based on serious evidence, the RH Bill is pro-poor and authentically pro-life & pro-family – UP Economics Professors
Population, poverty, politics and RH bill
The population issue has long been dead and buried in developed and most developing countries, including historically Catholic countries.
That it continues to be debated heatedly in our country merely testifies to the lack of progress in policy and action. The Catholic Church hierarchy has maintained its traditional stance against modern family planning (FP) methods, particularly modern (also referred to as “artificial”) contraceptives.
On the other hand, the State acknowledges the difficulties posed for development by rapid population growth, especially among the poorest Filipinos. But it has been immobilized from effectively addressing the issue by the Catholic hierarchy’s hard-line position, as well as the tendency of some politicians to cater to the demands of well-organized and impassioned single-issue groups for the sake of expediency.
Caught between a hard Church and a soft State are the overwhelming majority of Filipinos who affirm the importance of helping women and couples control the size of their families and the responsibility of the government to provide budgetary support for modern FP services.
Renewed impetus to the debate has been given by the public and political interest in the decade-and-a-half old bill on “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development” (RH bill, for short). Unfortunately, serious discussion has been hampered by the lack of reliable information and the proclivity of some parties in the debate to use epithets that label the bill as “proabortion,” “antilife” and “immoral.”
There were a few aspects of the bill to which some groups have expressed objections, which the latest version has already addressed. In any case, the main thrust of the bill—“enabl(ing) couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information and means to carry out their decisions”—is something we strongly and unequivocally support. In what follows, we explain why.
The experience from across Asia indicates that population policy cum government-funded FP program has been a critical complement to sound economic policy and poverty reduction. Moreover, the weaker the state’s ability to tax and mobilize resources (including spending on the right priorities) is, the greater the negative impact on economic development of a rapidly growing population, which in every developing country is largely accounted for by the least educated and poorest segments of the population.
Owing to the lack of a clear population policy (RH/FP programs) besides just modest economic growth since the 1970s, our country sadly has fallen well behind its original Asean neighbors (Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia) in terms of both demographic and economic indicators. (See Table 1.)
Sadder still is the prospect that unless the RH (or responsible parenthood) bill is passed in Congress and swiftly implemented, our country will likely be overtaken even by its latecomer Asean neighbors (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar) in a few years time.
At the micro level, large family size is closely associated with poverty incidence, as consistently borne out by household survey data over time. In short, poor families are heavily burdened when they end up with more children than they want.
Official data from the Family Income and Expenditures Survey (FIES) since 1985 have unambiguously shown that poverty incidence is lower for families with fewer children but rises consistently with the number of children. (See Table 2.) Among families with one child only 2.9 percent are poor compared with households having nine or more children where 46.4 percent are destitute (FIES 2009).
Moreover, larger families make smaller investment in human capital per child—investment that is crucial to breaking the vicious chain of intergenerational poverty. Average annual spending on education per student falls from P8,212 for a one-child family to P2,474 for a family with nine or more children, and average health spending per capita drops correspondingly from P3,389 to P582 (FIES 2006 and Labor Force Survey 2007).
these numbers are impressive – a high 71% of all catholics and a high of 68% of non-catholics are “in favor” of the rh bill. these people see that there is a need for the rh bill. congressmen who will vote for the rh bill in congress will be seen by the electorate as not only listening to the people but also providing for the needs of the people.
there is no ambivalence or doubt in the minds of the people – based on their own experience, they know how the rh bill can help them in their daily lives. unplanned pregnancy to them will disrupt their plans and ambitions for themselves and most specially for their family. they know that it is hard enough for them to get by with their meager income, having an unplanned pregnancy will make it even more difficult if not impossible.
these are catholics and they do know what the stand of the catholic church is on the rh bill. the 71% who agree with the rh bill are doing so with full knowledge that they are going against the wishes of the church. they see more urgency for the rh bill than what their priests are telling them.
voting for the rh bill in congress will earn the congressmen favor and in fact will get them elected in the upcoming elections.
