Archive for the ‘population’ Category

Pope reaffirms Church opposition to contraception

October 4, 2008

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI on Friday reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to contraception on the 40th anniversary of a papal encyclical on the controversial topic.

Contraception “means negating the intimate truth of conjugal love, with which the divine gift [of life] is communicated,” the pope wrote in a message published by the Vatican.

The rhythm method is an acceptable form of contraception for couples in “dire circumstances” who need to space their children, the leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics wrote to participants in a seminar on the 1968 encyclical by Pope Paul VI.

The landmark document, whose title in English is “On the Regulation of Birth,” was published at a time when the development of the Pill was giving new sexual freedom to women across the world.

Millions of Catholics distanced themselves from Rome as a result, while the clergy were divided on how to deal with such a document, covered as it was by the doctrine of papal infallibility.

In July, some 60 Catholic groups from Europe to the Americas called on Benedict to reverse the position.
— AFP (ManilaTimes)

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PLCPD Cries Foul Over ‘Malicious Attacks’ Vs Repro Health Bill

October 2, 2008

The Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) took offense to the attacks being peddled by groups and personalities opposing the passage of House Bill 5043 or the Reproductive Health and Population Development bill. “PLCPD is a legitimate NGO made up of members of Congress. We are advocating for the RH bill solely for the improvement of women’s health and to uphold freedom of informed choice,” Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director PLCPD, clarified. “That is all there is to it. There is no hidden agenda behind this campaign.”

Among the false charges hauled against PLCPD is that it is a foreign agent illegally influencing policymaking in Congress. “We would like to reiterate that PLCPD was organized in 1989 by senators and congress members who are committed to pursue pro-poor policies and our track record can prove our commitment for human development legislation,” San Pascual said.

Among the important human development laws that PLCPD supported and championed in recent years are Cheaper Medicines Act, Juvenile Justice Act, Abolition of Death Penalty, Solid Waste Management Act, Solo Parents Act, Anti-trafficking of Persons, Anti-violence Against Women and Children, Clean Air Act, Local Government Code, Anti-Sexual Harassment Law, Anti-Rape Law, Women in Nation-Building Act, Magna Carta for the Working Child, Magna Carta for Senior Citizens, Family Code and Early Child Care and Development Act, Anti-Smoking Act and Clean Water Act, among others.

Like a typical Philippine NGO, PLCPD sources its project funds through foreign grants, particularly from American foundations and European church-related organizations. Although diverse in types and durations, all development projects of PLCPD fall within its mandate of “improved quality of life through human development legislation.”

San Pascual stressed that PLCPD cannot claim sole ownership for what the Reproductive Health bill has achieved in terms of raising awareness among the public and policy makers on the perils that the lack of such policy has brought to the country. “The opponents are giving us too much credit when in fact, the credit for the high success of this campaign is shared among many civil society organizations, represented by Reproductive Health Advocacy Network, and many groups in the business sector, government agencies, academe, interfaith community, women’s organizations across the country, and of course the courageous authors and champions in both chambers of Congress,” San Pascual added.

Despite the intensified counter-advocacy of the anti-RH bill groups, San Pascual is optimistic that the RH bill will see victory in the 14th Congress. “Their savage attacks and misinformation campaign confirm the oppositions are running out of arguments on the issue. It will not be long that more of our policymakers can see their malicious intent and realize the significance and urgency of passing this measure.”=##(PinoyPress)

JIL joins INC, backs RH bill

October 2, 2008

By Delon Porcalla
Thursday, October 2, 2008

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It’s a battle of churches as the moderate Jesus is Lord (JIL) movement joined other religious groups in support of the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill, which the Catholic Church opposes.

JIL leader Eddie Villanueva expressed support for House Bill 5043, entitled “Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development Act of 2008,” provided some provisions, particularly those raised by Couples for Christ, are deleted.

“We should not sacrifice this very important legislation. However, there are objectionable provisions. So why not omit these, amend and improve the bill but not sacrifice this landmark legislation aimed to address the root of poverty in this country,” he said.

The five million-strong JIL joined the pro-choice position taken by the influential Iglesia ni Cristo, which rejected natural family planning that Catholic leaders promote, including the rhythm method, which they considered as “really contrary to nature.”

“INC accepts modern family planning methods or the use of what others call contraceptives as long as they are not abortifacient in nature and they do not impose prolonged abstinence from sexual intercourse among married couples,” spokesman Bienvenido Santiago said.

