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Friday, November 6, 2009

Reproductive Health Bill - My Perspective And Thoughts.


"It is high time that we band together, and exercise moral and pragmatic thinking, so that each of us impact one another in a productive way."

At only 24, my niece had already three kids. Her husband is jobless. They subsist on buying and selling anything for a day's meal. Their kids are malnourished, and it is heart-breaking to see their pitiable conditions. They can't even buy school supplies for their two grade-school kids. Being the only employed next of kin, I see to it that I give them some financial help, just to afford their kids to go to school. Sadly for me, that doesn't end there. From hospital delivery to hospitalization of any sort, they will be running to me. But am I being so cruel for sometimes getting so pissed off by their nuisances? ''Why make so many kids when you can even hardly eat?'' ''Because there is no more available contraceptives in the health center'', was her prompt reply. When the poor have only their stomach as priority, anything else would be a luxury-and buying the once free contraceptives are beyond what they can afford.

My piece of resentment however, is nothing in comparison with the condition of the poorest families with multiple children. But why did the government stop the supply of the once free-to-access contraceptives available in our local health centers? Has our national leadership been so indifferent and oblivious to the fact that over-population causes more economic misery to our country? Are the UN reports on the Philippines' over population and all its encompassing ill effects on the society in general becoming irrelevant? Our government officials are presumed more knowledgeable on any issue, and therefore have more access to facts from any national and international researches on population growth in the country.

Few would argue with me that poverty is not a blessing, but it's a curse. The evils in our society has its roots traced on poverty. Although it may be one's choice to tread that evil path, his or her decision is one way or another influenced by poverty. Over-population as everyone knows is the main root of poverty. I myself am a living testimony to that. We are ten siblings. As a kid, I dreamed of becoming somebody. But how could I? I was just lucky to have finished high school. Were it not for my determination and untold sacrifice, I would have not graduated from high school. I even came to a point of cursing myself for having been born poor. Why not? How could my parents support us all when we are ten?

Poor families with multiple children can hardly feed their family. Sending all children to school would be a hard task resulting to some children having to sacrifice. And some who have started school, tend to stop and are forced to look for jobs just to help the family get by. But less education and less qualification do not equate with good job; and so the misery goes on. And the cycle continues. Sad to say, this cycle of poverty cannot be alleviated as our population continues to soar.

If our government is determined to improve the quality of life of its citizenry, it will do its utmost to enact and implement laws that would benefit its citizens. According to various researches, poor living condition is rooted in an over-population of a certain country. Our country has a distinction of one of the most densely-congested countries in the world per capita. But all the while, what is our government doing to address this compounding problem of over-population? On the video link below, you will be appalled at how the former Manila mayor Atienza gives his perspective and stand towards the issue of over-population. His confident talks and irrational viewpoint, in a way gave me a sense of embarrassment as a Filipino. And he is only one of those treading the corridors of power with the same stand on this issue.

So much has been written for and against the controversial Reproductive Health Bill. The debates are getting intense and personal in some cases. All media communications are never short of platforms in tackling this issue. Everyone seems hell-bent on getting their voices heard. It is noteworthy though, that even an average citizen is so in-tune with this issue, because so much is at stake- the future of our children and our children's children. But would this collective voice by many turn out to be futile? A big yes, maybe! Not because of the poor being against it, but because of the sinister force that is behind the improbability of its passing into law. This force is the immensely powerful Roman Catholic Church. This influence-wielding church has dominion over peoples of the earth, and its heirarchy creates its own policies that dictates its church members to obey them.

The Philippines proudly distinguishes itself as the only predominantly 'Christian nation in Asia'. Our country is a world-renowned bastion of democracy. The rights of every citizen is enshrined in and guarded by the constitution. This very same constitution that stringently commands the inviolability of the separation of the church and the state. But this is regrettably only on paper. The Catholic church for the last century, has been the driving force behind any setup in the country's political landscape. They are being feared by our leaders. This fear stemmed from what this church is capable of doing. Most politicians would always seek its blessings in any election and therefore would do what pleases the church.

It is a sore truth that the Catholic church will exercise its power and influence to ensure that the Reproductive Health Bill doesn't get enacted into law. This is the bill that would ensure a better future for an average Filipino family. This is the bill that guarantees a quality of life for each life-loving citizen. This is also the very same bill that would statistically increase the worth and productivity of every citizen, hence a big factor to improving the country's economy. However pro-poor and pro-family, this bill as the Catholic church would contend is anti-life and in a sense, evil in its entirety. This church asserts that life starts from the stage of fertilization, and that it is tantamount to murder when a couple uses contraceptives, such as condoms or pills and the likes. The use of such contraceptions they further contend, is one way of encouraging pre-marital sex or perversion of any form. And I also contend that their reason is impeccably-dogmatic moronic form of reasoning, that defies any universal law of logical reasoning.

