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A quick glance at Atienza's anti-RH Bill rhetoric

Lito AtienzaFormer DENR chief Lito Atienza was in the news recently following his declaration of a survey that states that an overwhelming majority of Metro Manila is against the Reproductive Health Bill. A damning statement to say the least, and Atienza, a conservative Catholic by reputation, was quick to back up his assertions with a survey conducted by the HB & A International-ARO Research Group.

At first glance, the survey’s figures are pretty intimidating to any RH Bill supporter. But a closer look at Atienza’s latest ammunition against the Pro-RH crowd may be nothing more than blanks. Very loud blanks.

To enumerate some of the quirks I found in the surveys results at a glance:

1. A sample size of 500 respondents.
Even if the surveyors were to assert that it scouted respondents from sixteen cities, I find it very hard to believe that those respondents truly encapsulate the opinions of Metro Manila’s 20 million or so residents. Sixteen cities – so these respondents speak for the tens of thousands – if not millions – of people in each of their cities now?

2. December 2 to 9.

In short, this survey was taken in just one week. By comparison, most professional studies and surveys take months, if not years, of observation and information gathering before they publish their reports.

3. 10 to 11 year olds target group may be exposed to sex techniques with vivid pictures.

They got me there – I would also be in an uproar too if the school suddenly taught my (theoretical) 10-year-old child the intricacies of sexual activity. Except that the bill is aimed at educating young mothers and teens within the age bracket of 15 to 24. Instead of mentioning this fact, Atienza instead resorts to scare tactics that make us think this bill be aimed at children’s innocent minds.

4. 94 percent

Where exactly did the surveyors get their respondents? Convents? Does anybody else find this figure too biased in favor of Atienza’s assertion? This survey result can only look more suspicious when you consider that in 2008, an SWS survey revealed that 70 percent of their respondents were in support of an RH Bill. So unless these said respondents had a very abrupt paradigm shift, it seems rather implausible that Atienza’s survey could garner such overwhelming support.

That’s just some of the more dubious bits of into I found in Atienza’s assertion, and him intentionally grouping birth control pills and condoms alongside abortifacients.

Furthermore, for Atienza’s camp to resort to survey shows crass hypocrisy on their part. When the SWS published their own survey back in October 2008, the Catholic Church was quick to slam the survey as a mere “numbers game.”

They are right of course – matters as grave as the RH Bill should never be treated as a popularity contest. My question to them is, why are they suddenly letting one of their stauncher supporters get away with the very logical fallacy they denounced not too long ago?

DISCLAIMER: The opinions in this post do not necessarily represent the position of the Filipino Freethinkers.