Archive | May, 2013

Meet a Freethinker: Jaimee Baliton

No two freethinkers are exactly alike; a group of freethinkers contains a great diversity of perspectives, so there is no one, official perspective shared among all of them. This makes the freethought community a truly vibrant source of ideas and opinions!

In this light, Meet a Freethinker is our series featuring freethinkers of all backgrounds and perspectives. We want to introduce you guys to the people who make up the proverbial melting pot of this growing movement.

Our next freethinker is Jaimee Baliton. Jaimee is currently taking an undergraduate degree in Secondary Education, and she hopes to shift to Community Development before this year ends. Aside from being chapter president for FF-UP Diliman, she is also active in a few other organizations on campus.

2013-05-18 18.24.59 11) How would you define a freethinker?

Freethinkers do not have to be academically intelligent, but must have enough command of logic, common sense, and the scientific method to accept, verify, or defend an idea or concept. I believe that anyone can be a freethinker; these tools aren’t so hard to find.

2) What belief system do you subscribe to?

I identify as an agnostic theist. I believe if that there is a higher power, I am not capable of knowing if it exists since that and I are not on parallel dimensions.

3) What was the funniest or most interesting reaction you got from a person after you told him or her that you were a freethinker?

During that time when media hype on the RH Law was high: “Filipino Freethinkers? Yung pro-RH? Kilala mo ba si Kenneth Keng? Ang gwapo niya!”

4) In what way has being part of a freethinking community benefited you?

Before being in a freethinking community, people always agreed to everything I said. Now, I like that everything I think is under scrutiny. It keeps everyone on their toes, it makes everyone more critical and more responsible about what they say, feel and do. And, as I’ve said, freethinkers aren’t necessarily academic all the time. Meeting various people has exposed me to different facets of the world in an engaging manner.

5) How come we haven’t seen you on the online forums?

I know FF started out as an online community, but I’m fine with lurking. I know I’m missing out on a lot but, as I’ve noticed, everything has a bigger tendency to be misunderstood online than upfront. I prefer the value of face-to-face interaction since it’s not just words that communicate to other people.

6) How would you describe the current freethinkerly climate over in UP Diliman?

Over at UP Diliman, people think that they practice freethought because they’re seemingly locked up in academia, but in fact there’s always something that hinders them that they don’t realize because it’s so ingrained. What, with “activists” bashing instead of trying to understand each other, more baccalaureate masses than interfaith ceremonies, religious people taking charge of one UP fair night trying to go all holy using blaring speakers. They’re all caught up in those that when we mention that there’s an FF chapter on campus, they’re surprised. FFUPD is one of the few untainted groups since we never really aligned ourselves to student organizations, but rather to specific causes that FF advocates.

On a good note though, UPD is more-LGBTQIA aware, sensitive and open now, thanks to various offices on campus. I’ve noticed though that there is no established LGBT community on campus yet. One org has promoted awareness, yes, but their community is limited only to themselves. Also, there’s this new LGBT organization, and I worry that having two LGBT organizations will be more divisive than cohesive, especially since these two have started to manifest their political leanings and are siding themselves with clashing political parties.

7) What’s the greatest challenge facing any FF university chapter?

Membership, definitely. In UP Diliman alone, the organization recognition process requires a minimum number of members, and unlike area-based chapters like Main or Metro Manila South who have fairly stable memberships, members eventually have to graduate. Freshmen are also becoming more cautious about joining organizations, and while that isn’t so bad, some common misconceptions (like FF being purely atheist) lessen our chances for more members.

Posted in Meet a Freethinker0 Comments

An Open Letter to MMDA Chair Tolentino Re: the Dan Brown Letter

MR. FRANCIS TOLENTINO

Chairman, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority

MMDA Bldg., EDSA cor. Orense St.

Guadalupe, Makati City

 

Dear Mr. Tolentino,

 

I write to you with much concern regarding your recently circulated letter to Inferno author Dan Brown. Apart from the fact that you spent actual time on taxpayer’s money writing a butthurt missive to a man who can barely string a sentence together, and for a statement that, let’s face it, seems fairly accurate to any human being with their senses intact, there’s another serious problem I would like to address.

You said that “our faith in God binds us as a nation,” among other faith-centric statements meant to convince Mr. Brown that Manila is a celestial gateway despite being a cesspool of literal and figurative filth. As a person who does not believe in any god, and at the same time considers herself very much a part of this nation—I’ve lived here all my life; I pay my taxes; I willingly risk my life traversing EDSA on a daily basis—I find this statement of yours grossly ignorant and very much insulting.

mmdaTo explain this to you further in terms you would understand, imagine that your “faith nation” statement was a pedestrian on Commonwealth Avenue. Before him is a massive expanse of asphalt with a nonstop swarm of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and buses zipping down it. It is obvious that crossing it is a downright dangerous, illogical act. In fact, there are even signs on the road islands explicitly telling pedestrians that crossing this avenue is the last thing you should be doing. Huwag tumawid—nakamamatay.

