this news is probably what got the bishop’s goat on the ateneo professors – an additional 33 professors added their names to supporting the rh bill. what probably got the bishop riled is that the ateneo is a catholic school on top of being one of the country’s top universities and the number of professors supporting the rh bill has grown.
with the bishop threatening to get them fired, the number of ateneo professors supporting the rh bill will probably increase even more.
More Ateneo profs endorse RH Bill
August 19, 2012 8:26 AM
More faculty members of the Ateneo de Manila University have signed on to a statement in support of House Bill 4244, or The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill.
Thirty-three professors added their names to the statement, again stressing that they took their position as individuals, and that they are “in no way speaking for the Ateneo de Manila University, the Society of Jesus, or the rest of their colleagues.”
In updating its list of signatories, Prof. Marita Concepcion Castro Guevara, on behalf of the other signatories, said they had taken out one name erroneously included in the original list of statement endorsers.
“One name was included in error,” Prof. Guevara said. “We apologize to Mr. Arturo A. Valencia for including his name, as he has not indicated any intention to support the RH Bill. We further apologize for whatever misperception and misunderstanding this may have caused to the person of Mr. Valencia and to the organizations to which he belongs.”
In all, with Mr. Valencia’s name taken out, and with the 33 additional endorsers, 192 of Ateneo’s faculty members have now signed the statement, which InterAksyon.com had published earlier here.
The updated signatories list now reads as follows:
- Marita Concepcion Castro Guevara, PhD, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies
- Marlon J. Manuel, JD, Ateneo Law School
- Amparita S. Sta. Maria, LL.B., LL.M, Ateneo Human Rights Center, Ateneo Law School
- Joy G. Aceron, MPA, Ateneo School of Government, and Department of Political Science
- Mario C. Villaverde, MD, MPH, MPM, Ateneo School of Government Read more…
HUMAN RIGHTS, STATE OBLIGATIONS, AND THE RH BILL
Declaration of Support for House Bill 4244
(The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill)
by individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University
We, the undersigned individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University, declare our strong support for House Bill 4244, the consolidated Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill (or RH Bill). We are heartened by the recent move of the House of Representatives to terminate the protracted debates and interpellations on this bill which has languished in Congress since 1999.
We urge our legislators to act swiftly and judiciously on the proposed amendments to the bill, and thereafter vote for its passage. We issue this call in our individual capacities as educators, researchers, medical doctors, lawyers, and citizens, and in no way speak for our University, the Society of Jesus, or the rest of our colleagues.
As members of the academe who value academic freedom and responsibility, we wish to put knowledge at the service of national development goals that promote the wellbeing of the majority of our people. In so doing, we seek to ground our claims on the current scientific consensus and empirical evidence, including the lived experience of the poor and marginalized.
We recognize that others who do the same may arrive at a position contrary to ours; however, we view the ability to hold and express divergent opinions on an issue as a sign of a vibrant academic community. Having read and studied HB 4244 (the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill) as well as the proposed amendments by the bill’s authors, we conclude that it is rights-based; supportive of State obligations to protect and promote health under the Philippine Constitution and international covenants and conventions; and in accordance with what Filipinos want, the vast majority of whom consistently say in surveys that they support the RH Bill.
Most important, the RH Bill is an equity measure that aims to reduce differential access to reproductive health and family planning services and information. It is the poor—and in particular poor women and their children—who stand to benefit the most from the passage of this bill. And should not the poor be the focal concern of any social institution, be it religion, education, or the government? State obligations, RH rights We commend President Benigno S. Aquino III for remaining steadfast to his campaign promise of “recognizing the advancement and protection of public health, which includes responsible parenthood, as key measures of good governance” (item 4 in his Social Contract with the Filipino People).
Despite intense pressure from Catholic bishops and other groups who vigorously oppose the RH Bill and are campaigning for its defeat in Congress, President Aquino in 2011 endorsed the Responsible Parenthood Bill (popularly known as the Reproductive Health Bill) as among his administration’s priority measures, and reiterated the need for responsible parenthood in his State of the Nation Address last July 23, 2012.
We are likewise heartened that members of his Cabinet stand solidly behind the President in supporting the RH Bill. These include the 20 agencies under the Human Development and Poverty Reduction (HDPR) Cabinet Cluster such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Health, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, the National Economic and Development Authority, the National Anti-Poverty Commission, and the Philippine Commission on Women, among others. After a decade of neglect of state support for family planning services (except for natural family planning [NFP]) under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo which adopted an NFP-only policy, President Aquino’s endorsement of a comprehensive framework for reproductive health initiatives is not only welcome but also long overdue.
Indeed, it is the obligation of the State, as primary duty-bearer, to provide information on and access to the full array of medically safe, effective, and legal family planning services in order to enable women, men, and couples—especially among the poor—to plan the number and spacing of their children. Government budgetary support for modern family planning methods (which include NFP and “artificial” contraception) is neither unconstitutional nor a breach in good governance (a form of “corruption,” according to some bishops).
In the same way that the State is obligated to provide free basic education in public schools for the poor, so should it make information and services on family planning and reproductive health available to those who cannot afford these services.