he argued against abortion but his wife was insistent.

The driver’s wife was despondent. She didn’t want to be pregnant again because it would keep her from working and helping out with the expenses. She also didn’t relish the hard work of looking after a baby again after the last ones. She had been in conversation with some friends who recommended she take a pill that will cause her to abort. She bought the pill for P200 (said to be widely available at the vicinity of Quiapo Church) and took it without telling her husband. Now she is bleeding and didn’t know what to do.

So they proceeded to the driver’s home and my wife accompanied the driver and his wife to the emergency room of a major hospital. They took an ultrasound image and found out that luckily, the fetus was not harmed.

The doctor gave some prescriptions and instructions to stop the bleeding and save the fetus. My wife counseled the driver’s wife on the evils of abortion and why resorting to it is a grievous sin. For now, it seems, the driver’s wife had been convinced to save the baby.

That was not my wife’s first personal encounter with an abortion case. Many years ago, a close relative of hers died while having an abortion performed by one of those quacks who make a good living doing that sort of thing. It was the story of young love bearing fruit she knew she wasn’t supposed to have. It was a total tragedy… such a waste of young life.

But looking back, if she only had better sex education or if the religious education she got from the Church was more effective, she may not have found herself in that predicament. She lost her life because she didn’t know any better.

The driver’s wife was luckier than my wife’s relative who became one of the half a million women who died that year due to abortion. These women didn’t want to become pregnant but because they did, resorted to abortion to deal with unwanted pregnancies. Curiously, most of those women were married to the men who got them pregnant. They just didn’t want any more children because they can no longer afford to have them.

Possibly because Church leaders have no idea of how sexuality affects our lives in the secular world (ok, this is just a polite assumption), they are sticking to a strict rule on what can and cannot be done. I, for one, am against abortion. I believe life begins at conception and I even have doubts about the use of IUDs because it prevents a fertilized egg from taking root in the mother’s womb.

But there are many more things couples can do to prevent sperm from uniting with an egg. The use of condoms, natural family planning, pills other than morning after pills, vasectomy and tubal ligation should be made available to prevent such heart breaking tragedies. Of course abstinence should be included in the list as well. But the Church should take the lead in convincing young people with raging hormones on that one.

It seems to me that providing information on the options available that will enable a woman to make a wise decision that impacts on her health should be an obligation of our public health workers. Saving women from certain death or other serious medical consequences of resorting to abortion is a worthwhile objective of any public health program.

I think our people know this need too which is why a number of prominent supporters of the RH bill were elected in the last elections. Contrary to what some bishops are saying, this is a sign of maturity. In fact surveys showed that over 80 per cent of our people believe in family planning and making information on family planning methods readily available specially to the poor who need such information most.

I know our bishops will never believe it but that RH bill may prove to be the most effective pro life measure ever. It will save the lives of babies and their mothers. Half a million would-be mothers now die due to abortion… that’s a carnage in any language.


For someone who has experienced what it was to work for a company owned and managed by the late Don Eugenio Lopez Sr., the Meralco stockholders meeting last week was simply the formal end of an era. Back in the pre martial law period, working for a Lopez company (Meralco, ABS-CBN, Manila Chronicle) was as close as one can get to a Filipino company that really took care of their people… the corporate equivalent of a welfare state.

Some would call Don Eugenio’s management style paternalistic but it was also very Filipino. And it earned the family such fierce loyalty that cannot be found in any other Filipino company at that time.

There had been changes in recent years, since all businesses must adjust to the demands of the business environment. There are also companies I have worked for that now offer more generous benefits than the Lopezes, like Petron, for instance. But Petron does not have the kapamilya face of Don Eugenio that was passed on to his sons.

It is not surprising that Meralco’s oldtimers were feeling nostalgic last week. Manolo Lopez turned over control not to another Lopez but to Manny Pangilinan. The Lopez years are over and a new group is in control of Meralco. It was more than a mere generational shift. The oldtimers know a shift in management philosophy is inevitable.

Manolo didn’t gear himself to be President of Meralco. In a sense, destiny placed him there in 1986. Meralco employees carried him on their shoulders when he showed up after EDSA. He told me he thought it was a temporary arrangement. That temporary arrangement lasted some 24 years.

Manolo was the choice of the family to lead Meralco in 1986 because he worked there with the rank and file for many years before martial law. He had a common touch that endeared him to the workers of the utility company. He didn’t have imperial airs. He was the one Lopez who finds it easy to establish rapport with all levels of the company staff from white collar to blue collar.

The word Manolo likes to use to describe his management philosophy is malasakit and it works both ways… from management having malasakit for its employees to assure their needs are well taken cared of and for employees having malasakit to do their jobs well… even beyond the call of duty… because the company must showmalasakit to its customers.

Manolo Lopez is an interesting case study for effective management. He doesn’t spout theories from management books as much as he simply practices his malasakit principle to produce extraordinary results. His management philosophy is simply imbued with a lot of common sense and humanism… just like his father Don Eugenio.

It was not surprising to see a lot of teary eyes among the staff when he announced during the stockholders meeting that he was giving up his CEO title and was moving on to devote more time to the other areas of the family business. But the staff need not worry too much. He has set up pretty high standards of management. Whoever runs Meralco from now on can do no less.

Chinese method

One friend to another: Baket ka lungkot?

Sad friend: Kasi ayaw mag sex asawa ko… dami na daw kami anak.

Friend: dali yan… halika ako suntok sayo mukha

Sad friend: eh kung suntukin kaya kita?

Friend: Hinee ako lan suntok sayo… para tanggal ipen… bawas sex drive… sabi naming Chinese “Pak ikaw wala ipen, Wala kan-tooth”

Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is bchanco@gmail.com. This and some past columns can also be viewed at www.boochanco.com

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