Your statement is that one, hard-headed pedestrian who decides to cross Commonwealth anyway despite all the evidence urging otherwise. You say that our faith in God binds us as a nation when the truth is that it does not. In fact, not even all of us have faith to begin with. What actually binds us as a nation is a mixture of necessity and common human decency; any other reason—faith included—now depends from one individual to another, and thus cannot be generalized. In fact, I daresay that what binds us as a nation is outright circumstance; we did not choose to be born in the Philippines, but we were, and now we have to do what we can to make the best of what is dealt us—and that includes participating in the workings of this metropolis, however faulty they may be.

I do not subscribe to any faith, but I have not gone on any manic crime spree as far as I know, and basically follow the rule of law in the spirit of common human decency. I know full well that I am not the only one like this, and that countless others who claim to have faith do not actually invoke their bond to their god whenever they do anything good and decent and humane.  The big, busy road that is Commonwealth is the reality of the matter, and at this point, your statement has been flattened like a pancake because of its own ignorance.

Is the metaphor a tad too harsh? I’m afraid I can’t help it, because I feel the need to stress how inherently dangerous such sweeping generalizations of Filipino citizens are. It is these inaccurate statements—that most Filipinos are Catholics or, at the very least, religious—that lead to things like the excruciatingly long (and ongoing!) suppression of proper reproductive health services in the nation; the fact that divorce remains such a contentious issue amidst overwhelming evidence that unhappy marriages birth abuse and misery; the election of idiots into public office; and, uh, the religious blessing of accident-prone parts of EDSA instead of working on proper urban infrastructure, among others. In case you didn’t notice, Mr. Tolentino, nakamamatay itong lahat. 

We hope you consider the content of this letter before you attempt to speak again on behalf of the populace.

 

Sincerely,

Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon

 

P.S.

Really?! You really had to write to Dan Brown? REALLY?

 

Image from: pilipippoy.blogspot.com

Posted in Personal, Secularism, Society24 Comments

Filipino Freethinkers Meetup, Sunday, May 26, Adam’s Ice Cream Parlor, 230-530 PM

970747_10151913917625830_1127662998_nLocation: Adam’s Seriously Good Ice Cream Parlor, Makati Bel-Air Condominium, 7th floor unit 7a, 5022 P. Burgos corner Kalayaan
Date: Sunday, May 26, 2013
Time: 2:30pm – 5:30pm

RSVP on Facebook

Google Maps

Topics:
– Post-election discussions
– 2016 predictions
– Who’s to blame for Binay?
– Gratuitous nudity in Star Trek
– Grindr and Other Horny Social Networks

After the meetup we usually go for dinner and drinks somewhere nearby. If you’re not a meetup regular and can’t make it for the meetup but would like to go for the post meetup, please indicate on a post in the wall or comment so we can contact you.

Got questions about the meetup? Contact us at 0927 323 3532

* Newbies are welcome.
* Look for the FF sign (or the group of smart, sexy people).
* There is no required age, religion, philosophy, or IQ level.
* Discussions are informal yet intelligent (most of the time).
* You don’t have to talk; you can just sit in and listen.

 

RSVP here. 

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Filipino Freethinkers Davao Meetup June 1, 2013

481512_200961736717855_1809079475_n

Spiritual But Not Religious – One Man’s Journey from Belief to Trust

Is it possible for god and reason to occupy the same space in your mind? Can faith and rationality coexist in harmony? Find out as we listen to the story of Mr. Ernie Abella and have a special dialogue with him. Mr. Abella was the former head pastor of The Jesus Fellowship. He is now a social entrepreneur.

Date: June 1, 2013 (Saturday)
Time: 7:30-9:30 PM
Place: Cafe Demitasse, F. Torres St., Davao City

  • Newbies are welcome.
  • Look for the FF sign (or the group of smart, sexy people).
  • There is no required age, religion, philosophy, or IQ level.
  • Discussions are informal yet intelligent (most of the time).
  • You don’t have to talk; you can just sit in and listen.

Attendance is FREE. We do appreciate if you order food/drinks to help cover the venue costs, but there is no obligation to do so.

Please come early. We start ON TIME.

Click here to go to our Facebook events page

Posted in Davao, Meetup0 Comments

Ignorance is Not a Class Issue

Elections and mean-spiritedness go hand-in-hand. This past election was no exception. However, as John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory predicts, give a normal person anonymity and an audience, they will tend to act like fuckwads. This fuckwadery, the technical term for such behavior, was greatly amplified this year by the massive echo chamber provided by social media.

Nancy Binay was undeniably this election cycle’s online punching bag, but the subtext was always that poor people, who are painted as gullible and simple-minded enough to vote for any inexperienced dope with a recognizable name, would carry her all the way into the Senate. So, as the early election returns predicted a strong finish for Ms. Binay, social media unsurprisingly turned into an it’s-the-poor’s-fault blame game.

Of course, such a view is shallow and lacking in the complexity necessary to sift through the dynamics behind any electoral outcome. Sure enough, level heads would come to point this out. However, some critics of the blame-the-poor narrative just as easily fell into the other extreme, which is similarly (if not equally) vapid.

Many, such as the Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement (CRUSADA) criticized the “bobo voter” as a “myth.” They seem to have taken it, though, that when people say “bobo (or rather ignorant) voters,” they actually meant poor voters. I do not deny at all that this is probably what people mean when they sneer at Nancy Binay’s top 5 finish. However, denying at all that ignorant voters exist is an empty view that panders to middle-class guilt more than it offers a thoughtful rebuttal to the cynics and the disillusioned.

