Friday, August 10, 2012

RH Bill...from an Economist's Viewpoint

Posting here an article written by Bernardo Villegas, country's premiere economist, Presidential adviser to various Philippine Presidents and member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission under President Corazon Aquino.

By Bernardo Villegas, PhD Economics
August 2, 2012

[The RH Bill] is based on the assumption of the desirability of birth or population control per se.

[It] pure economic nonsense when all the kudos and praises being heaped on the Philippine economy by international organizations – both governmental and private – are citing the advantages of a growing and young population.

A recent report from Bloomberg (one of the leading business news agencies) was just headlined “Philippines Leads in Demographic Dividend of Supply of Young Workers.”

The very bullish article about the Philippines – just echoing many others that have come out since the beginning of the current year – pointed out that the so-called demographic dividend from a rising supply of young workers is one reason Japan’s second-largest shipbuilder [has come to] the Philippines, where workers are on average half the age of its Japanese employees.

Chua Hak Bin, a Singaporean economist at Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch division agrees: “The Philippines is a ‘standout’ among countries set to benefit from a bigger labor pool, with its rate of economic expansion likely to rise as much as 1.5 percentage points higher during the next decade.”

 Passing the RH Bill would be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Already China and Thailand – still with relatively large populations – are suffering from labor shortages because of the rapid aging of their populations over the last decade or so.

Such a negative demographic trend can be traced to very aggressive birth control programs that were based on artificial contraceptives and, in the case of China, on coercion and abortion.

China and Thailand may be the first countries in the history of humanity to grow old before becoming rich.

They clearly illustrate the folly of a population management program that always leads to the unintended effect of cutting fertility rates to abnormally low levels which have very [drastic] effects on the national economy.

The Philippines does not need any population management program because its fertility rate is already rapidly falling.

 Within a generation, the fertility rate of the Philippines will be at the below-replacement level of 2.1 babies per fertile woman.

Today, thanks to a large population, the Philippines is one of the few countries whose GDP still growing at 6 percent or more since its businesses can sell to a lucrative domestic market even as exports suffer a dramatic slowdown.

 In contrast, territories with small populations like Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong will suffer from very slow or no economic growth this year because of their heavy dependence on exports.

If Congress passes the RH Bill, they will plant the seed of a contraceptive mentality among married couples, as has happened in all the Northeast Asian countries who are now suffering from a severe “demographic winter.”

We must find some ways of eradicating poverty [like] improving our educational system and reducing maternal and child mortality [instead of] nurturing a very counterproductive contraceptive culture in Philippine society.

 Besides economic science, there are other sciences that can demonstrate that the RH Bill, if passed, will do more harm than good.

Certain types of contraceptive pills (not all) can kill babies. Because medical science has demonstrated that human life begins at fertilization, certain pills kill human life because they act on the human embryo after fertilization.

The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology pronounced that the IUD (intrauterine device) brings about the destruction of the early embryo (187: 1699-1708). Furthermore, the International Agency for Research on Cancer reported in 2007 that the contraceptive pill causes cancer, giving it the highest level of carcinogenicity, the same as cigarettes and asbestos.

According to a publication of the American Heart Association (33: 1202--1208), pills also cause stroke, and significantly increase the risk of heart attacks.

 In the social sciences, there are findings that the contraceptive lifestyle destroys the very foundation of society, the family.

According to Nobel Prize winner George Akerlof, who combines the study of economics and psychology, contraceptives tend to degrade marriage and lead to more extramarital sex, more fatherless children, more single mothers, and more psychologically troubled adolescents.

 His findings are purely empirical in nature and have no moral undertones. Also, contrary to the claims of the proponents of the RH Bill, condoms promote the spread of AIDS.

Harvard Director of AIDS Prevention, Edward C. Green, once wrote that according to the best evidence available, condoms give a false sense of security and prompt people to be more reckless in assuming sexual risks, thus worsening the spread of the sexually transmitted diseases.