“I’m in favor of any method for as long as these are not designed to kill life. I’m against abortion. Abortion per se is murder,” Villanueva said.

Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay, main proponent of the reproductive health bill, and co-author Rep. Janette Garin of Iloilo have repeatedly rectified the misconceptions that they are pro-abortion.

“We are strongly against it (abortion). We are pro-life and we are pushing for a good quality of life,” Garin said.

“The bill is not about condoms and pills and neither is it about religion. It is primarily about health and rights,” Lagman reiterated.

Lagman emphasized that reproductive health is a “basic human right that the government must promote and protect” and that it would be “an indispensable development tool given that rapid population growth impacts negatively on all aspects of human development.”

The Catholic Church opposes the bill that they believe would promote the use of contraceptives and increase abortion, which is illegal in the country.

JIL and INC are now pitted against the ultra-conservative and dominant Catholic Church, which counts at least 85 percent of the 83 million Filipinos, including the 10 million members of El Shaddai led by their charismatic leader Bro. Mike Velarde.

Villanueva personally believes in responsible parenthood. “It is important to address overpopulation but we must not sacrifice morality. Why not produce anexcellent, if not perfect, measure? The intention (of the bill) is very good.”

“We really need a no-nonsense population policy. However, we should not sacrifice morality. Why not improve this said bill, eliminating undesirable provisions that are offensive to the morality of the Filipino people,” he added.

Garin earlier revealed that 106 House members support the bill, which makes them confident the measure may be passed.

“There are now 106 signatories. We have already reached the numbers. This bill will pass unless there will be (House) members questioning the quorum to delay the passage,” she said in a text message.

But while deliberations have suffered a little delay, like the objections raised by pro-church advocate Deputy Speaker for Visayas Raul del Mar, Lagman insisted that “delay is not victory. It is merely postponing the eventual defeat of those opposed to the reproductive health (RH) bill.”

The RH bill proponent discredited the “patently dilatory tactics” of those opposed to it, following what he called the “long winding interpellations, baseless procedural objections and irrelevant attacks on the funding and motives of NGO advocates.”

Lagman pointed out that the alleged “technical defects” Del Mar raised were approved unanimously and without any appeal from four House committees – Health, Population and Family Relations, Appropriations and the committee on Rules.

Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral said at least seven government agencies are now backing the RH bill.

Cabral said aside from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Health, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Education, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Commission on Population, and the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) also support the measure.

Cabral said the agencies submitted their position papers during the House and Senate hearings on the controversial bill.

She said a clear majority of Cabinet members now support the bill.

Cabral clarified that this is not the position of the government, saying President Arroyo has remained consistent in her advocacy for natural family planning methods.

The DPWH chief is one of the signatories in the online petition of the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network, which has so far gathered 3,968 signatures.

“It is my personal conviction and everybody is entitled to his own opinion,” Cabral stressed.

The bill, which among others promotes the use of artificial contraceptives, has passed deliberations in the committees on health, population and family relations, appropriations, and rules.

A party-list representative said that the Catholic Church should also come up with its own manifesto to be circulated among congressmen to determine the number of pro-life supporters.

A Teacher party-list Rep. Mariano Piamonte Jr., who was once the executive director of the Catholic Education Association of the Philippines (CEAP), made the suggestion during the weekly media forum at the Ilustrado Restaurant in Intramuros.

He said the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) should do more than just pray. “Prayers can move mountains but you have to push it also, you have to do something concrete. You cannot solve your problems by prayers alone.”

He also suggested that the bishops should also consider inviting the members of Congress to dinner to discuss the RH bill and get their commitment that they would withdraw their support from the proposed legislation. “I believe that the bishops have great persuasive powers.”

CBCP spokesman Monsignor Pedro Quitorio III said he liked the idea because by requiring them to sign, they would be able to document their support.

“I will relay to the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) chairman Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto about Congressman Piamonte’s request that a manifest to gather signatures be circulated,” said Monsignor Quitorio.

He also assured the public that the bishops are doing everything to block the passage of the bill but many of them chose not to divulge it to the media. – With Helen Flores, Evelyn Macairan (PStar)

Editorial Cartoon: Ganti-Ganti Lang

September 28, 2008

Their day tehee!

