Tag Archive | "Congress"

Abortion, Women, and The Christ-Like Anti-RH


Tonight is the eve of what will hopefully be a vote on the second reading of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill in the House of Representatives.

In tonight’s Congress session the Honorable Representative from Cebu, Pablo Garcia, and his cohorts showed the country how Christ-like the anti-RH truly are. These are men who say they are fighting for God’s will, right? Surely the moral character of God must be reflected in their attempted amendments to the RH bill, right?

Representative Pablo Garcia tried to include an amendment into the RH bill to remove post-abortion care from the bill. His reasoning for this amendment is that including language that guarantees post abortion care for women who felt compelled to undergo an abortion would just encourage more women to undergo abortion. Our country totally does not need to take care of women who undergo an illegal operation, I mean, theres a reason its illegal right?

What a very Christ like moral argument there, Representative Garcia. After all when Jesus was faced with that adulterous woman who was to be stoned in the gospel of John, he was all like, “Yeah! Lets totally stone her!”

This woman? Yeah! Let’s totally stone her!

Oh wait. No. He didn’t.

Jesus forgave her and actually dared the pharisees, the clergy men, to hurt the woman they brought before him.

Women who suffer post abortion complications in the Philippines don’t just endure the effects of a most likely poorly done illegal abortion, they’re also stigmatized when they try to go to hospitals for care. These women who are already suffering are made to feel even worse, given substandard care because of a stigma that stems from religion.

The anti-RH go on and on about their morals derived from God. They declare that they know God’s will, that they are just doing what their God wants them to do.

According to their Bible, Jesus himself protected the life of a woman from the dictates of the clergy; from their desire to exact justice without thought of mercy. And yet, when these men who claim to follow God’s will have the chance to do what Jesus would do, they do the exact opposite.

Maybe its time to stop listening to the men of the cloth. Maybe its time the country acts as Jesus did when dealing with women who have illegal abortions: with compassion and mercy. Maybe instead of listening to our own pharisees, maybe its time to pass the RH bill.

Image: Christ and the woman taken in adultery, via the Wikimedia Commons

Errata: I had mistakenly written “third reading of the Reproductive Health Bill” when it is only the second reading, the mistake has since been corrected.

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An Urgent Appeal to All RH Advocates


Tuesday, August 7, is the day Congress will vote to end the period of interpellations on the RH bill. As it draws nearer, we urge each and every one of you to come and join the following:

August 6, Monday, 6:00 pm
Nationwide simultaneous candle lighting and noise barrage for RH Bill:

We urge you to organize vigils, candle lightings and noise barrages in your respective areas.

In Manila, at the South wing gate of the House of Representatives (HOR), RH leaders and personalities will hold a series of activities from 1:00 pm – 7:30 pm, with a candle lighting and noise barrage at 6:00 pm as the main program.

August 7, Tuesday
Plenary session to vote to stop the period of interpellations on the RH Bill:

9:00 am to 2:00 pm – Program at the South wing gate
4:00 pm – Plenary session to vote to stop the period of interpellation on the RH Bill, Main Building, HOR

Troop to Congress and wear purple shirts on these two dates!

Continue to:

Maximize social media – tweet or Facebook pro-RH legislators to attend sessions
Maximize mainstream media to send our urgent message to the legislators

Once again, let us take collective action to pass the RH Bill. For more information, please contact Joy Salgado of Likhaan (0915 407 9894) and Kit Onate, RHAN Secretariat (0927 863 6394).

Image from 2.bp.blogspot.com

Posted in Advocacy, Politics, RH Bill, Secularism, SocietyComments (1)

FF Podcast (Audio) 008: The Palatino Bill Predicament


In our very professional podcast that is also a video, Red, Pepe and Margie talk about Kabataan Party-List Rep. Mong Palatino’s withdrawal of HB 6330, or the “Religious Freedom in Government Offices Act.”

You may also download the podcast file here.



Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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Today in the History of the Separation of Church and State


Today is a day of irony. While today marks the 113th anniversary of the Malolos constitution when congress voted for the first Philippine constitution that definitively declares the separation of church and state; in the present we have a congress that seems ever more eager to please the Roman Catholic church, a congress that is willing to fight dirty against the very people they are supposed to represent.

Today we have a congress where it is alright for representatives to masticate their merienda ever so glacially in service to the whims of the church.

Today we have a congress that remains servile to the church, choosing to pander to the bishops instead of serving the people they are supposed to represent.

Today we have a congress that does not want to serve the mothers of our country, that does not want to educate the children of our country; a Congress that does not care for the health of our country.

Today we have a congress that has forgotten our nation’s past, the Philippine’s struggle against a church that sees not the earthly suffering and needs of the Filipinos.

113 years ago from today, we had a congress that remembered the injustices perpetrated by the Church. 113 years ago, we had a congress that knew it had to be free of the meddling of the Church in order to serve the Filipino people.

113 years ago from today, the fight to separate the church and state was only beginning.

Today, we have to continue this fight. If our congress today will be a cowardly lot, then the people they represent will have to stand up for the separation of church and state, against the Bishops who would force their way into the lives of every Filipino.

Today, mothers roared against the injustice of a congress perverted against our democratic ideals; today mothers shouted against a congress that cares not for mothers but cared more for their mother church.

Today, will you stand to keep the church out of our government? Today, will you stand against the meddling of the Roman Catholic church?

Image of Malolos congress from Philippine American War

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Extreme Makeover: Congress Edition


After last evening’s Reproductive Health bill interpellation, the Honorable Representatives Roilo Golez and Pablo Garcia give the House of Representatives an extreme makeover, feng shui style.

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Less Golez, More RH: Numerology and the Numbers that Count


Some superstitious people consider the number 4 unlucky because it sounds like the word “death”
(死 pinyin sǐ) in Chinese.

What does this have to do with the RH Bill? Nothing. Unless you’re a congressman who’s desperate to delay interpellations because you’re afraid of a deciding vote.

Trivial Numbers

During yesterday’s interpellations, Rep. Roilo Golez argued that the RH Bill (HB 4244) will lead to misfortune. Why? Because according to Rep. Roilo — I’ll refer to him this way to avoid confusion with the other Rep. Golez — its bill number contains three of those unlucky fours.

It seems that anti-RH legislators are not content to violate secularism. With legislators like Rep. Roilo, we might have to amend our constitution with a clause calling for separation of superstition and state.

Rep. Roilo’s fascination for numbers continued when he questioned why an earlier version of the bill changed to HB 96 from HB 3. At first, I didn’t know the reason he was so hung up on this trivial fact. Then I remembered that he threw reason out the door the moment he brought up numerology. I suspect that he simply prefers 3 because it’s considered a lucky number. (Regarding HB 96, although 9 is lucky, 6 isn’t.)

It would be interesting to know what Rep. Roilo thinks of Rep. Pablo Garcia’s bill: Hormonal Contraceptives Regulation Act of 2011. The bill aims to regulate the sale and advertising of birth control pills. This is a bill that Rep. Roilo would agree with, except for one detail: the bill is numbered 4482. Will he be against it because of those two unlucky fours? Or maybe the bad luck is mitigated by the lucky 8 and 2?

But hold on for a second, Rep. Roilo. It’s not OK to import foreign ideas from the US (family planning and population development), but it’s OK to import foreign ideas from Rome (Humanae Vitae) and China (numerology)? What’s the criteria for importing ideas?

Numbers that Count

I hope Rep. Roilo — or any of the other anti-RH legislators — doesn’t foray into numerology again. If they want to talk about numbers, there are many figures and statistics that truly deserve to be discussed. For Rep. Roilo’s sake, here are four:

ONE: 71% — the percentage of Catholic respondents who favor the RH Bill (8% are not, the rest are undecided) (SWS)

Even if these anti-RH representatives ignore people with different beliefs, who exactly are they representing? It seems they’re content to represent the 8% composed of the CBCP, Pro-Life Philippines, and their cohorts.