Thailand, that has the highest incidence of AIDS-HIV in East Asia, could be cited as a testimony to this.

Obviously, the best thing that can happen on August 7 is for the majority of the members of the House of Representatives to vote for discussing the bill further.

As the ongoing global crisis unfolds, there are more and more arguments that can be mustered against the proponents of the RH Bill.

These up-to-date findings deserve to be aired in the floor debates. There is an estimated 80 members of the House of Representatives who have not made up their minds about the pros and cons of the RH Bill. They still need to be enlightened.

If the majority of the House should decide that it is time to put to vote this contentious and controversial bill--that is unnecessarily dividing the country during a crucial moment of our national life--then let everyone who is really thinking of the common good of Philippine society please vote


For comments, my email address is bernardo.villegas@uap.asi

Monday, September 19, 2011

Walang Kinikilingan...Panig sa Katotohanan!

Sometimes I wonder -- is the news media really out there to present to us the truth, or are they only pushing their own agenda (at least the reporters/editors)? Do they really live up to their slogans "Walang Kinikilang, Serbisyong Totoo Lang" for GMA-7 and ABS-CBN 2's "Panig sa Katotohanan, Panig sa Bayan".

Just take for example, this current debate on the RH Bill...I bumped into an article from the CBCP that the World Health Organization (WHO) in its 2011 International Agency Research on Cancer (IARC) report retains oral contraceptives to be Group 1 carcinogen. But the thing is, I did not hear anything about this relevant news in the primetime news, nor in radio programs from these networks..and definitely, no extensive discussions were made about this news, no interviews made, no poll voting. Nothing! As if they'd want this news kept below the radar. I only saw ABS-CBN article about it on the their website..and that is only when I started searching on it over the Net to verify the news after seeing it by chance at the CBCP site. It is sad not much commentary nor discussion about this important news was made, not from any of the tv networks who claim to be presenting to the public what is FAIR and what is the TRUTH.

If these tv networks really present the complete TRUTH, then they should be mentioning this during discussions about this bill. This RH Bill issue is so hot so as to set aside this important information. And these same media outfit or personalities are the ones shouting their lungs off that we need to have an INFORMED CHOICE. So how come this news is treated with hush-hush? The only thing that we hear from our local media is their subtle, if not obvious, ridicule of the Catholic Church's stand on this issue, their quick judgement of people who are against this bill...Sana nga WALANG KINIKILINGAN, PANIG SA KATOTOHAN ang ating media.

If you want to read the articles on WHO's IARC study on oral contraceptives and its classification as Group 1 carcinogen, please do check out these links:

o From the CBCP news: WHO Agency 2011 Report Retains Pills as Carcinogens

o From the Times Herald in PA

o Complete Report from WHO's Intl. Agency for Research on Cancer Vol. 91, 2007

o From GreenFacts: Excerpts from the WHO Report

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lea Salonga and RH Bill 4244

I just heard Ms. Lea Salonga in the news saying that she supports the RH Bill 4244. I heard her saying something to the effect of leaving the size of the family to the couple's decision.

You see, my husband and I are fans of Ms. Lea...We bought her CDs, went to her concerts, watched her stage plays...We love her...we believe in her talent...and we still do and will continue to do so.

On the RH Bill -- I may differ from where she stands...but I think we are the same on "leaving the size of the family to the couple's decision"...However, COUPLE's DECISION -- this is precisely what this RH bill is destroying. Check out RH Bill 4244's Section 28 - Prohibited Acts, Item a.2 "The following acts are prohibited...Any healthcare service provider, whether public or private, refuse to perform legal and medically safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the lack of third party consent or authorization. In the case of married persons, the mutual consent of the spouses will be preferred. However, in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail...."

Now, is there any consideration there to "COUPLE's DECISION"? This is only an INDIVIDUAL's decision. How would you feel if your spouse went straight ahead and had a ligation or vasectomy without you knowing about it? What about the essence of marriage which is suppose to be a PARTNERSHIP of two individuals to raise a family? If one partner can go right ahead and do whatever he/she likes with regard to his/her ability to procreate, where is the COUPLE's DECISION there? And note that procedures like ligation and vasectomy are IRREVERSIBLE...This bill is undermining the relationship of husbands and wives...

