Muddling the issues
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - March 21, 2014 - 12:00am

During these times when the issue on the validity of the RH law is already submitted for resolution in the Supreme Court (SC), using media in hurrying up and pressuring the SC Justices to rule in favor of its validity is a direct assault on their independence, integrity and even competency. It is an arrogant act that tends to degrade the administration of justice. Yet this is what the advocates and backers of said law are doing lately and with more frequency especially as the scheduled date of the SC’s decision on the matter draws closer. Their misplaced and mistaken arrogance at this stage seems to be some kind of a desperate move indeed.

More noticeable in this regard is their repeated use of erroneous and misleading arguments and inaccurate facts and figures. They still keep on pointing out that the law is necessary to solve our poverty problem which they attribute to our growing population. The truth however is that poverty in this land is not due to our big population that still continues to grow. Poverty in our country however is mainly due to many other causes.

Foremost among them is the rampant graft and corruption in the government where the billions of government funds and revenues lost could have been utilized for projects uplifting the lives of the poor. Another cause is the continued implementation of a lopsided economic policy that countenance the unequal distribution of the country’s wealth which is mostly owned and controlled by 10% of the country’s population only. The third cause is the failure to solve the unemployment problem and to provide more decent paying jobs to our people. Misplaced priority in government spending is another cause. The best example here is the RH law itself where 14 billion pesos have been appropriated for contraceptives that will mainly benefit the pharmaceutical conglomerates supplying them. Said amount could have been used to provide better education especially to the children of the poor.

Besides, while our population is still growing it is only because of the “population momentum” where there are still more women of reproductive age still giving birth. But National Statistics Office (NSO) figures show that the average size of the family has been reduced from seven children during the ’60s and ’70s to only three at present. In fact, NSO statistics show that the growth rate of our population is actually decreasing from a high of 3.01% in the 1960-70 to 1.96% in 2009-2010. Moreover having a big population even contributes to our economy as shown by the vast number of OFW remitting billions of dollars.

So the RH law is not necessary to solve our poverty problem by controlling our population which is supposedly its very cause. It is not necessary for couples to plan and control the size of their family through the use of contraceptives as provided by the RH law. I have pointed this out before and I have to reiterate it for as long as the RH backers continue to point out their contrary but erroneous view on the matter.

Another erroneous view that keeps on coming up even up to now is the supposed necessity of the reproductive health programs provided by the RH law. In fact the RH law advocates are urging the SC to already decide in favor of the RH law allegedly because its non-implementation up to now by virtue of the TRO has resulted in the deaths of 5,000 women due to pregnancy and child bearing related complications. They also pointed out that 10% of them were teenagers who were not given the necessary information about reproductive health services. This lack of information according to them “makes the youth vulnerable to risky behavior.”

Assuming that their figures are accurate although their sources were not divulged, it is still utterly misleading to say that these deaths could have been prevented if the RH law was already in effect. Even without the RH law those deaths could have been prevented if only the Department of Health (DOH) has done its primary duty of improving the medical facilities and services for pregnant women and their children. The DOH can do this even without the RH law by simply allocating the billions of pesos they spend for the purchase of condoms and other contraceptives to the improvement of these medical facilities.

Actually all these reproductive health problems being pointed out by its backers can be solved without the RH law. The RH law was passed by Congress with pressure from Malacanang only to give in to foreign lobbyists particularly US President Obama who has openly declared through State Secretary Clinton, the “Global Health Initiative” as the center piece of the US foreign policy.  Under this initiative as announced by Clinton during the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population Development, 63 billion US$ will be spent by the US “to prevent pregnancies and improve family planning services around the globe for the next six years.”

Indeed the RH law has appropriated P14 billion to purchase contraceptives. Statistics all over the world have already proven that contraception have pernicious effects particularly the rise of abortion rates, the spread of sexually transmissible diseases to epidemic levels and the serious health problems caused on women and children like chronic diseases and cancer. Their effects are exactly the opposite of what they are meant to solve.

So let the SC alone in deciding the case based on the Constitution crafted with “the aid of Divine Providence,” particularly the following:

1. Whether the RH bill protects the life of the mother and of the unborn from the moment of conception;

2. Whether it protects marriage as an inviolable social institution, strengthens family solidarity and promote its total development;

3. Whether it violates the natural right and duty of parents in the rearing and education of their children;

4. Whether it violates the religious freedom of individuals; and

5. Whether it is still necessary.

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