president noynoy aquino’s miscommunication on the rh billl during SONA 2012 – is he anti-children? #rhbill
yes, president aquino in his 2012 SONA did mention the rh bill but phrased it as “responsible parenthood” (read more om this one from here: http://wp.me/pnw03-1Bm)
this was what aquino said in his SONA:
Matibay po ang pananalig natin kay Secretary Luistro: Bago matapos ang susunod na taon, ubos na ang minana nating 66,800 na kakulangan sa silid-aralan. [Applause] Ulitin ko po, next year pa po ‘yan; 40,000 pa lang this year. Ang minana po nating 2,573,212 na backlog sa upuan, tuluyan na rin nating matutugunan bago matapos ang 2012. [Applause] Sa taon din pong ito, masisimot na rin ang 61.7 million na backlog sa textbook upang maabot na, sa wakas, ang one is to one ratio ng aklat sa mag-aaral. [Applause]
Sana nga po, ngayong paubos na ang backlog sa edukasyon, sikapin nating huwag uling magka-backlog dahil sa dami ng estudyante. Sa tingin ko po, Responsible Parenthood ang sagot dito. [Applause]
I have great faith in Secretary Luistro: Before the next year ends, we will have built the 66,800 classrooms needed to fill up the shortage we inherited. The 2,573,212 backlog in chairs that we were bequeathed will be addressed before 2012 ends. This year, too, will see the eradication of the backlog of 61.7 million textbooks—and we will finally achieve the one-to-one ratio of books to students.
We are ending the backlogs in the education sector, but the potential for shortages remains as our student population continues to increase. Perhaps Responsible Parenthood can help address this.
aquino mentioned in his SONA within the context of the potential risk of an increasing number of the student population overwhelming or negating the education department’s efforts at filling up the backlog needs of students. the education sector has been plagued for decades of a lack of schools, classrooms, chairs and even books. aquino in this SONA said the education secretary is now on an aggressive move to erase the backlog. aquino was warning that population growth, the number of new entrants or children into the education system need to be kept at a lower growth rate, otherwise the education agency will not be able to erase the backlog.
this is population control. and one can argue it is being anti-children.
population control is not necessarily a bad thing. reducing birth rates is population control. families deciding to have less number of children or the married couple agreeing to a specific number of children is population control on a family level. we all do it, why shouldn’t the state encourage it?
population control becomes bad when the state dictates on its citizens to a certain number of children couples will have , or when citizens are forced into it like the way china does it which has a 1 child policy per family.
the rh bill has no such provision. number of children a couple will have is left to the couple’s discretion. the state in the rhbill will simply provide couples the means and information on how the couple can achieve their desired family size.
but there is the risk of interpreting aquino’s statement on the rh bill within the context he said it as being “anti-children”, that aquino does not want couples to have too many children that will have the effect of overwhelming the state’s efforts on the zero backlog on education.
the rh bill is not anti-children. in fact the rh bill is from the perspective of the parents, the married couple not children. the rh bill empowers the woman, the couple and the family into giving them the tools, education and service to enable them to successfully meet their desired number of children and age spacing of their children.
rh bill advocates knew what aquino meant. to a large extent the anti rh bill groups also knew what the president meant. they know it so well that they have reacted badly to the mention of the rh bill in the SONA. in fact CBCP has already launched an attack on aquino one day after the SONA.
malacanang apparently also knew what aquino said, actually what aquino failed to say and that is the reason why they felt compelled to clarify what aquino said during the SONA.
PNoy backing same RH Bill in CongressBy Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN NewsPosted at 07/24/2012 4:07 PM | Updated as of 07/24/2012 10:48 PMMANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said President Aquino was referring to the same consolidated bill on reproductive health (RH) now pending in Congress when he made a pitch for the passage of the responsible parenthood bill in his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the draft bill submitted by the Palace has been consolidated with the version being pushed by advocates of reproductive health in Congress.
It has the title “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development, and for other purposes.”
The Palace, however, prefers to use the shorthand “Responsible Parenthood bill” in referring to it.
The measure was included in the list of the administration’s priority bills during the meeting of the LEDAC.
“Ang punto po ‘non, ang dulo po ‘non, na-consolidate na po ‘yung anim na pending (bills) in Congress sponsored by Representatives (Edcel) Lagman, (Janette) Garin, (Arlene) Bag-Ao, (Walden) Bello, (Rodolfo) Biazon, (Augusto) Syjuco, (Luz) Ilagan, and (Emmi) De Jesus… into House Bill 4244. Ang title po nito, ‘An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development, and for other purposes.’ So ‘yun na po ‘yon. It has been consolidated with the pending bills,” Valte said.
“The bill submitted by the Palace took into consideration the dialogues that our officials had with members of the Church and also with members of pro-RH advocacy groups. So ‘yun na po ‘yung dulo niya. It’s House Bill 4244.” She added.
The Palace reiterated the President’s position on responsible parenthood. Valte said:
“First, the President is against abortion. This is a reiteration of the President’s position that he has, time and again, enunciated even from the campaign when he was running for president.