And this is just one of those "fine prints" that is in this RH Bill that really needs to be further discussed. There are more...the rights of practicing Catholic doctors who wouldn't want to perform such procedures, the rights of practicing Catholic employers who don't want to cover abortifacient contraceptive pills, irreversible procedures like ligation/vasectomy in their medical benefits, the rights of parents to educate their children according to their moral standards, the rights of practicing Catholic taxpayers who wouldn't want their tax monies used for something that is against their beliefs, the right to practice ones religion without fear for being imprisoned and/or fined...

Note that in Section 29 - Penalites, it is said there "Any violation of this Act or commission of the foregoing prohibited acts shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to to six (6) months or a fine of ten thousand pesos(P10,000) to fify thousand pesos (P50,000)or both...." Are we going to prison because of our religious beliefs? What about our BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS to Freedom of Religion?

Akala ko ba PRO-CHOICE those who would want to pass the RH Bill? In reality, this bill is not leaving any choice for those who would want to choose otherwise.

We don't need this bill...Those who would like to use artificial contraceptives are already FREE TO DO SO...Why PENALIZE those who would rather not support artificial contraceptives?

There are a lot of good items in the bill...But there are contentious items there too that needs to be taken out as it violates basic constitutional rights...So please do read the WHOLE bill...from beginning to end...Check this link if you'd want to read more -- CFCFFL Position on RH Bill:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Personal Credo

Just attended a Retreat last week and we were asked to do a Personal Credo. May I share it here...

My Personal Credo

I am a daughter of God in the middle of the world.
The dignity of my being emanates from this truth.

I lovingly fulfill my vocation
as a caring wife to my husband,
as a nurturing mother to my children,
as a dutiful daughter to my parents,
as a loyal faithful of the Church,
as a patriotic citizen of my country,and,
as an effective professional in my chosen career.

I am an ordinary human being
living an ordinary life
who will do my ordinary work and duties
extra-ordinarily well
whether at the home,
at the workplace,
in the communities that I belong - ecclesiastical or juridical.

And in so doing,
I will be doing God's will for me,
I can be alte Christus, ipse Christus to others,
I can show my love and give greater glory
to my God, Father and Lord.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why We Oppose Reproductive Health Bill 5043

We strongly oppose the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill (HB5043) for the following reasons:

1. AS EMPLOYERS, we do not want to be compelled to provide free reproductive health care services, supplies, devices and surgical procedures (including vasectomy and ligation) to our employees, and be subjected to both imprisonment and/or a fine, for every time that we fail to comply. (Section 17 states that employers shall provide for free delivery of reproductive health care services, supplies and devices to all workers more particularly women workers. (Definition of Reproductive Health and Rights Section 4, paragraph g, Section 21, Paragraph c and Section 22 on Penalties)

2. AS HEALTH CARE SERVICE PROVIDERS, we do not want to be subjected to imprisonment and/or a fine, if we fail to provide reproductive health care services such as giving information on family planning methods and providing services like ligation and vasectomy, regardless of the patient's civil status, gender, religion or age ( Section 21 on Prohibited Acts, Letter a, Paragraphs 1 to 5 and Section 22 on Penalties)

3. AS SPOUSES, we do not agree that our husband or wife can undergo a ligation or vasectomy without our consent or knowledge. (Section 21 on Prohibited Acts, Letter a, Paragraph 2)

4. AS PARENTS, we do not agree that children from age 10 to 17 should be taught their sexual rights and the means to have a satisfying and "safe" sex life as part of their school curriculum. (Section 12 on Reproductive Health Education and Section 4 Definition of Family Planning and Productive Health, Paragraph b, c and d)