It has almost become heresy to offer the view that human beings can differ in intellect or understanding. Such a view invariably elicits being called, “elitist.” And when one is called “elitist,” the discussion ends. Elitists can’t possibly offer anything worth listening to. But all the trouble actually stems from a fatal assumption that both sides of the argument fall prey to, which is the belief that “ignorant” can only describe the poor. So, if you call someone ignorant, you are calling someone out for being poor. This is not the case at all.

It is true that the poor are disenfranchised and are disproportionately deprived of information that is necessary for a reasoned decision. This is an institutional problem that must be corrected. However, this does not imply that the poor are incapable of reasoned decision, it simply means that they are forced to unfairly work harder than richer people (as in all other things). Access to information is a class issue; ignorance is not. It is often the case that people who have the privilege of access to limitless information simply reject it on principle, because of dogma, superstition, and blind allegiance to authority.

 

Wealthy ignorance

IMG_0466

Anti-Ordinance Protester at Ayala Alabang

A couple of years ago, the well-heeled Ayala Alabang Village’s local government unit came out with a draconian ordinance that required prescriptions for contraceptives as innocuous as condoms. The ordinance was, unsurprisingly, spearheaded by the ultraconservative Catholic residents of the affluent village. Several copycat ordinances also came out around the country.

This election year, the village’s Parish of St. James came out to endorse the theocratic Ang Kapatiran Party, along with other staunchly anti-choice candidates. Now, given the vast evidence supporting the effectiveness of proper sex education and accessibility to contraceptives in curbing abortions and generally promoting economic freedom for women, I would unequivocally call anti-choice views ignorant and wrong. I also view the desire to keep LGBT as second class citizens as ignorant and wrong. And having residents of a powerful wealthy village to espouse and promote such views goes to show that wealth does not imply enlightenment, neither does ignorance imply poverty.

 

Real and objective consequences

CRUSADA describes the path to truths as “asymptotic”—a view that I deeply share. I don’t think anyone, no matter the degree of effort, will ever have perfect and certain knowledge. However, an asymptotic path implies that some real value that exists is being approached. It is not an anything goes kind of relativist pluralism. It is not a denial of the existence of objective truths. There are right answers and wrong answers. There are answers that are closer to the truth than others (hence “asymptotic”). To know whether our ideas are sound, we test our ideas using the tools of reason and evidence to cut away inaccuracies, fabrications, and illusions in our thinking. These tests favor no social classes.

We can, in principle (if not in practice), compare the social consequences of views, such as homophobia and social liberalism, using metrics that are empirical and science-based. (If you doubt that there are objective differences between the two and that neither view is more worthy of our time, I invite you to live in Sudan.) Those who claim that such objective views of ethics are “absurd” have no intellectual basis to denounce violence, injustice, and oppression.

There are better ways and worse ways to vote, because some ways of voting will lead to more suffering than other ways. Does this imply that there is only one way to vote, one perfect ballot? Not in the least. There could be many, but equally optimal configurations of a ballot. They may be fundamentally different in composition, but they can lead to outcomes that similarly increase well-being in a society. We don’t usually get much in terms of choice during elections, but even if the best options available aren’t very desirable, there is still a difference between the best options and the worst. Having a plurality of acceptable answers does not mean that all answers are acceptable. Let us disabuse ourselves of the cowardly instinct of respecting ideas for the sake of respect. Let us see ourselves as beings capable of critical thinking, accepting and rejecting ideas based on reason and evidence.

We can all share the goal of desiring a functioning society that benefits the people. And I do believe that people who voted for Nancy Binay or JC de los Reyes share this goal, though I strongly disagree with their ideas on how to reach this common goal. That’s what it means to be a democracy: we can disagree about how to reach our goal, but we do our best to work together to build a nation.

But, if we are to take a real step toward a flourishing nation, we must first admit that some people, regardless of class, have ideas that fail the test of reason and evidence. We have to reject the more pernicious myth: the anti-intellectual myth that anyone’s ignorance is just as good as anyone else’s knowledge.

Posted in Politics, Society4 Comments

Meet a Freethinker: Jon-Jon Rufino

No two freethinkers are exactly alike; a group of freethinkers contains a great diversity of perspectives, so there is no one, official perspective shared among all of them. This makes the freethought community a truly vibrant source of ideas and opinions!

In this light, Meet a Freethinker is our series featuring freethinkers of all backgrounds and perspectives. We want to introduce you guys to the people who make up the proverbial melting pot of this growing movement.

Our next freethinker is Jon-Jon Rufino. Jon-Jon works in real estate development and live-aboard scuba diving. He is a proud single dad of twins, and has been participating in Filipino Freethinker activities since the Gay Pride March of 2010. He is on an unfortunate hiatus from his past lives as a triathlete and yoga instructor.

559912_10151305662455840_348572754_n1.How would you define a freethinker?

Freethinkers are always willing to ask what if, and compare the assumptions made to the evidence that surrounds them. Religious people can be freethinkers when they hold in their minds the possibility that they are wrong about their beliefs and that someone else is closer to the truth. Freethinkers change their mind and alter their assumptions when there is strong evidence against their current beliefs. Freethinkers are always asking questions, and they pay particular attention to inconsistencies.