Editorial Cartoon: (Presidentiable War) Velarde’s Warning

September 26, 2008

Not a joke

Repro health bill activists rally for public support

September 26, 2008

BAGUIO CITY ― With the congressional plenary hearing set anytime next week on House Bill 5043 or the Reproductive Health Care Bill, its advocates work double-time at gathering signatures in support of the bill.

Eden R. Divinagracia of the Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare (PNGOC), in a press conference here, Thursday said there are now at least 90 co-sponsors for the bill that Cong. Edcel Lagman is pushing. Gabriela Women’s Party’s Representatives Liza Maza and Luz Ilagan also support the bill.

Divinagracia appeared in the said press conference with Cordillera Population Officer Aurora Quiray, Department of Health’s Dr. Amelita M. Pangilinan and Baguio Health Department’s Purificacion S. Serna and Lolita Dicang.

While the opposing view from the Roman Catholic church is gathering support for the non-passage of the bill due to its advocacy for artificial contraceptives, Divinagracia said the bill continues to gain strength with its own supporters’ signature campaign. She said a nationwide signature campaign has been launched to support the bill and push for its passage.

“We shall keep on gathering signatures for the bill,” Divinagracia said. She recalled the bill has endured eight years in Philippine Congress and has been refiled many times.

The Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) initiated an online petition to gather one million signatures to show legislators there is a wide support base for the bill’s passage, according to Divinagracia.

The bill advocates reporductive health care which should include, among others, maternal and child health and nutrition; breastfeeding; family planning; prevention of abortion; elimination of violence against women; male involvement; and education for youth in the right age.

Divinagracia enjoins local chief executives and legislators to initiate localizing the bill for its benefits to trickle down on the people especially the poor. # Lyn V. Ramo (NorDis)

Church gathers 100T signatures vs RH bill

September 10, 2008

THE church-led signature campaign against the reproductive health (RH) bill has started gaining its ground after gathering 100,000 signatures since the campaign was launched in July.

Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (CBCP-ECFL), said they are expecting the number to increase as other dioceses in the country have started their own campaign.

What’s your take on the Mindanao crisis? Discuss views with other readers

He said as soon as they collate all the signatures, they will present it to Congress as their reference before they discuss the bill in the plenary.

“Now conservatively, we have 100,000 signatures nationwide. We will present this to Congress,” Castro said.

Asked if the bishops are going to withdraw their support from politicians in the 2010 elections, he answered: “We have already their names (pro-RH bill) so that in the next elections the Catholic faithful maybe guided accordingly.”

Aside from the archdiocese of Manila, the archdioceses of Cebu and Pampanga have already conducted signature drive against the RH bill. Other archdioceses and dioceses in the country are expected to follow suit.

Meanwhile, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said they will try to finish gathering many signatures as possible before Congress tackles the bill on the floor.

“We will try to make it before they make a decision. They know that the church is against it but they are trying to pass it,” he said.

Although many lawmakers have expressed their support for the bill, Rosales said what is ironic is that the people who they represent are the ones who are against the pending bill.

Castro added that they will ask for the help of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo if the bill has been approved by both Houses of Congress.

“The bishops will do that eventually but as of now, we do not rely only on the President; we want to know how our lawmakers act on this matter. So whatever will happen in the future, the church is prepared,” he said. (FP/MSN/Sunnex)

Arroyo really pro-artificial birth control, says group

August 16, 2008

By Desiree Caluza, Tonette Orejas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:27:00 08/16/2008

BAGUIO CITY – Health officials and population experts here said President Macapagal-Arroyo is supporting artificial family planning methods although she is more vocal about the natural family planning method.

Aurora Quiray, Cordillera director of the Commission on Population, said Ms Arroyo has ordered the Department of Health, the commission and local governments to educate families on choices of family planning methods because the government considers population as a development issue.

Quiray said the government’s family planning program wants couples to have a choice in controlling their family.

“The government wants to balance artificial and natural family planning method and how they will be carried in the advocacy. In her State of the Nation Address, the President asserted the natural family planning method, but there is a mandate from her for DOH and Popcom on how the local government units will take charge of artificial family planning methods and contraceptives. The natural family planning method is a supplementation,” she said in a press forum here on Wednesday.

She said they held a region-wide consultation with Cordillera leaders on how to strengthen the program on population and development.

She said the consultation clarified the controversial reproductive health bills pending in Congress.

Quiray said it was also in the consultation that the support for artificial family planning method by the government was discussed.

In Pampanga, couples in Central Luzon appeared to favor more the use of modern than natural forms of family planning.

