By Engr. Grace Bondad-Nicolas, Mulat Pinoy Contributor
Everyone knows about Carlos Celdran. A hardcore Reproductive Health advocate, he is also a visual artist and a tour guide. Though he was well-known before, now he’s notorious for interrupting an Ecumenical meeting inside the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, shouting “Damaso!” He made headlines again when he tore off a tarpaulin from the CBCP building in Intramuros.
Many people remain silent about the controversial RH Bill. But you have a choice to make. Whether you protest or support it, speak up. But first, you should know what RH Bill is all about.
On April 4, 2011, the 2nd Reproductive Health Forum in Laguna was held in Bayan ni Juan, Calauan Covered Court. This is the relocation site for the disaster victims from Metro Manila.
The forum was attended by people from different municipalities of Laguna. Guests included Dean Jorge Bocobo, formerly of the ANC show “The Explainer” with Manolo Quezon. The attendees also included barangay health workers.
The usual issues were brought up during the event: the effects of contraceptives such as pills and condoms; corruption stemming from the manufacturing of condoms and pills; abortion; population; jobs; and protests against the bill.
Key statements from the speakers included:
- Contraception such as pills will always have risks. Not all pills are compatible with all bodies. One woman might have an allergic reaction. That’s why women should seek professional medical assistance before taking pills or other contraceptives. It’s like eating peanuts—some are allergic.
- Contraceptives are not cancerous or abortifacient. All medical drugs in the market—including contraceptives—have met with FDA approval, and are thus approved by the Department of Health.
- The President’s platform already includes the removal of corruption among government officials, and this is a separate issue.
- The Reproductive Health Bill is about the prevention of abortion and the prevention of 11 maternal deaths each day. These deaths are directly linked to a lack of knowledge about basic Reproductive Health.
- There are roughly 93 million people in the Philippines today. Majority of the population are living below the poverty line. A family with 9 children, where the mother is a housewife and the father is a tricycle driver, most likely has only Php 300 pesos per day to spend on all their needs. Their quality of life suffers. The RH Bill will not dictate the number of children you should have, but will help you decide how many you can provide with a good quality of life by means of education, nutrition, food and shelter.
- Jobs are needed so people can provide for their families.
- There are many people who are anti-RH Bill because they simply don’t have any idea about it. They have been fed the wrong information, or are biased because of their religion.
- The RH Bill is not about religion. This is about all the issues that concern us right now: poverty, overpopulation, HIV and AIDS, the empowerment of women, breastfeeding support, quality of life, and many other issues. God gave us free will and our democracy gave us the freedom of speech. Separation of church and government is also another issue. It is like Science and Religion—two separate entities.
Almost all the attendees were Catholic. Most believed that the Church must save souls but also that the government has the right and duty to save the Filipino people from poverty and ignorance.
Have something to say about the country’s problems? Take a cue from Carlos Celdran and speak up.
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Government has the right to intervene in the exponential growth of our population; most especially to those who are not capable in providing decent shelter, education and food for each family members.
Imagine 10 years from now if these children would not be given proper education and healthy meal. What would have they become?