2. What belief system do you subscribe to?

I’d like to say I’m an empirical agnostic ethical humanist, but since a couple of friends and I recently created a Pastafarian baptism ceremony, I must pledge allegiance to the Noodly One. I’ll respect your sky god, if you respect my carbonara, okay? Or if not, that’s cool too, but then all criticism is fair.

In the above mentioned ceremony, we hold that by anointing my children with sacred truffle oil, the Flying Spaghetti Monster creates an impervious shield around the souls of my children that prevents anyone else from attaching indelible marks or erratic or guilt laden theologies. These kids will have to form their own theory of everything . We also had the guide parents read a passage from any source to my kids and allow them to make unique bonds. And the ceremony was conducted by Gandalf and a witch, Manila’s most famous pirate witch.

But to clarify, I don’t know if anything happens after we die, and that’s okay. We have a great opportunity now with this one life.

3. What was the funniest or most interesting reaction you got from a person after you told him or her that you were a freethinker?

I don’t go around telling people I’m a freethinker. It is a description of a system of thought, not an end or belief system in itself. I am happy to talk about what I believe when asked, but it rather rarely comes up these days, as there is the dangerous assumption here in the Philippines that we are all Catholics. Still, coming out of the closet as a gay man is in many ways easier than leaving the religion you are born into, but I’d argue just as necessary, especially when that religion treats people like you so badly. If I followed the dictates of my religion, I’d either be a priest or a numerary (traditional shelter for people not interested in heterosexual sex) or by now, I’d be estranged from some woman I was forced to marry. And I certainly wouldn’t have these wonderful kids that were created through a technology my former religion bans. I might have kids that hate me because their mother would have convinced them that I abandoned her. Or not.

But to answer your specific question, I’m usually warned about going to hell, or told that is the danger of thinking too much. To be fair though, the church creates no euphemisms when it refers to its faithful as the flock, and its leaders as shepherds. Do shepherds tend to their sheep out of pure love, or because they make their living out of it? And what eventually happens to lambs and sheep? Are they allowed to graze in the pastures until old age like story book retired racing horses when their wool is no longer of good quality or they can no longer reproduce? I think not.

4. In what way has being part of a freethinking community benefited you?

The foremost benefit when you questions society’s norms is that you can chart your own path in life. Why can’t I create and raise two kids on my own? I have resources, which I must clarify includes the invaluable support of my immediate and larger family, to do so in a non-traditional way.

It’s also allowed me to question society’s pressures to find a partner. I would love to be doing all this with someone special, and indeed I tried for the better part of three years recently. But I am very comfortable knowing that doing it all while single will not diminish my joy in the family, though finding the right partner might magnify it.
I’m also eager to address the normal inconsistencies and double standards that crop up between one’s own life and what we expect from our children, especially with sex. The bi-monthly meet ups of the Filipino Freethinkers have forced this with their inclusion of one raunchy topic per session.

And lastly, it has been fantastic becoming part of a community of people (not at all like-minded, as we embrace all sorts of political, social and religious ideologies) who are unafraid to seek new answers to the old questions of life, many of whom are happy to sacrifice their time defending the rights of minorities when they see them oppressed by organized religion. The Filipino Freethinkers have about the proportion of gay members as the general population, but they show up with as much enthusiasm and as many numbers for LGBT events as they do for women’s equality and reproductive health issues.

And as friends, when these people are invited to climb a mountain, or dive into the middle of the sea, instead of asking why, they ask why not and then get their feet muddy or wet.

5. How do people react here when they find out you are a father?

Honestly, it blows their minds that I found women, an egg donor and several surrogates until we were successful, to help me create this family. Some of them have seen it on TV, others did not know that these things were possible. I’ve never encountered condemnation, which would be hard when you meet my twins. I do sometimes encounter some envy/guilt from other people, especially from women my age who seem to feel that if someone like me can have kids, it reflects very badly on them that they have not, and I try my best to point out that parenthood is but one of the many valid life paths one can take. Many people in this world are happy without children, and that’s a good thing.

6. What is your parenting style?

One of the promises that I made to my children during their Pastafarian Baptism A.K.A. Naming Ceremony is that I will do my best to explain the reasons behind everything I tell them to do. If they can come up with an alternative plan that is at least equally effective to my request, then we can go with their suggestion. I will not destroy their natural tendency to ask why; instead, I will answer it as best as I can, and when I can’t I will seek the answer of why with them.

7. Will you use only gender neutral terms for your children?

No. I have a boy and a girl and our language has pronouns for that. But if I find that my biological girl feels that she is really a boy trapped in a girl’s body, I’ll do my best to conform to his needs.

8. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen underwater?

This summer, there have been tiger shark, hammerhead, and guitarfish encounters, and in the past I’ve swam with whale sharks, a sail fish, pilot whales, and a sun fish. But nothing compares to sprinting in the bow of a slow moving boat with dolphins to my left and my right, part of the pod for several minutes until my legs and lungs gave out from pure exhaustion.

Posted in Meet a Freethinker1 Comment

Filipino Freethinkers Katipunan Meetup, 29 May, 3:30-6:30 PM, Bo’s Katipunan

ffk-meetup-may292013_copy_lowresEvent: Filipino Freethinkers – Katipunan Meetup

Date: Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Time: 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM

Place: Bo’s Coffee, Katipunan

Meet-up topics:
– Freethinking 101
– Strained Foreign Relations
– The State of Philippine Politics
– TOPIC TOSS-UP! Got a topic under your belt? Bring it to the table! We’ll vote which topic to talk about last.

