Home > RH Bill 5043 > new health secretary cabral supports Reproductive Health Bill 5043

new health secretary cabral supports Reproductive Health Bill 5043

secretary cabral is a like a breath of fresh air. she is one of the very few arroyo cabinet member who supports RH Bill 5043. kudos!

MANILA, Philippines – Newly-designated Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral recently repeated her support for the reproductive health (RH) bill pending in the House of Representatives, saying it is needed to help ease the country’s population problem.

Cabral made the remarks during a surprise appearance at the conferment ceremonies for businesswoman Loida Nicolas Lewis as Eminent Person on population, given by the Forum for Family Planning and Development in Pasig City on January 15.   

It will be recalled that Cabral stated her support for a national modern family planning program when she was Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary, going against the Malacañang line of backing only the Catholic Church-approved natural family planning as a national program.

She said that there are many members of the Arroyo Cabinet who support the RH bill, but it was she who, by chance, opened up to members of the media.

Cabral’s predecessor in the Department of Health, Francisco Duque III, strictly toed the Malacañang line during his tenure.

Good for family

In the course of her remarks, Cabral revealed that she and Lewis were in school together at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

In her own acceptance speech, the New York-based Lewis acknowledged that the RH bill is good for women, good for couples, and good for the family—and must be passed soonest.

Lewis, who chairs the TLC Group that operates a chain of convenience stores in major cities in China, is also a major sponsor of a Church-based microfinance project that has, since 1998, lifted from poverty thousands of women and their families in her home province of Sorsogon.

But the prospects of the RH bill being passed before the 14th Congress adjourns on February 5 are uncertain.

One of the bill’s main features is the support for a government-run national family planning program that centers on the use of modern family planning methods such as the pill, condom, vasectomy, and ligation, as well as natural family planning.

The Catholic Church opposes modern family planning methods as “abortifacient” (induces abortion), a charge denied by its proponents.

Church critics say that studies show that natural family planning is the least effective among the family planning methods mentioned, resulting in unwanted pregnancies that many times lead to illegal abortion.

20 years long

The sponsors emphasize that the program is intended to meet the needs of low-income women and couples; and that smaller families enable women to work or engage in their professions full-time.

The bill, under the guidance of its principal author, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, has been ready for debate in the plenary session—an achievement by itself.

Lawmakers have been trying for almost 2 decades to pass RH bills but have never succeeded in getting them out of the committees.

In this Congress, Lagman and his partners have said that they have the momentum and the numbers to pass this long-pending legislation.

But Speakler Prospero Nograles has angered the bill’s supporters with a surprise announcement that the 14th Congress has no time to pass the bill as the debates will crowd out other priority legislations that need to be approved by February 5.

This surprise move is taken by some observers as a big break for the Catholic Church, which opposes the bill, and its allies in Congress.

To reinforce this move, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has issued a statement urging Filipinos not to vote for candidates in the 2010 elections supporting anti-family legislation, a reference to the RH bill.

Strong public support

Some political scientists say the threat of the CBCP is hollow as there is no Catholic vote in the country.

The election of Fidel Ramos, a protestant, as president in 1992 is often cited as proof to support this view.

In fact, the RH bill has strong public support as shown by the series of 4 surveys—one national and in 3 selected cities—conducted by the Social Weather Stations in 2009.

An average of around 65% of respondents say they approve of the RH bill and its advocacy of modern family planning methods.

The bill also has the support of experts, notably the faculty members of the University of the Philippines School of Economics, who together endorsed it.

Despite these, none of the candidates in the 2010 presidential race have so far come out backing the RH bill. (Newsbreak)


  1. Estipona ng Davao
    February 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    RH Bill 5043 is a good and practical measure to reduce unwanted pregnancies,limit number of children and a good measure for couples who cannot control their urges.The fear that candidate will lose the catholic vote is unfounded.Majority of catholics accepts family planning and mostly do not follow the priest when it comes to number of children in the family.I welcome RH 5043.A timely and practical law.

  2. Lee Verallo
    April 24, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Proponents of H.B, 5043 “Reproductive Health” bill always cite that that the Philippines is over-populated at 90 million people to rationalize their support for artificial birth control. But is the country really overpopulated? And the implication is that our country is poor because of that 90-million figure.

    Population figures are meaningless if we don’t take into consideration the area where that figure lives. For example, what does it mean that Japan has 127 million people? Or that the U.S.A. has 309 million?

    Let’s take a look at a sample of Wikipedia’s listing of countries according to population DENSITY, or the number of people in every square kilometer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_dependencies_by_population_density), April 24, 2010:

    Rank Country People/Sq.Km.
    1 Macau 18,534
    2 Monaco 16,923
    3 Singapore 7,022
    4 Hong Kong 6,348

    43 Philippines 307

    129 Ethiopia 71

    Compared to the thousands of the top 4 most-densely populated countries, the Philippines at 307 is hardly “over-populated”!