There has been a decline in the use of oral contraceptive pills from 50.56 percent in 2006 to 46.96 percent in 2007 but pills continued to be the first method of choice, according to data from the DOH’s field health service information system in seven provinces and 12 cities in Central Luzon.

The second most popular method – injectable contraceptive, which is done once every three months – also saw a declining number of users from 19.21 percent in 2006 to 16.62 percent in 2007.

More men went for vasectomy, which sharply rose from 0.05 percent in 2006 to 13 percent last year.

An increasing number of women, from 11.77 percent to 15.03 percent, resorted to tubal ligation.

Natural family planning (Unang bahagi)

August 10, 2008

MAY kasabihan sa Inggles na “the more, the merrier.” Ganito ang tradisyunal na pananaw ng mga Pilipino pagdating sa pamilya. Kaya nga hindi lang kuya at ate ang tawagan ng magkakapatid. Mayroon pang diko, ditse, sangko, sanse, siko at bunso.

Sa susunod na buwan, madaragdagan ang pamilya ni Sally. Magiging dalawa na ang anak niya. Halong ligaya at kaba ang nararamdaman niya. Ligaya, dahil magkakaroon na rin siya ng anak na lalaki. At kaba, dahil may kakambal itong panibagong gastusin. Sa taas ng presyo ng mga bilihin, hindi na sapat ang kinikita ng kanilang sari-sari store para sa pangangailangan ng kanyang pamilya. “Kung ako ang masusunod, hanggang dalawang anak lang. Ang hirap lang tumanggi sa mister ko ’pag nag-aaya siya (na makipagtalik).”

Gaya ng karamihang mga Pilipino, madalas marinig ni Sally ang terminong NFP (natural family planning). Pero hindi malinaw sa kanya kung ano ang ibig sabihin nito.

Ano ba ang NFP?

Ang NFP ay ang paraan kung paano mabuntis o umiwas sa pagbubuntis batay sa kaalaman sa menstrual cycle ng babae. At dahil natural ito, hindi ito gumagamit ng birth control devices tulad ng condom at pills. Ito’y medically safe, mabuti sa kalusugan, epektibo at hindi magastos.

NFP at reproduction

Para mas maunawaan ang NFP, mahalagang malaman ang proseso ng reproduction. May dalawang ovary na matatagpuan sa kaliwa’t kanan ng uterus ng babae. Bawat buwan, nagpapakawala ito ng egg sa fallopian tube. Ovulation ang tawag dito. Nangyayari ito 12-14 na araw bago magsimula ang menstrual period.

Maaaring mabuntis ang babae kung makikipagtalik siya sa panahong ito. Dadaan ang sperm ng lalake sa cervix papasok sa fallopian tube. Pag may naabutan itong egg, magkakaroon ng fertilization o ang pagsasama ng sperm at egg. Mapupunta ang fertilized egg sa uterus, at dito ito magiging fetus.

Sa NFP, matutulungan ang mga mag-asawang matukoy ang mga araw sa menstrual cycle kung kailan fertile at maaaring mabuntis ang babae. Para sa karamihan ng kababaihan, nagpapakawala ng egg ang ovary dalawang linggo bago ang kasunod na menstrual period. 24 oras itong mananatiling fertile matapos itong mapakawalan. Kung nais ng mag-asawang umiwas sa di-inaasahang pagbubuntis, hindi sila dapat magtalik sa panahong ito.

(May karugtong)(Pinoy Weekly)

Makabago at simpleng paraan ng natural family planning

August 10, 2008

Standard Days Method

Ang Standard Days Method ay nakabatay sa kaalamang ang menstrual cycle ay binubuo ng fertile phase na sinusundan ng mga araw na infertile. Tumatagal ng 26 hanggang 32 na araw ang regular na menstrual cycle ng babae. Maaaring siyang mabuntis sa ikawalo hanggang ika-19 na araw. Sa 12 araw na ito, isinaaalang-alang ang maaaring pagbabago sa timing ng ovulation at ang haba ng buhay ng sperm habang nasa loob ito ng reproductive tract ng babae.

Gumagabay ang color-coded beads na tinatawag na cycle beads para matukoy ang araw na fertile at infertile sa cycle ng babae.

Two Day Method

Cervical secretions ang batayan ng fertility sa Two Day Method. Kailangan i-monitor ng babae kung may bakas ng secretion para malaman kung maaari siyang mabuntis.