Can’t make it to the meet-up? After the meet-up, we usually go for food and a few drinks, where we continue some of the topics or talk about random things. You also get to know the attendees better.

Got questions about the meetup? Contact us at 0915 307 8657.

* Newbies are welcome.
* Look for the FF sign (or the group of smart, sexy people).
* There is no required age, religion, philosophy, or IQ level.
* Discussions are informal yet intelligent (most of the time).
* You don’t have to talk; you can just sit in and listen.
* You don’t have to be from Katipunan or a school in Katipunan. As long as you can make it, you’re welcome.
* Please abide by the code of conduct.

RSVP on Facebook.

Posted in Meetup0 Comments

Lab Letters Issue #14: Le Grand K, Grey Hair, and a Space Oddity

Lab Letters Issue #14: Le Grand K, Grey Hair, and a Space Oddity


Hey there! Now that the election dust has settled, more or less, let’s get back to Lab Letters, FF’s weekly science micro-post! Let’s see what we have for this week.

 

The International Prototype Kilogram, also known as Le Grand K, sits under three nested bell jars and is cleaned every 40 years. (credit: greg.org)

A Better Kilo

Ever wonder how we worked out how heavy a kilogram should be? It sounds like a recurring loop (“well, it should be just as heavy as a… uh… kilogram!”), and that is exactly right. There exists the kilogram, a standard that is sitting in a vault in France. The kilogram unit was named by the French in 1795 and defined as the mass of one liter of water at 4C, and a more practical ‘reference weight’ made of platinum and iridium was then made in 1879. Forty replicas of this standard weight are found all over the world. Recently, however, these kilogram standards have begun to vary in weight because of accumulating dust from the atmosphere. The kilogram is also the only remaining SI unit that is still based on a physical weight. So the folks at Swiss Federal Office of Metrology put out a call for better ways to measure and define a kilogram, and it seems that Mettler Toledo (known for making precision measuring instruments) has found one: the watt balance is a scale that measures the amount of voltage required to lift the kilogram standard in an electromagnetic field. Other teams from the world over are also in the game. Check out Team Avogadro and Team Planck.

 

Michael Jackson had had vitiligo since the 1980s, which eventually caused all his skin to lighten in color. (source: rhythmofthetide.com)

 Goodbye, Gray Hair & Vitiligo

A grey hair develops hydrogen peroxide accumulates in the hair follicle and bleaches it out completely. Now, researchers from the UK and Germany have discovered a cure: stop the accumulation, and you can reverse the bleaching. And it works on people with vitiligo, too, because it targets the same mechanism. The “topical, UVB-activated pseudocatalase” is an antioxidant that prevents the buildup of, well, oxidants, including hydrogen peroxide. I guess people won’t be needing that spray-on hair in the future.

 


And finally…

 

This is a snapshot taken by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on his last day as Commander of the International Space Station. Along with two astronauts, Hadfield returned to Earth via the Soyuz spacecraft that landed in Kazakhstan on 13 May 2013.

Hadfield has been lauded for his efforts to make space exploration cool again by actively engaging people on social media. He has a Youtube channel, where he shows Earthlings what it’s like living in orbit (exercise is important! food comes in sachets! tears just pool on your face!), and a Twitter account (@Cmdr_Hadfield) that he uses to post spectacular pictures taken from space and interact with Canada’s other famous space captain.

He recently turned over command of the ISS to Russian Pavel Vinogradovin, but not before posting his cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, which is also the first music video made in space. Sit down for a minute and let that wash over you. Now go watch the video here.

 

I’ll be seeing you folks next week! Same time, same place.

 

 

Posted in Science0 Comments

Know Their Stand: Migz Zubiri, Senatorial Candidate

miguelzubiriElections are coming. If you are a voter, you should know who you are voting for and where they stand, especially when it comes to issues of secularism. Here are senatorial candidate Migz Zubiris responses on nine important issues, based on GMA News’ Mga Isyu ng Bayan.

 

Reproductive Health – AGAINST

“I’m against the RH law kasi hindi naman kailangang magpagawa pa ng isang panukalang batas o isang batas dahil nagagawa naman po siya sa ating mga local government unit — meron na pong sariling reproductive health program. Kasi kung i-nationalize pa, nagkakaroon po ng napakatinding debate.”

 

Sin Tax – FOR

“I’m an anti-smoking advocate, kaya okay naman sa akin yung sin tax measure. Pero sana more tempered ‘yung increase ng taxes nang sa gano’n, hindi naman mabubugbog ‘yung local industries.”

 

Cybercrime – FOR

“I’m not against the Cybercrime law per se… ‘yung provisions and penalties lamang dahil napakatindi po ng penalties ng Cybercrime law ngayon. I think it’s responsible use of Internet which is necessary.”