5. AS CITIZENS, we do not want to be subjected to imprisonment and/or pay a fine, for expressing an opinion against any provision of this law, if such expression of opinion is interpreted as constituting "malicious disinformation" ( Section 21 on Prohibited Acts, Paragraph f and Section 22 on Penalties)

6. We also oppose other provisions such as losing our parental authority over a minor child who was raped and found pregnant (Section 21, a, no.3)

7. We also do not agree to the provision which reclassifies contraceptives as essential medicines (Section 10) and appropriating limited government funds to reproductive services instead of basic services (Section 23)

Thus, we urge you to immediately stop deliberations on the bill and stop wasting taxpayers money.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thank you, Sta. Clara

We have an image of Sta. Clara that was lent to us by a family friend to help us to get pregnant when we were having difficulty then. True enough, through the intercession of St. Clare, we now have two healthy very active kids. Now the owner of the image is already asking back the image to be again lent to another couple wanting to conceive.

Thank you, St. Clare. We are glad to have your image in our home but now you have to go and help another couple. Though your image will be away, you will stay forever in our hearts. St. Clare, pray for us.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth: Reflections Part 1

I just ended Chapter Three of the book "Jesus of Nazareth" by Pope Benedict XVI (Doubleday, 2007). There are a lot of quotations in those three chapters that I love, that impressed me and that made me stop to think and reflect, I'd like to share some of them.

Chapter 1: Baptism
Page 18 "He inaugurated his public activity by stepping into the place of sinners". You have to realize how fast Jesus works -- at the beginning of his public life Jesus has already covered his agenda that is identifying himself with The Father and with the Father's Will, and in so doing, Jesus already started to act on our behalf by having himself baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus doesn't have to (even John the Baptist was surprised by his action) as he is God, but he's doing it only because he is already anticipating the Cross and he'd like to show us that to we have to repent our sins and be renewed in him. "To accept the invitation to be baptized now means we have to go to the place of Jesus' Baptism. It is to go where he identifies himself with us and to receive there our identification with him"(page 18)...Beautiful!

Chapter 2: The Temptations of Jesus
This chapter could be one of my favorites in this book. Pope Benedict XVI one by one digested and analyzed the temptations Jesus faced in the desert. When Jesus was tempted by the devil to turn the stone into bread, Jesus rejected it. Then fast-forwarding to the multiplication of the loaves, the Lord fed the multitudes. What's the difference? Why did he not turn the stone to bread but did a miracle by feeding the multitude? In the multiplication of the loaves, the people sought God first and because of God's concern that they might get hungry, the Lord ensured that they would have something to eat. Whereas, in the temptation scene, it was really more of a challenge to Jesus to prove himself as the Son of God, as God himself. Sometimes we fall into that trap -- asking miracles from God so that he can prove himself to us. Oh, we men of little faith! "Jesus is not indifferent toward men's hunger, their bodily needs, but he places these things in the proper context and the proper order." (page 32).
There is another quotation in this chapter that could be a good reflection piece especially for people who are in authority, page 39, "Without heaven, earthly power is always ambiguous and fragile. Only when power submits to the measure and the judgement of heaven - of God, in other words - can it become power for good. And only when power stands under God's blessing can it be trusted."...Wow! Calling all politicians ;-)

Chapter 3: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God
Pope Benedict XVI talked about the tension between ethics and grace by discussing the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector (page 61-62). You can really see here the difference in their mindset. The Pharisee was focusing on himself and in actuality does not need God, while the tax collector sees himself "in the light of God. He has looked toward God, and in the process his eyes have been opened to see himself." He saw how inadequate he was in front of God. "He needs God, and because he recognizes that, he begins through God's goodness to become good himself"...Lesson of the story? Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else follows...

As I have said in my previous post, this book really is so beautiful to read, to reflect on...I know I am not doing much justice to the book with my reflections here so do get your copy and read the book yourself...I am going to continue though with my personal reflections/favorite quotations on each of the book's chapters so until next time...the book is upto Chapter 10.