Bawat araw may dalawang tanong ang gumagamit ng Two day Method :

  • May napansin ba akong secretion ngayon?

  • May napansin ba akong secretion kahapon?

Kung may mapansin siyang secretion ngayon o kahapon, masasabing fertile siya ngayon, at hindi siya dapat makipagtalik para umiwas sa pagbubuntis. Kung wala siyang napansing secretion ngayon at kahapon (dalawang magkasunod na tuyong araw), napakaliit ng posibilidad na mabubuntis siya.

Iba pang paraan ng natural family planning:

Ovulation Method

Ang Ovulation Method na tinatawag ding Cervical Mucus Method, ay nakabatay sa pagbabago ng cervical secretion sa leeg ng uterus o cervix. Sa panahong pinaka-fertile, nagiging clear ang secretions, stretchy, madulas at basa.

Kung umiiwas pagbubuntis, hindi dapat makipagtalik sa panahong ito. Dapat hintayin ang ikatlong araw matapos ang huling fertile-type secretion.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

Temperatura ng katawan sa umaga, bago ang kahit anong aktibidad, ang basehan ng BBT. Mas mababa ang temperature ng katawan bago ang ovulation, at bahagyang tumataas ng .2 degrees Celsius o .4 degrees Farenheit matapos ang ovulation.

Kung umiiwas sa pagbubuntis, dapat hintayin ang ikatlong araw matapos tumaas ang basal body temperature ng .2 degrees Celsius o .4 degrees Fahrenheit, na senyales ng katapusan ng fertile phase.

Symptothermal Method

Ang Symptothermal Method ay ang pag-oobserba sa mga pagbabago sa cervical secretions, kasama rin dito ang mga pagbabago sa basal body temperature, at ang posisyon at pakiramdam ng bukana ng cervix. Ang ilan pang senyales gaya ng mid-cycle pain o pagdudugo ay maaaring sumabay sa ovulation.

Fertility indicators ang mga ito. At hindi dapat makipagtalik sa panahong ito kung umiiwas sa pagbubuntis.

Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)

Ang LAM ay nakabatay sa siyentipikong ebidensiya na hindi fertile ang isang babae at maliit ang tsansang mabubuntis siya sa panahon ng full lactation o exclusive breastfeeding. Tinutukoy ng full lactation ang pagpapasuso sa bata sa panahong walang regular na supplemental feeding (kahit na tubig).

Nagbibigay ng proteksiyon ang LAM kapag:

  • Hindi pa uli nagkakaroon ng menstruation

  • Hindi pa binibigyan ng bottle feeds at regular na mga food supplement ang sanggol

  • Wala pang anim na buwan ang edad ng bata

Gaano kaepektibo ang natural family planning?

Kung maingat na susundan ng kababaihan ang mga direksyon nito (ang pagtutukoy kung kailan siya may ovulation para malaman kung kailan siya makikipagtalik), 91% hanggang 98% na magiging epektibo ito. Pero dahil bihira ang perpektong pagsasagawa nito, tinatantiyang nasa 76% ang pagka-epektibo nito. Ibig sabihin sa 100 na babaing gumagamit ng natural family planning para umiwas sa pagbubuntis, 24 sa kanilang ang nabubuntis kada taon.

Ang pagkakaroon ng di-regular na period ang karaniwang dahilan ng pagkabigo ng natural family planning.(PinoyWeekly)

Editorial Cartoon: Diversionary Tactic

August 9, 2008

Lumang Style

More lawmakers back family planning bill

August 9, 2008

By Jess Diaz
Saturday, August 9, 2008

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More members of the House of Representatives have endorsed the Reproductive Health Bill despite opposition expressed by the Catholic Church and El Shaddai to its enactment.

The bill aims to offer couples and women the choice to use natural or artificial family planning methods.

“The public debates on family planning and population have in fact encouraged more members of the House to make a stand by co-sponsoring the measure,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the bill’s principal authors, said yesterday.

“The bill has now a total of 67 authors, with 10 of the latest signatories signing up since the start of the second regular session of Congress two weeks ago,” he said.

This means that more lawmakers are defying the position taken by the “conservative Catholic hierarchy” on family planning, he added.

Lagman said the measure has also been endorsed by the House committee on appropriations, which he heads.

“This is significant because the bill has now been approved by no less than three standing committees of the House – committees on health, population and family relations, and appropriations. The bill will now be transmitted to the committee on rules so it can be calendared for plenary debates,” he said.