 

Freedom of Information – FOR

“I’m very much in favor of FOI dahil isa po ako sa mga principal author no’n sa 14th Congress. Ipinasa ko po ‘yung FOI sa Senado noong ako’y naging Majority Floor Leader. Pinakamalayo na po ito na narating ng FOI. It was ratified sa Senate after the bicameral conference committee. Kulang na lang ‘yung simpleng ratification sa Congress at batas na po siya. Napakasayang… Hindi ko nga maintindihan; nasa plataporma de gobyerno ng Pangulo ang FOI [noon], at nu’ng naging presidente siya at ‘yung mga kasama niya ay naging administrasyon, parang nagkaroon po ng 180-degree turn.”

 

Anti-Political Dynasty – FOR

“Ang pamilya ko naman ay rerespetuhin ang isang panukala o isang batas na ilalabas in terms of political dynasties. But as of now, in the absence of an enabling act, talagang kailangan [ang] voter’s education. Dapat may karanasan, may kakayanan, at may plataporma de gobyerno na talagang makakatulong sa ating mga kababayan.”

 

Divorce – AGAINST

“I am against divorce. Again, going back to my religious belief — I am a Marian devotee, I’m a family man. I believe that the family is the most important unit of the country, of society as a whole… With the absence of the divorce bill, more families will work out their relationships. Talagang gagawin nila ang lahat para ‘di mawasak ang pamilya.”

 

Death Penalty – AGAINST

“I was in favor of the revival of death penalty. The key word was “was”… What made me change my mind was my renewed vigor of faith. Naaawa din po ako sa mga biktima. Isa po ako sa 26 [representatives] na kumontra sa panukalang i-repeal ang death penalty law. Pero ngayon ako ay sumasang-ayon o magfa-file ng isang panukala na ang henious criminals ay ilagay sa isolation, parang ‘yung ginawa nila sa Alcatraz na mag-isa ka sa selda mo, 2 meters by 4 meters ‘yung laki, ‘yung banyo [at] kama mo, nandu’n na rin. Once a week ka lang ilalabas. Sa tingin ko, mas matindi pa ‘yan kaysa kamatayan kasi ‘yung pinaka-sane, ‘yung pinakanormal na tao, siguradong masisiraan ng ulo dahil sa isolation na ‘yan.”

 

Same-Sex Marriage – AGAINST

“Ako nirerespeto ko ang samahan ng dalawang lalaki, samahan ng dalawang babae, pero hindi pa po ako sang-ayon sa pagkakaroon po ng kasalan sa dalawang lalaki at dalawang babae. Hindi pa po yata handa ang ating bansa and it’s going to be another very divisive issue.”

 

Total Gun Ban – NO STAND

“Ako’y naniniwala at sumasang-ayon po ako na magkaroon ng higpitan dito sa permit to carry. Napakarami pong nakakakuha ng permit to carry na mga civilian, na dati [ito] ay limitado lang sa mga government officials, elected officials, ‘yung high-risk individuals na talagang may death threats. Ngayon, basta may pera ka lang, makakakuha ka na ng permit to carry, kaya nagkakaroon po ng patayan sa road rage, sa fiesta, sa sayawan. Meron po silang permit to carry, dala dala nila ‘yung baril nila, kaunting udyok lamang, kaunting awayan ay magbabarilan na. So dapat ‘yan ay magkaroon ng total gun ban, o total ban on permit to carry for non-essential use.”

 

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politi-koWho among the 33 senatorial candidates matches your views best? Politi-ko.com can help you find out. (From the makers of Rollcall.ph)

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Know Their Stand: Cynthia Villar, Senatorial Candidate

Cynthia-Villar-IconElections are coming. If you are a voter, you should know who you are voting for and where they stand, especially when it comes to issues of secularism. Here are senatorial candidate Cynthia Villars responses on nine important issues, based on GMA News’ Mga Isyu ng Bayan.

 

Reproductive Health – AGAINST

“I don’t believe that a big population is a liability. Depende how you will manage the population. If the population can be managed well, and that would create a domestic market for the goods of the country, then that would be very helpful in supporting the economy.”

 

Sin Tax – FOR

“Sin tax law is a health law, kasi alam naman natin it’s been proven that smoking causes cancer. But at the same time, we have a big part of our country na tobacco planters, so dapat tulungan ‘yun.”

 

Cybercrime – FOR

“Ako in favor of (the anti-cybercrime law) kasi kawawa naman ‘yung vini-victimze nila sa cyberspace… except may question sa constitutionality, kinu-question ‘yun ngayon sa Supreme Court. So let the Supreme Court decide on these issues. But all the others naman walang question.”

 

Freedom of Information – FOR

“It’s for transparency. In fact, napasa na ‘yan sa Senado, may gulo lang sa Lower House.”

 

Anti-Political Dynasty – NO STAND

“Personally kasi, I never take against a person ‘yung kanyang pangalan, as long as magaling siya. Ngayon, kung talagang they feel strongly about it, pass a law and we will follow. Marami pa naman tayong pwedeng gawin aside from public service.”

 

Divorce – AGAINST

“I don’t think there is a need for a divorce bill… Meron naman tayong provision sa Family Code na annulment. Sabi nga ni Sen. Escudero, gawin na lang affordable ang annulment for the ordinary people para maka-annul din (sila), at gawin ding easy for magse-separate na makakuha ng support from the spouse ‘yung mga pamilyang naiiwanan.”

 

Death Penalty – AGAINST

“Pro-life ako eh. I don’t think that death penalty will discourage crime. As long as there is punishment, the severity of the punishment is immaterial.”