“Second, the President is in favor of giving couples the right to choose how best to manage their families so that in the end their welfare and that of their children are best served…
“Thirdly, the President is of the position that the state must respect each individual’s right to follow his or his conscience and religious convictions on matters and issues pertaining to the unity of the family and the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death.
“Fourth, in a situation where couples especially the poor and the disadvantaged ones are in no position to make an informed judgment, the state has the responsibility to so provide.
“And, lastly, in the range of options and information provided to couples, natural family planning and modern methods shall be presented as equally available.”
Asked if the President’s mention of the bill serves an endorsement for its passage, Valte said, “The members of Congress are free certainly to have their own interpretation of what was said by the President. But the President did mention Responsible Parenthood and that refers to the version that the Palace submitted during the LEDAC and to the one that was consolidated.”
Valte said there are no discussions yet if the Palace wants to certify the bill as “urgent.”
this incident demonstrates the importance of good communication and specificity specially on speeches of national importance by the president of the country.
we think PDI’s article on aquino’s 2012 SONA is an excellent report on it.
Aquino: Nothing is impossible
SONA is President’s narration of changes
The Philippines has achieved change, and the Filipinos themselves have made it happen.
President Benigno Aquino faced a joint session of Congress Monday to deliver his third State of the Nation Address (Sona). He did not claim credit for the improvements in national life in the past year. All credit he gave to the Filipinos. He thanked them for the achievements.
He said that in the 25 months that he has been President, he learned that “nothing is impossible because if the Filipino people see that they are the only Bosses of their government, they will carry, they will guide you, they themselves will lead you to meaningful change.”
“Nothing is impossible to a united nation,” Mr. Aquino said. “It was change we dreamed of, and change we achieved.”
Toward the end of his one-hour-and-a-half-long speech, he said: “Isn’t it a great time to be Filipino?”
And the benefits of change, he said, are now par for the course: Roads are straight and level, and properly paved; relief goods are ready even before a storm arrives, rescue services are always on standby, and people are no longer left to fend for themselves; sirens only blare from police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks—not from the vehicles of government officials.
“Reforms were established as we cut wasteful spending, held offenders accountable for their actions, and showed the world that the Philippines is now open for business under new management,” the President said.
He reported eight credit rating upgrades, 44 stock market record highs, and a first-quarter 2012 gross domestic product growth rate of 6.4 percent, “much higher than projected, the highest growth in the Southeast Asian region, and second only to China in the whole of Asia.”
On his social, health, education, employment and infrastructure programs, Mr. Aquino reported achievements and announced progress on plans:
• The conditional cash transfer program for the poorest poor has been extended to 3.1 million households as of February from 760,357 when he took office in June 2010.
For next year, the program will cover 3.8 million households, five times bigger than the program he inherited from the Arroyo administration.
Under the program, the beneficiaries get P1,400 a month on the condition that pregnant women get regular prenatal checkups, mothers bring their children to clinics for immunization and parents keep their children
TO MY BOSSES: “This is not my SONA. This is the SONA of the Filipino nation. You are the wellspring of change. It’s possible. It is a great time to be Filipino.”
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the President said, 1,672,977 mothers are now getting regular checkups; 1,672, 814 children have been vaccinated against diarrhea, polio, measles and other diseases; and 4.57 million children no longer miss classes because of poverty.
• Eighty-five percent of all Filipinos have been enrolled in PhilHealth, compared to 62 percent in 2010. This means 23.31 percent more Filipinos have gained access to health insurance in the past two years.
Better news: 5.2 million poorest households will benefit from PhilHealth programs, including treatment for such diseases as breast cancer, prostate cancer and acute leukemia.
“The process,” Mr. Aquino said, “is this: Go to any government hospital, show your PhilHealth card, get treatment, and you will go home without shelling out a single centavo.”
• By year-end, the government will have built the 66,800 classrooms needed to solve the classroom shortage in public schools, acquired the 2,573,212 chairs needed to solve the furniture shortage, and done away with the 61.7-million-book shortage to achieve the 1:1 textbook-to-student ratio.
“We are ending the backlogs in the education sector, but the potential for shortages remains as our student population continues to increase,” Mr. Aquino said. Then he suggested a solution: “Perhaps the responsible parenthood bill can help address this.”
That drew the loudest of the 100 bursts of applause that interrupted Mr. Aquino’s speech.
• A proposed 43.61-percent increase in the budget of state universities and colleges next year.
• A steady decline in the unemployment rate from 8 percent in 2010 to 7.2 percent in 2011 to 6.9 percent this year.