He pointed out that “with the steadily growing number of reproductive health advocates among House members, the measure will be finally passed by the House, nine years after the first similar bill was filed in the 11th Congress.”

Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr., a former speaker and three-term congressman, has endorsed the proposed law on family planning.

The insistence of the bill’s authors to push for the enactment of the Reproductive Health Bill has triggered a word war between them and Catholic bishops.

Speaker Prospero Nograles has announced plans to call his colleagues to a caucus to get a consensus on whether to freeze or approve the measure.

While Lagman claims there were recent additions to the list of endorsers, there were also those who withdrew their support for it. Among them is Mark Mendoza of Batangas.

Three other House members – Rene Velarde, William Tieng and Ma. Carissa Coscolluela – have announced they would oppose it after Velarde’s father, Bro. Mike Velarde of El Shaddai, expressed opposition to artificial family planning methods.

The three are representatives of party-list group Buhay, which is closely associated with El Shaddai.

In her State of the Nation Address last July 28, President Arroyo said she prefers natural family planning.

Lagman said while the President’s choice deserves respect, “it should in no way deter reproductive health advocates in Congress from pursuing the enactment of a comprehensive, rights-based and national policy on reproductive health and family planning.”

He said freedom of choice “will be enhanced and truly promoted by providing women and couples information and access to the full range of family planning options, from the natural to modern methods.”

“Providing only one method to the detriment of all the rest dilutes the freedom of informed choice. Widening women’s and couples’ choices will help them decide more intelligently on what method to use to plan and space their children,” he stressed.

He cited studies showing that 36 percent of Filipinos prefer modern birth control methods, while only 15 percent favor natural family planning.

Lagman earlier blamed the government’s failure to pursue a clear population management policy for the country’s burgeoning population, which he said is hindering economic growth. (PStar)

Advocate’s Overview: Over population problem

August 3, 2008

By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW

The population issue is hot in the country, particularly with the pending bill on reproductive health in Congress. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) released its position against the said bill branding the measure as anti-life.

Recently in the news, the Philippines was identified among the top 15 most populous nations of the world registering 88.7 million people. The population could have been more if not due to the high infant mortality rate and abortions, illegal or otherwise.

The population will surely boom as official statistics show that four babies are born every minute. If there will be no concrete and realistic measures that would be adopted by the government, the Philippines would move to a higher rank from where it is now. A problem as a consequence is how to support such a big population.

From the 15 most populous nations, eight are found in Asia. The list include: 1. China (1.32 billion), 2. India (1.13 billion), 3. United States (304 million), 4. Indonisia (232 million), 5. Brazil (187 million), 6. Pakistan (163 million), 7. Bangladesh (159 million), 8. Nigeria (148 million), 9. Russia (142 million), 10. Japan (128 million), 11. Mexico (107 million), 12. Philippines (88.7 million), 13. Vietnam (84 million), 14. Germany (82 million), and 15. Egypt (81 million).

In Congress, the pending bill on reproductive health aims to address the fast growing population through various family planning methods. The bill also encourages spouses to limit their children to two. If enacted into law, a new office to be called the Council on Family Planning will be established to monitor the family planning program.

While I view it as a concrete policy move to address the population growth, I hope politicians would push for the measure despite the “threat” by the Catholic bishops to campaign against the proponents.

I remember from our history when the Catholic Church threatened to campaign against Senator Claro M. Recto when he filed a bill in congress to include Dr. Jose Rizal’s life and works, particularly the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, in the education curriculum. Of course, we knew that these controversial novels contained exposés of church atrocities during the Spanish colonial period, and the church was bent in blocking the bill as it would tarnish its image. Recto’s purpose, however was to rekindle the nationalist consciousness of the youth through studying the life and works of Rizal.

Nationalist Recto, though a politician, knew the consequences of his acts if the Catholic Church would campaign against him in the elections. However, he pushed for the measure due to its nationalistic aims. That past situation can be likened on today’s threat by the Catholic Church to campaign against the proponents of the reproductive health bill. If the politicians choose to do a Recto, they should enrich their bill more by consulting the broadest sectors of our society. We need a scientific program to address the country’s population issue. And I must be done now if we are to address the population, which is fast increasing. #

Editorial Cartoon: Garin is Ploy

July 24, 2008

Pang-Nakaw Pansin

Editorial Cartoon: Population Lobo

July 24, 2008

Population BOOM.