 

Same-Sex Marriage – AGAINST

“Siguro hindi pa. Too advanced, too modern sa ating society.”

 

Total Gun Ban – AGAINST

“Tingin ko dapat ‘yung implementation of the law with regards to the ownership of guns and how you are able to bring it along in public, ‘yun ang dapat i-implement, hindi ‘yung total gun ban. I think mahina ‘yung implementation of the present law.”

 

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politi-koWho among the 33 senatorial candidates matches your views best? Politi-ko.com can help you find out. (From the makers of Rollcall.ph)

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Know Their Stand: Eddie Villanueva, Senatorial Candidate

eddie-villanueva-platforms-profile-pictureElections are coming. If you are a voter, you should know who you are voting for and where they stand, especially when it comes to issues of secularism. Here are senatorial candidate Eddie Villanuevas responses on nine important issues, based on GMA News’ Mga Isyu ng Bayan.

 

Reproductive Health – FOR

“I’m always against abortion because abortion is murder. However, I’m in favor of some family planning, responsible parenthood, because the children must be properly guided and be protected as they grow up. Kaya we must have genuine concern for the future of the children.”

 

Sin Tax – FOR

“I’m in favor of that, nang sa gayon ma-discourage ‘yung mga gumagawa ng sin — kaya nga tinawag na sin eh. At the same time, mag-raise ng funds ang gobyerno para mabigyan ng tamang pondo ang hospitalization, medical care at saka ang education ng mga kabataan.”

 

Cybercrime – FOR

“Well, kailangan ma-repeal ‘yung libel provisions. I am in favor of regulating the Internet users to protect the morals of the young people, or else without morality, the nation will go to the dogs.”

 

Freedom of Information – FOR

“Absolutely. We have been supporting the Freedom of Information Act.”

 

Anti-Political Dynasty – FOR

(no comment)

 

Divorce – AGAINST

“Sabi ng Good Book, God hates divorce. However, there are some exceptions. Halimbawa, kung ang asawa ay nagkasala ng infidelity o domestic violence, ‘yun ang mga exceptional cases na pinapayagan ng bible ang divorce. Pero generally, God hates divorce, sapagkat ang family ay dapat proteksyunan, ang kinabukasan ng mga bata ang number one, hindi ang kinabukasan ng mga magulang. Iyong kinabukasan ng mga bata ang priority sa akin.”

 

Death Penalty – FOR

“Ang sabi ng Good Book, ang death penalty should be applied to heinous crimes nang sa ganoon, magkaroon ng peace and order ang lipunan. Kung hindi, kaliwa’t kanan ang chaos at anarchy, sapagkat hindi matatakot ang mga merong criminal minds na umabuso.”

 

Same-Sex Marriage – AGAINST

“I am for the protection and respect ng political rights ng lahat, regardless of gender. Pero pagdating sa marriage of same sex, sabi ng Good Book, huwag gayahin ‘yung nangyari sa Sodom and Gomorrah dahil darating ang paggunaw sa isang bansa pag ‘yun ay ginawa.”

 

Total Gun Ban – AGAINST

“I’m against total gun ban kasi walang bansa na merong total gun ban. Kung merong ganung polisiya, ang mga kriminal lang ang magmamay-ari ng gun. Kaya importante lang, strict enforcement of the rules and regulations with proper psychiatric and psychological test (para sa) lahat ng nag-a-apply.”

 

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politi-koWho among the 33 senatorial candidates matches your views best? Politi-ko.com can help you find out. (From the makers of Rollcall.ph)

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Know Their Stand: Antonio Trillanes IV, Senatorial Candidate

teampnoy-thumb400-trillanesElections are coming. If you are a voter, you should know who you are voting for and where they stand, especially when it comes to issues of secularism. Here are senatorial candidate Antonio Trillanes IVs responses on nine important issues, based on GMA News’ Mga Isyu ng Bayan.

 

Reproductive Health – AGAINST

“I voted against it because of the provisions on sex education for grade six students and the multi-billion peso allocation for the procurement of contraceptives.”

 

Sin Tax – FOR

“I voted for it because it is a revenue measure to support our healthcare programs for the poor.”

 

Cybercrime – FOR

“I voted for it but I’m pushing for the removal of the cyberlibel and the DOJ’s automatic takedown powders.”

 

Freedom of Information – FOR

“I am the principal author of the Senate version and therefore, I am in favor of the bill. It is an instrument to promote transparency in government.”

 

Anti-Political Dynasty – NO STAND

“I am neither nor against it because it is irrelevant to whether a candidate will be corrupt and incompetent once elected.”

 

Divorce – AGAINST

“I am not for it because it is a policy option that would worsen the dire social dysfunctions that we have now.”

 

Death Penalty – AGAINST

“I am against it. Instead, I am pushing for a more effective law enforcement and a reformed justice system to curb rampant criminality.”

 

Same-Sex Marriage – AGAINST

“I am not for it.”

 

Total Gun Ban – AGAINST

“I am not for it because it is a policy that cannot be implemented. Instead, I am pushing for stricter gun controls, crackdown on loose firearms, and a more effective law enforcement.”