• The completion by 2016 of airports in Panglao, Bohol; Daraga, Albay; Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental; and the upgrading of the international airports in Mactan, Cebu; Tacloban, Leyte; and Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
• Full repair of the flaws of Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport before the next Sona in July next year.
• Completion by 2015 of the extension of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 to Cavite, which would ease traffic in Las Piñas, Parañaque and Cavite, and the addition of two elevated expressways that will connect the North Luzon and South Luzon expressways, and reduce travel time between Clark in Pampanga and Calamba in Laguna to 1 hour and 40 minutes.
• Drawing 2.1 million tourists in the past two years, compared to 1.3 million during the nine years of the Arroyo administration. The goal for this year: 4.6 million tourists.
• Reduction of rice imports from 1.3 million metric tons in 2010 to 500,000 metric tons this year. Weather permitting, the Philippines may start exporting rice next year.
Turning to national defense, the President said the government allocated P28 billion for the modernization of the military. “This will soon match the P33 billion set aside for the program in the past 15 years,” Mr. Aquino said.
Benigno S. Aquino III
Third State of the Nation Address
July 23, 2012
State of the Nation Address
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
To the Congress of the Philippines
[Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City, on July 23, 2012]
Maraming salamat po. Maupo po tayong lahat
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte; Bise Presidente Jejomar Binay; mga dating Pangulong Fidel Valdez Ramos at Joseph Ejercito Estrada; ang ating mga kagalang-galang na mahistrado ng Korte Suprema; mga kagalang-galang na kagawad ng kalipunang diplomatiko; mga kagalang-galang na miyembro ng Kamara de Representante at ng Senado; mga pinuno ng pamahalaang lokal; mga miyembro ng ating Gabinete; mga unipormadong kasapi ng militar at kapulisan; mga kapwa kong nagseserbisyo sa taumbayan; at siyempre sa akin pong mga boss, magandang hapon po.
Ito po ang aking ikatlong SONA, at parang kailan lang nang nagsimula tayong mangarap. Parang kailan lang nang sabay-sabay tayong nagpasyang tahakin ang tuwid na daan. Parang kailan lang nang sinimulan nating iwaksi ang wang-wang, hindi lamang sa kalsada kundi sa sistemang panlipunan.
Dalawang taon na ang nakalipas mula nang sinabi ninyo, “Sawa na kami sa korupsyon; sawa na kami sa kahirapan.” Oras na upang ibalik ang isang pamahalaang tunay na kakampi ng taumbayan.
Gaya ng marami sa inyo, namulat ako sa panggigipit ng makapangyarihan. Labindalawang-taong gulang po ako nang idineklara ang Batas Militar. Bumaliktad ang aming mundo: Pitong taon at pitong buwang ipiniit ang aking ama; tatlong taong napilitang mangibang-bansa ang aking pamilya; naging saksi ako sa pagdurusa ng marami dahil sa diktadurya. Dito napanday ang aking prinsipyo: Kung may inaagrabyado’t ninanakawan ng karapatan, siya ang kakampihan ko. Kung may abusadong mapang-api, siya ang lalabanan ko. Kung may makita akong mali sa sistema, tungkulin kong itama ito. [Applause]
Matagal nang tapos ang Batas Militar. Tinanong tayo noon: “Kung hindi tayo, sino pa?” at “Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?” Ang nagkakaisang tugon natin: tayo at ngayon na. Ang demokrasyang ninakaw gamit ang paniniil at karahasan, nabawi natin sa mapayapang paraan; matagumpay nating pinag-alab ang liwanag mula sa pinakamadilim na kabanata ng ating kasaysayan.
Ngunit huwag po nating kalimutan ang pinag-ugatan ng Batas Militar: Kinasangkapan ng diktador ang Saligang Batas upang manatili sa kapangyarihan. At hanggang ngayon, tuloy pa rin ang banggaan sa pagitan ng gusto ng sistemang parehas, laban sa mga nagnanais magpatuloy ng panlalamang.
Mula sa unang araw ng ating panunungkulan, walang ibang sumalubong sa atin kundi ang mga bangungot ng nawalang dekada.
Nariyan po ang kaso ng North Rail. Pagkamahal-mahal na nga nito, matapos ulitin ang negosasyon, nagmahal pa lalo. Sa kabila nito, binawasan ang benepisyo. Ang labingsiyam na trainsets naging tatlo, at sa mga estasyon, mula lima, naging dalawa. Ang masaklap po, pinapabayaran na sa atin ang utang nito, now na.