    And what about the overpopulation=poverty myth? The top 4 countries are so RICH! Macau is Asia’s playground for billionaires, streets choked with Rolls Royces. Monaco is summer capital to Europe’s kings, princes, dukes and other royalty. No need to say anything about Singapore and Hong Kong.

    These top 4 countries are so small and have no natural resources to brag about but yet so rich. So is the Philippines poor because there are “too many” Filipinos and that we have no natural resources? Look at Ethiopia in Africa. If less people means more wealth to be shared, Ethiopia should be at the top of the list, instead of being one of the world’s poorest.

    Some people may argue that the top 4 are rich because they are small and easy to manage in spite their large population. So let’s look at huge China with its 1.3 BILLION. It is the fastest growing economy in the world, predicted to overtake the U.S.A. in about a decade, and even now lends money to the U.S.A.!

    Right within our own country, compare the population-to-wealth ratio of Sequijor, Cebu and Manila. Obviously, the more population, the wealthier the place!

    Now guess what is our country’s biggest dollar earner? It’s our Overseas Foreign Workers – human life.

    Clearly, life is God’s GIFT and a nation’s WEALTH!

    So what is causing our poverty?

    RIIIGHT! CORRUPTION! And the guilty ones hide their sins by blaming us the people for having too many children! What if by a miracle, our population is cut in half a year from now, will our country start getting richer if corruption is still there? Of course not!

    (How true is the rumor that those who support H.B. 5043 are offered millions by giant foreign pharmaceuticals who make birth control pills and devices? Hopefully not true…)


    So okay, the Philippines is not over-populated AND over-population does not cause poverty. But what about on the family and personal level?

    No one can argue that feeding more mouths requires more money. But will it make us poor? We have all heard of stories of immigrants from China escaping the poverty and oppression there. They came in dirt-poor, ate “lugaw”, had 10 children, worked hard, became millionaires, and now control our economy! Many successful Filipinos share the same life story, coming from very large families, and struggling and sacrificing all the way to the top. Yet we also know many families with only one or two children but remain very poor all their lives.

    Children do not make us poor. Poverty is caused by many more crucial factors like lack of education, lack of opportunities, lack of drive, lack of discipline, lack of inheritance, even lack of luck. But one thing is sure, lack of children will not make us rich.


    But what if we just want to give more quality time and better education to fewer children? Now THERE is a very good and very noble intention! The healthiest and the BEST way to do this is to abstain during fertile days.

    Abstention (self-denial) is self-discipline and builds our character. It is the same discipline we use to abstain from stealing government money; to abstain from cheating at school and at taxes; to abstain from extra-marital affairs; to abstain from skipping classes and cutting work hours; to abstain from bribing policemen; and to abstain from selling our votes.

    And this abstention we practice is exactly the same abstention we are teaching our children: to abstain from eating too much candy, to abstain from over-spending, to abstain from pre-marital sex, and to abstain from drugs… to be children of strong character and will-power, not weaklings and spoiled brats.

    Artificial birth control on the other hand, offers us the “choice” of indulging in pleasure without responsibility; the same easy “choice” of accepting bribe money instead of hard work and sacrifice; the same easy “choice” to cheat during exams rather than study diligently; the same easy “choice” for instant gratification over self-denial and patience; the same easy “choice” to behave like dogs and monkeys, urinating and copulating, anytime and anywhere the urge strikes them, rather than conduct ourselves as the noble descendants of Lapu-lapu, Gabriela Silang, and the Katipuneros.

    Let us re-learn the values of abstention, self-denial and discipline. Such virtues will harden us, strengthen our character, enrich our families, make our country great again, and get us to heaven some day.

  3. Carla
    March 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Friends, the real problem is NOT OVER POPULATION…I repeat, the real problem is NOT OVER POPULATION… Our beloved country is so big and wide for all of us Filipinos if only CORRUPT officials will surrender and share their money, resources to those who are in need.
    We are not a poor country, i have gone to Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and i realize that our country is really very rich. But the REAL PROBLEM IS AGAIN NOT OVER POPULATION BUT CORRUPTION. CORRUPTION, DID YOU UNDRSTAND? Don’t sell your soul to the devil for the money you have right now will bring you to hell. Check your motivation why you want to implement the RH bill..do you really love our country men? or you love the MONEY that you will get from that RH Bill. I’m sorry if i hurt you guys…but the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE. Don’t be deceived by the strap of satan. He is very wise and wiser that you. Don’t allow him to destroy you forever. You can still change. God loves you.

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