More Power, Congresswoman Janette Garin of Iloilo
I admire Congresswoman Garin for having the courage to openly defend the Reproductive Health Bill which has long been pending in Congress. (As early as 1992, a bill on reproductive health was already filed, but none has succeeded). This is in spite of the threats from the Church, not to give communion to the proponents of this bill, whom they regard as anti-life, abortionists, etc. (a pastoral letter was issued by the Bishop of Ozamis City on this); or to campaign against the candidacies of these solons in 2010 (Bishop Yniguez).
There is a strong Church lobby to prevent passage of the Reproductive Health Bill. In fact, this was the only issue the bishops raised in their meeting with PGMA after the Second Rural Congress. They did not raise the EVAT issue even if media earlier reported that the bishops were joining the call for its lifting. And it was because of this issue that PGMA and her economic advisers decided to hold a dialogue with them.
I watched Congresswoman Garin in Strictly Politics hosted by Pia Hontiveros-Pagkalinawan at ANC last night as she explained the bill. Garin is a physician by profession so she can very well speak from her experiences, where she has seen up close women at risk because of early pregnancies (age 13, 14, 15), or too frequent pregnancies without any birth spacing. She clarified that the bill is not advocating the practice of abortion (but the Church keeps on insisting that it is!). She said that the bill is centered on educating the public on reproductive health and for allowing couples to choose between natural and artificial family planning methods.
Our own congresswoman Liwayway Vinzons-Chato was also a guest but she was on the opposite side. She was against the bill, because first she believes it identifies the wrong problem. She says it is not rising population which is the cause of poverty in the country. In fact, we still lack doctors, skilled carpenters, etc., according to Chato. The problem is corruption - taxes are not properly utilized to address the problems of the poor. In the case of the population issue, it is education, and not reproductive health that would address the problem, Chato further said.
I also agree that education would address the population problem, but this is a long term solution. First, we have to provide access to education to the poor. But this is precisely the problem in the short run. Because of rapid population increase, the government can not catch up with the need for more classrooms, textbooks, teachers, etc. Even if elementary and secondary education are free, there are still out-of-pocket expenses that parents incur. But due to rising poverty , a sad reality that can be observed is the rising number of out-of-school youth and child laborers. (Our NGO has added Alternative Learning System as one of the components of our program to address this issue). So, what do Congresswoman Chato and the Church propose to do in the short-run?
I think I also heard Chato or the other woman guest say that sex is for procreation not for pleasure. (Pano yan classmates, mayo na garong pwedeng mag-aki sa mga babae, pero lalaki pwede pa, si Dolphy ngani!) Congressman Joey Salceda of Albay said that there are yet no rallies demanding to put a stop to sex, because it (sex) is pleasurably sinful!
By the way, the Reproductive Health Bill's principal author is a Bicolano, Rep Edcel Lagman of Albay. I'm sure he's not also pro-abortion.
I have limited knowledge of Congresswoman Garin but I've watched her on TV actively pushing for another bill, the Cheaper Medicines Act. It was also reported that although she was supposed to be part of PGMA's junket to the USA, she did not push through with the trip, choosing to stay with her constituents who suffered from the wrath of Typhoon Frank.
Saludo kay Congresswoman. I hope this makes you feel good. There are Catholics who are supportive of your stand!
NO. HB 00017
FULL TITLE : AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
SHORT TITLE : "Reproductive Health,Responsible Parenthood and Population Development Act of 2007"
ABSTRACT : "Reproductive Health,Responsible Parenthood and Population Development Act of 2007". The measure seeks to provide the enabling environment for couples and individuals to enjoy the right to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice.
BY CONGRESSMAN/WOMAN LAGMAN, EDCEL C.
DATE FILED ON 2007-07-02
SILVERIO, LORNA C.(008 1RS)
ABANTE, BIENVENIDO JR. M.(016 1RS)
PRIETO-TEODORO, MONICA LOUISE(020 1RS)
DIASNES, CARLO OLIVER D.(023 1RS)
ESCUDERO, SALVADOR III H.(029 1RS)
TALINO-MENDOZA, EMMYLOU J.(029 1RS)
DY, FAUSTINO III G.(029 1RS)
DOMOGAN, MAURICIO G.(029 1RS)
MAGSAYSAY, MA. MILAGROS H.(029 1RS)
GONZALEZ, RAUL JR. T.(029 1RS)
ANGARA, JUAN EDGARDO M.(029 1RS)
UY, REYNALDO S.(029 1RS)
DE GUZMAN, DEL R.(029 1RS)
CHUNGALAO, SOLOMON R.(029 1RS)
PADILLA, CARLOS M.(029 1RS)
ALFELOR, FELIX JR. R.(029 1RS)
BULUT, ELIAS JR. C.(029 1RS)
DEFENSOR, MATIAS JR. V.(029 1RS)
DIAZ, ANTONIO M.(029 1RS)
LACSON, JOSE CARLOS V.(029 1RS)
SOLIS, JOSE G.(029 1RS)
VILLAROSA, AMELITA C.(029 1RS)
MANGUDADATU, DATU PAX S.(029 1RS)
DANGWA, SAMUEL M.(029 1RS)
SOON-RUIZ, NERISSA CORAZON(029 1RS)
SUAREZ, DANILO E.(029 1RS)
VILLAFUERTE, LUIS R.(029 1RS)
BAUTISTA, FRANKLIN P.(029 1RS)
BINAY, MAR-LEN ABIGAIL S.(029 1RS)
CHAVEZ, LEONILA V.(029 1RS)
DATUMANONG, SIMEON A.(029 1RS)
ECLEO, GLENDA B.(029 1RS)
ENVERGA, WILFRIDO MARK M.(029 1RS)
GARAY, FLORENCIO C.(029 1RS)
GARIN, JANETTE L.(029 1RS)
HATAMAN, MUJIV S.(029 1RS)
HONTIVEROS-BARAQUEL, ANA THERESIA "RISA"(029 1RS)
MAMBA, MANUEL N.(029 1RS)
PINOL, BERNARDO JR. F.(029 1RS)
VARGAS, FLORENCIO L.(029 1RS)
ZUBIRI, JOSE MA. III F.(029 1RS)
AQUINO, JOSE II S.(029 1RS)
BARZAGA, ELPIDIO JR. F.(029 1RS)
JOSON, EDUARDO NONATO N.(038 1RS)
DUAVIT, MICHAEL JOHN R.(052 1RS)
PICHAY, PHILIP A.(052 1RS)
UY, EDWIN C.(052 1RS)
UMALI, CZARINA D.(071 1RS)
REFERRAL ON 2007-07-24 TO THE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH
SECONDARILY REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE(S) ON POPULATION AND FAMILY RELATIONS
SUBJECT:POPULATION;HEALTH CARE SERVICES
DATE READ: 2007-07-24