Nariyan ang walang pakundangang bonus sa ilang GOCC, sa kabila ng pagkalugi ng kanilang mga ahensya. Nariyan ang isang bilyong pisong pinasingaw ng PAGCOR para sa kape. Nariyan ang sistemang pamamahala sa PNP na isinantabi ang pangangailangan sa armas ng 45 porsiyento ng kapulisan, para lang kumita mula sa lumang helicopter na binili sa presyong brand new.
Wala na ngang iniwang panggastos, patung-patong at sabay-sabay pa ang mga utang na kailangang bayaran na. Mahaba ang iniwang listahan na tungkulin nating punuan: Ang 66,800 na backlog sa classrooms, na nagkakahalaga ng tinatayang 53.44 billion pesos; ang 2,573,212 na backlog sa mga upuan, na nagkakahalaga naman ng 2.31 billion pesos. Nang dumating tayo, may halos tatlumpu’t anim na milyong Pilipinong hindi pa miyembro ng PhilHealth. Ang kailangan para makasali sila: maaaring umabot sa 42 billion pesos. Idagdag pa po natin sa lahat ng iyan ang 103 billion pesos na kailangan para sa modernisasyon ng Hukbong Sandatahan. Sa harap ng lahat ng ito, ang iniwan sa ating pondo na malaya nating magagamit: 6.5 percent ng kabuuang budget para sa natitirang anim na buwan ng 2010. Para po tayong boksingerong isinabak sa laban nang nakagapos na nga ang mga kamay at paa, nakapiring pa ang mga mata, at kakampi pa ng kalaban ang referee at ang mga judge.
Kaya nga sa unang tatlong buwan ng aming panunungkulan, inaabangan namin ang pagdating ng Linggo para maidulog sa Panginoon ang mga bangungot na humaharap sa amin. Inasahan naming mangangailangan ng ‘di bababa sa dalawang taon bago magkaroon ng makabuluhang pagbabago. Bibigyan kaya tayo ng sapat na pag-unawa ng taumbayan?
president noynoy aquino pushes for the RH Bill in his SONA 2012, gives momentum for passage into law
president aquino in his 2012 SONA mentioned the rh bill when he said “responsible parenthood” is key to keeping the numbers of school children at a manageable level.
“responsible parenthood” is the politically correct term for the rh bill. it is a term acceptable to the opponents of the rh bill the biggest of which is the philippine catholic church. when aquino mentioned this in his speech, he had to pause for a few seconds to give way to an ever increasing applause and shouts in support of the rh bill. this portion of the president’s speech has been the most applauded in his speech amd the only topic that got a standing ovation from the crowd. aquino flashed a smile and needed to stop for a few seconds to wait for the applause and cheering to die down.
Matibay po ang pananalig natin kay Secretary Luistro: Bago matapos ang susunod na taon, ubos na ang minana nating 66,800 na kakulangan sa silid-aralan. [Applause] Ulitin ko po, next year pa po ‘yan; 40,000 pa lang this year. Ang minana po nating 2,573,212 na backlog sa upuan, tuluyan na rin nating matutugunan bago matapos ang 2012. [Applause] Sa taon din pong ito, masisimot na rin ang 61.7 million na backlog sa textbook upang maabot na, sa wakas, ang one is to one ratio ng aklat sa mag-aaral. [Applause] Sana nga po, ngayong paubos na ang backlog sa edukasyon, sikapin nating huwag uling magka-backlog dahil sa dami ng estudyante. Sa tingin ko po, Responsible Parenthood ang sagot dito. [Applause]
the context by which “responsible parenthood” was mentioned was on the need to reduce the growth of number of children or new students to a level that will not overwhelm or negate education’s efforts to address the backlog in providing for the education needs of children.
malacanang also refers to the rh bill as “responsible parenthood”. aquino conducted dialogue with the catholic church and right around that time, the place phrased the rhbill as “responsible parenthood”.
the bill pending in the house has this title: HB4244: Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population & Development.
this is a good signal to the lower house and the senate in which the rh bill has been pending for many years. this is a very a good sign for the rh bill. aquino’s mention of it in his SONA 2012 will give it momentum in congress and the senate to take a vote and pass the rh bill.
Aquino draws cheer for mentioning possible passage of RH bill
MANILA, Philippines — Supporters of the Reproductive Health Bill at the House and Senate gave President Benigno Aquino III a brief standing ovation when he mentioned in passing the pending health measure.
“Sisikapin nating huwag uling magka-backlog dahil sa dami ng estudyante. Sa tingin ko po, Responsible Parenthood ang sagot dito,” Aquino said transitioning from health issues to education programs in the pipeline particularly the matter on the backlog in chairs and books for students.