Editorial Cartoon: Population Issue as Photo-Ops Object

July 23, 2008

Kaya hindi ako maniwala sa sinseridad ng ilang politiko sa isyung ito eh.

Reproductive health bills ‘morally unacceptable,’ says CBCP

July 22, 2008

MANILA, July 21, 2008–The reproductive health bills pending in Congress are “morally unacceptable,” said the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) today.

Speaking at a press conference, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, former vice-president of CBCP, said that the ongoing tussle between the Catholic Church and some lawmakers on the reproductive health bills could be resolved with “dialogue.”

Ledesma said Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Representative Rufus Rodriguez, both of Cagayan de Oro, support the church stand.

However, Ledesma said, the two lawmakers’ position is based on “moral grounds” and not political grounds.

The issue of reproductive health bills have to be understood on a “moral ground,” than “political ground” or “partisan approach,” Ledesma added.

The proposed reproductive health bills allegedly promote artificial population control methods including abortion.

According to Catholic Church, only natural family planning is morally justified.

The prelate also stressed that church leaders continue to advocate with local lawmakers for the scrapping of the reproductive health bills at the district or diocesan level.

Recently, Congressman Mark Llandro Mendoza of the fourth district of Batangas withdrew his support for the reproductive health measure, in which he was one of the signatories.

Mendoza did it as an outcome of his “change of heart.” (Santosh Digal)(CBCPNews)

Church’s hardline stance vs contraceptives killing women

July 15, 2008

By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:35:00 07/14/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Catholic Church’s stance against contraceptives has been a “huge disservice” to women and denying communion to politicians whom the Church perceived to be pro-abortion would not solve maternal deaths, reproductive rights and women’s groups said on Monday.

The Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN), a consortium of more than 20 women’s and health groups, said Ozamiz Archbishop Jesus Dosado’s stance not to give communion to politicians whom he considered as supportive of abortion was “very misleading.”
Beth Angsioco, RHAN secretary general, said the bishop’s statement, which was given a few days after the Church launched a campaign against reproductive health bills in Congress, seemed to equate reproductive health rights with abortion.

“Abortion is not reproductive health,” she said. “I don’t know if the bishop has read the reproductive health bills … Abortion remains illegal and punishable in the Philippines,” she said.

The Catholic Church recently reiterated its stand against contraceptives and surgical interventions like tubal ligation and vasectomy.

The Church considers these measures “anti-life” and immoral, like abortion, which the Philippine government does not support.

Last week, members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines met with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to stress their opposition against reproductive health bills in Congress.

Angsioco said the Church was making a huge disservice to women by equating abortion with access to reproductive health.

Citing data from the United Nations, Angsioco said 10 women in the Philippines have been dying daily because of pregnancy complications arising from lack of maternal and natal care before, during, and after pregnancy.

“It is a huge disservice not only to women but particularly to the poor. Those who can afford contraceptives can buy, but those who are poor are really affected,” she said.

While it has expressed support for the use of contraceptives, the national government does not buy it for distribution to public health facilities, preferring instead to let local governments and international donors provide it.

“We are closing our eyes, the Church is closing its eyes to the fact that women are massacred,” she said.

The reproductive health bills in the House of Representatives would not legalize abortion, the RHAN official pointed out.

The bills seek to provide women with wider access to all kinds of family planning methods and a national reproductive health policy, according to Angsioco.

“It sets a national policy. It will no longer be dependent on local governments or the position of the President or chief executives,” she said.

Gabriela, a women’s party-list group, said Dosado’s call would not solve the problems facing women who lacked proper access to health and maternal care.

Instead of castigating pro-abortion politicians, the Church should take concrete initiatives that would help pregnant women and their families, Joms Salvador, Gabriela spokeswoman, said.

“We understand the concerns of the Church. We are also concerned about mothers’ health. The proposal to deny politicians communion will not solve the deep reasons why women undergo abortion,” she said.

She noted that some women chose abortion because they could not afford another child or they were raped. The current climate in which women could not have easy access to reproductive health care, has been making it difficult for mothers to make informed decisions, she added.

“There is a need to root out the causes of abortion. We challenge the Church to sit down with groups like us and interested parties to discuss the issue,” Salvador said.

In all the infighting between legislators who have proposed population management laws and the Catholic Church, women have been losing, Salvador said. “The women are burdened. They have needs and concerns,” she said.

(PDI)