Reproductive Health Bill

The controversial Republic Health Bill has divided the numbers of Filipinos regarding opinion and standing, government Officials against the church.

The population growth of Filipino is diminutive compared to the population growth in other developing countries. It is very notable that corruption in the Philippines is very rampant.  The Philippines ranks 139th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2009.

The drive against corruption has never been consistent and as usual high-profiled cases of corruption has  been reported by the media. So why blaim our population for poverty, when there are even leading cases  that exhibits misconduct and public monetary blunder.

Among the economics and demographic premises of the RH Bill is the poverty and population. Economist Roberto De Vera stressed that the more probable cause of poor families is not family size but the limited schooling of the household head: 78% to 90% of the poor households had heads with no high school diploma, preventing them from getting good paying jobs. He refers to studies which shows that 90% of the time the poor want the children they have: as helpers in the farm and investment for a secure old age.

See below the graph of our population from 2000-2009. The USAID stopped the funding of the public contraceptive service in the Philippines in 2003. And as you can see in the graph below that the number of population decreases from 2003 in which the promulgation of the contraceptives has ended.

Year Population Growth rate (%)
2000 2.07
2001 2.03
2002 1.99
2003 1.92
2004 1.88
2005 1.84
2006 1.80
2007 1.764
2008 1.991
2009 1.957

According to Sec. 9 of the proposed bill, “Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines” this states that Hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables  and other safe and effective family planning products and supplies shall be part of the National Drug Formulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units.

Filipino families are already aware about family planning, they were exposed to contraceptives and has been given the freedom to choose not to use it or to use it. If health is the one of the reasons for this bill, if this bill is to prevent the cases of the poor pregnant women from dying, why not allocate more funds  to provide poor filipinos get quality and accessible medical healthcare? Widen the program to provide medical aid for the poor? Isn’t it visible enough to see public  hospitals with lesser facilities and have larger numbers of patients than it’s total capacity? How much do you think would the government spend for this bill if this happens? And what’s behind this agenda?

They claim that this bill seeks to provide the enabling environment for couples and individuals to enjoy the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education, and access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice. Without thinking the darker side of it, which the church mainly concerns that this will increase premarital sex, more fatherless children, more poverty, more abortion and a decline of marriage. It would reach to such possibility as well that sex will become a lifestyle and a game to youngsters and no longer an expression of love.

In Sec. 4 tackles the mandatory age-appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education. This will mandates the DepEd (Department of Education), CHED (Commission on Higher Education), TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and ALS to educate children under Grade four up to Fourth Year High School. Putting the idea in my head that  a 12 year-old kid would have access to pills can be demoralizing. Parents rights will be gone if this bill pass, considering on what is stated on Sec. 23 that “Any commission of the foregoing prohibited acts or violation of this Act shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine of Ten Thousand (P 10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P 50,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the competent court; Provided That, if the offender  is a public official or employee, he or she shall suffer the accessory penalty of dismissal from the government service  and forfeiture of retirement benefits. If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president  or any responsible officer. An offender who is an alien shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration.” They make it certain that no one will object and question the bill when it pass. Paradoxically the government has become the puppet of businessmen. It is clear that the government will purchase contraceptive products from such supplier with the allocated budget. And upon the purchasing, ghost deliveries will be possible. And it might be very possible as well that it has shorter validaty/ expiry date. Just like the vitamins that they’ve freely distributed to the poor before.

It is said that RH bill will most definitely help lower the incidence of abortion by preventing unplanned, mistimed and unwanted pregnancies which are the ones usually terminated, opposing to the bill, the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Santo Tomas, the Philippine Nurses Association (with at least 368,589 members), the Bioethics Society of the Philippines, Catholic Physicians’ Guild of the Philippines stated that “the antiabortion stance of the bill is contradicted by the promotion of contraceptive agents (IUD and hormonal contraceptives) which actually act after fertilization and are potentially abortifacient agents. This refers to a 2000 study of a scientific journal of the American Medical Association, in which a meta-analysis of 94 studies provides evidence that when a common birth control pill fails to prevent ovulation, “postfertilization effects are operative to prevent clinically recognized pregnancy.” They also point to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2005), which concluded that the IUD brings about the “destruction of the early embryo,” thus is deemed to kill five-day old babies.



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