 

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Know Their Stand: Grace Poe, Senatorial Candidate

teampnoy-thumb400-poeElections are coming. If you are a voter, you should know who you are voting for and where they stand, especially when it comes to issues of secularism. Here are senatorial candidate Grace Poes responses on nine important issues, based on GMA News’ Mga Isyu ng Bayan.

 

Reproductive Health – FOR

“[The RH law] is a good progress in our struggle to address the high prevalence of maternal deaths in the country. I believe, however, that the RH law can still be strengthened by introducing new provisions that would allow Filipino couples to receive financial assistance in their efforts to conceive a child. The concept of ‘reproductive health’ should also include couples who are having difficulties conceiving a child naturally.”

 

Sin Tax – FOR

“The imposition of a higher tax on alcohol and tobacco products is a positive step in both lessening the abuse of alcohol and tobacco and providing more funding to the larger health care system of the country.”

 

Cybercrime – NO STAND

“The Anti-Cybercrime Law should be amended. I am against some of the provisions in the anti-Cybercrime law that go against our essential freedoms. I am bothered by the cyberlibel and take-down clause and very much concerned with how government will use this on circumstances that are still beyond the ken of current Philippine laws. … I realize, however, that the Anti-Cybercrime Law has good intentions: it can be used by our citizens and other entities to protect themselves, and their interests, in cyberspace—against identify theft, hacking, cybersex, etc. But good intentions can not be used to justify the possible suppression of free speech.”

 

Freedom of Information – FOR

“The absence of an FOI law makes it hard for the government to be transparent, [in which] the environment for corruption will still be present. [It also] undermines the ability of people to engage their government (e.g. making informed choices during elections, making critical statements about a policy)… An FOI law can be used by government to institutionalize a more systematic gathering, management, and utilization of all data in its offices.”

 

Anti-Political Dynasty – NO STAND

(no comment)

 

Divorce – NO STAND

“I welcome the move by some sectors to push for the divorce bill. But before talking about divorce, there are other family-related issues that should simultaneously be discussed. Why push for divorce if we can still introduce amendments to what we have right now on marriage? Our current Family Code today implies that marriage has both unitive and procreative worth. The provisions on declaration of nullity, annulment and legal separation were included there to highlight that our Philippine laws are oriented toward strengthening marriage rather than its dissolution.”

 

Death Penalty – AGAINST

“Sanctioning capital punishment is equivalent to allowing the state to be an instrument of death rather than an entity that promotes life in our society. Instead of death penalty, what the government can do to curb criminality today is to reform the criminal justice system.”

 

Same-Sex Marriage – NO STAND

(no comment)

 

Total Gun Ban – NO STAND

(no comment)

 

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Know Their Stand: Christian Señeres, Senatorial Candidate

christian-seneres-platforms-profile-pictureElections are coming. If you are a voter, you should know who you are voting for and where they stand, especially when it comes to issues of secularism. Here are senatorial candidate Christian Señeress responses on nine important issues, based on GMA News’ Mga Isyu ng Bayan.

 

Reproductive Health – AGAINST

“It might puzzle some analysts kung bakit isasabatas ‘yang population management and responsible parenthood when society natin is reliant on OFW remittances, services sector, which affects two-thirds of our work force. And yet there comes a law that will reduce one of the factors of economic production that has strengthened us according to foreign analysts. It could be economically detrimental to us.”

 

Sin Tax – AGAINST

“The only thing this will accomplish is a heavier debt burden for the country. We’re being taxed to death. Ang aming ipinaglalaban ay babaan at bawasan ang mga buwis tulad ng VAT.”

 

Cybercrime – AGAINST

“Noon pa sinasabi ng international agencies na itong Pilipinas, isa sa iilang bansa na pwede kang makulong dahil sa sinasabi mo. Tama ba naman ‘yun? Ang pinakaunang maaapektuhan ay nasa media.”

 

Freedom of Information – FOR

“Bigyan ng karapatan na silipin lahat ng pork barrel. Tingnan natin kung hindi mahiya ang mga pulitiko na gumawa ng kalokohan at magpayaman diyan.”

 

Anti-Political Dynasty – FOR

“May eleksyon every three years. ‘Di natin kailangang maghintay ng anti-dynasty law. Huwag na lang iboto.”

 

Divorce – AGAINST

“Meron nang annulment. Divorce is a fault-free dissolution of marriage, kahit walang dahilan — may nakilala siyang mas mayaman, mas bata, o nagkasawaan na sila. Anong mangyayari sa institution of marriage? Magiging cheap.”

 

Death Penalty – NO STAND

“Depende sa mood ng taon. Kung dumadami ang krimen na karumaldumal, eh ‘di sige, ibalik natin. Hindi ko sinasabing chameleon ako ‘pag dating sa isyu na ‘yan. Ang sinasabi ko lang, sundin natin ang batas, maging representative tayo. Kung gusto ng tao, ibalik. Kung ayaw, tanggalin. Obey the people.”

 

Same-Sex Marriage – AGAINST

“I think ‘di na kailangang pakialaman ng state eh. Let’s not enforce a law na dapat pwede sila, pero ‘wag din natin pagbawalan. We can make civil arrangements, pero let’s not redefine what marriage is.”

 

Total Gun Ban – AGAINST

“We are for responsible gun ownership, pero bago mag-total gun ban, siguro unahin nilang tanggalin ‘yung mga baril ng kriminal. And we should protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to own guns.”

 

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