The impasse in Congress regarding this bill is so polarizing, that it is uncertain whether this bill gets enacted into law or not. This early, our legislatures who are vocal with their support of this bill, have been branded by the church as anti-life and are not good Catholics. The pulpit has become a powerful tool to admonish members, to be conscientious and not to vote for these politicians. In here requires a firm resolute, whether you are with them or against them. And this effective bullying has kept the president from interfering with this issue, because her political career is on the line.

Our population explosion needs to be addressed, for it is only a matter of time before everything gets out of hand. It is like a ticking bomb waiting to explode. And the underlying effects could be crucial to the survival of our country, economically and morally. It is the duty of every religious denomination to coax their flock into moral fortitude. And this duty includes instilling in them the virtues of moral propriety and self-control. Sex is a sacred thing that is a gift, meant to be enjoyed by any married couple. Therefore any sex outside of marriage is a sin. This is the domain where the church should be visible. But the choice of how and when to procreate should be dependent upon a married couples' discretion. Many unwanted pregnancies have caused a family to break apart. Accidental babies have become burden to an already struggling big family.

This is not meant to be a novel. But my disturbed emotions get the better of me. And through this blog, I am able to convey my perspective, my thoughts and my sighs about an issue, not ordinary in scale, but is powerful enough to affect you, myself, and anyone who dreams of a better Philippines. It is high time that we band together, and exercise moral and pragmatic thinking, so that each of us impact one another in a productive way. Let us help support the Reproductive Health Bill pass into law. Contraceptions for married couples do not equate to being anti-life, but it is synonymous to a quality life. Your family and my family rightfully deserve a better future.

Link: Declaration Of Support For The Immediate Passage Of The RH Bill into Law (Sign The Petion Here!), RH Bill On Facebook!.
Related Video: BBC Explore: Sex and Religion in Manila, This blog post has been featured on RATIONAL HERO!

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6 comments:

Ako Si Gundam said...

You hit the nail on the head, man.

Por cierto, te sugiero que escribas una copia de este ensayo en esta página: http://rationalhero.com/

"OPLAN PEPE encourages Filipinos to confess the sins of their church, a fallible organization of men that does not feel any guilt for violating civil rights by meddling in government affairs."

Nelson Fontanilla Bedayo said...

Thank you for reading my post. I appreciate your positive comment. About your suggestion,i've already submitted a copy to ur recommended site. Thank u so much.

isladenebz said...

I totally agree with what you wrote (and if I may say so, you wrote it very eloquently). Masarap basahin.

We're on a same boat. I too have relatives who bore children they cannot feed. I too am for RHB because, although it will not easily solve the woes that we have, it's at least a first step in getting there.

Thank you po.

Nelson Fontanilla Bedayo said...

Thank you Nebz. By the way, congratulations for having been chosen as one of the finalists in the PEBA awards. I saw it on the FB post of Mr. Jethro Abad. I've been ur fan since Pepe Cabrera introduced ur blog to me. Hope u do it again!

coralbead said...

The idea that having many children is a must for a family used to work in the days when resources were still plenty, when it wasn't that necessary to get a college education, and everyone could look forward to being a farmer. It doesn't work that way right now. RHB won't solve totally our problems, but then having it might just as well teach our kababayans to be more responsible as husbands and wives and as parents.

Pinaywriter said...

I come from a Catholic school. I studied there from kindergarden until highschool.

My parents had to literally work their asses off just to get me and my siblings a great education.

But in my school, there is no sex education to speak off. We were taught about babies are made and that it's immoral to have sex outside of marriage.

But they do not teach how condoms are used. They do not teach alternatives to abstinence. Thus the number of pregnant highschoolers increase dramatically every year.

Those who manage to go to college either end up getting knocked up while studying or right after.

It's shameful to carry around or use condoms. Men are allowed to say that it's inconvenient for them to use them because it limits sensation. But they do not have to carry the burden for months, and incidentally, a lifetime.

Dreams are dashed and girls like me, who have mothers who are paranoid from all the pregnant cousins, suffer the nagging.

People in my family always thought that because I studied in UP it meant that I have no morals to speak of. I am pro-life. But I am not pro-marriage. Especially when the reason for getting married is because the girl got knocked up. This just leads to more unwanted pregnancies and children they are not financially-capable of feeding, educating and nurturing.

I think that Religion should not dictate how people lead their lives. I am sorry but if they want the people to lead better lives, then they should offer practical alternatives and set doable goals.

Preaching is one thing, teaching them how to lead better lives through actual programs would be better.

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