TWO: 11 — the number of women in the Philippines who die daily from maternal complications (Likhaan)

You’d think they’d have a sense of urgency with so many lives on the line — lives that are not merely potential but actual. While legislators are still busy debating about when life begins, it’s clear to the families left motherless when life as they know it ends.

THREE: 500,000 — the number of abortions that could be prevented if the RH Bill becomes law (Likhaan)

Countries that have an increased rate of effective contraceptive use have a decreased number of induced abortions. It’s been estimated that half a million abortions can be prevented by an RH policy. Are the anti-RH really pro-life?

FOUR: X Pesos — the cost in taxpayers’ money wasted whenever religion, superstition, and other tangents are discussed in Congress

Anti-RH legislators argue that the government lacks funds to implement the RH Bill. Yet they waste taxpayer money by discussing anything — Communism, Catholicism, conspiracies — other than what’s actually proposed by the RH Bill.

The Third Interpellator

After Rep. Roilo, there are as many as 36 interpellators left to go. That’s potentially 36 more hours of discussing religious interpretations, imperialist plots, and of course, Chinese numerology.

But let’s humor him and give numerology a chance. Out of the original list of 38 interpellators, Rep. Roilo was originally interpellator no. 3 — a lucky number. But when Pacquiao unexpectedly took Garcia’s slot, Rep. Roilo was bumped to no. 4 — the same unlucky number he argued against simply because of what it sounds like.

Some might think he got the number he deserves. But I disagree. Considering his tendency to inflate the importance of what words sound like, no. 3 suited him perfectly. For Roilo truly is a third.

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Secularism vs. Theocracy: Filipino Freethinkers at the Congressional Hearing on the RH Bill


Ken and I attended the recent congressional hearing on the RH Bill. I was to give a speech as a resource person representing the Filipino Freethinkers.

At first, I was afraid that my short talk on the importance of secularism in deciding the RH Bill would not be relevant. But my fears were allayed as soon as the representatives  and resource speakers started talking.

Anti-RH advocates kept referring to Catholic teachings not only on moral distinctions but even on scientific definitions. Legislators — even the Pro-RH ones — argued about what the Pope’s recent statements on contraceptives really meant, as if this had any relevance to the issues. To add insult to injury, they had Jo Imbong of the CBCP give us their official interpretation.

It was only when Dr. Sylvia Claudio spoke that secularism was brought into the discussion. She was answering a question posed by Rep. Rodolfo Biazon: Does anybody disagree that life starts during fertilization? After answering the question, she reminded the audience that not all Filipinos are Catholics, and that passing the RH Bill will benefit all Filipinos, especially women, regardless of religion (or lack thereof).

But her reminder seemed to fall on deaf ears. Rep. Biazon continued to ask the same question, as if Dr. Claudio hadn’t said anything, and the other representatives and speakers kept making arguments based on religious premises.

When my turn came to speak, I made sure to emphasize what most in the room seemed to forget: our government is a secular one. Which is why it came as a surprise when Willy Arcilla, who spoke in an individual capacity, claimed that the Philippines is not a secular state.

What he said would have been funny if it weren’t for the Anti-RH individuals there who agreed with him, and the many misinformed Filipinos who seem to think the Philippines is a province of the Vatican. I will not spoil any more of what he said so that you can understand the shock and disgust that I experienced listening to him.

Transcripts and more insights will be added as updates to this post soon. For now, here are the speeches I mentioned above. I hope that the combined sense of my speech and Dr. Claudio’s is enough to counter the irrationality of Willy Arcilla’s calls for theocracy. Enjoy!

Dr. Claudio – Pass the RH Bill (mp3)

Red Tani – Is the Philippines a democracy or a theocracy? (mp3)

Willy Arcilla – The Philippines is NOT a Secular State (mp3)

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