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Tag Archive | "Politics"

FF Podcast 67 (Audio): Freedom to Discriminate?

FF Audio Podcast 67: Freedom to Discriminate?

This week we talk about an Indiana state law that has effectively allowed discriminating against anyone for religious reasons.

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

Posted in audio podcast, Politics, Religion, SecularismComments (0)

FF Podcast 67: Freedom to Discriminate?

This week we talk about an Indiana state law that has effectively allowed discriminating against anyone for religious reasons.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Media, Podcast, Politics, Religion, Secularism, Society, VideoComments (1)

FF Podcast 58 (Audio): That Abstinence Video

FF Podcast 58: That Abstinence Video

Are you a bobo boy or a gaga girl? This week, we talk about the Department of Health’s abstinence dance video.

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

Posted in audio podcast, HIV/AIDS, Politics, RH Bill, Science, SocietyComments (0)

FF Podcast (Audio) 47: Secular DepEd, Catholic Bullies, and Ramon Bautista

FF Podcast 47: Secular DepEd, Catholic Bullies, and Ramon Bautista

In this week’s jam-packed episode, we talk about the Philippine government, for once, respecting secularism by removing “God-loving” from the Department of Education vision statement. Then, we talk about Pro-Life Philippines President Eric Manalang and his homophobic and violent comments against Carlos Celdran. We also talk a bit about Ramon Bautista and his being declared persona non grata by the Davao City local government.

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

Posted in audio podcast, Education, Politics, Secularism, SocietyComments (0)

FF Podcast (Audio) 015: Raising Politicians’ Salaries and Internet Justice

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This week we talk about Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s suggestion to raise politicians’ salaries to dissuade them from corruption. Then, we talk about the ethics of Internet justice mobs.

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

Posted in Audio, audio podcast, MediaComments (0)

Heresy is the Best Policy: Why Society Should Support Heretics (Part 2 of 2)

The world needs heretics. If every philosopher, every writer or every artist agrees with what’s generally accepted, society will never progress. If no one dares to be a heretic, there will be no improvement for humanity. The most obvious example is in science: If every scientist simply accepts the established paradigms, no research will take place. So why call yourself a scientist if you do not seek to improve, augment or even challenge the accepted paradigms? Similar questions could be asked for other vocations: Why call yourself a philosopher if all you do is simply swallow and restate the prevailing philosophies? Why call yourself a writer if your main goal is just to appease the powers that be or to elicit positive reviews? And why call yourself an artist if you are afraid of offending the sensibilities of the public?

Read the full story

Posted in Philosophy, Politics, Religion, SocietyComments (4)

I stand for women and oppose Ayala Alabang Barangay Ordinance 01-2011

designed by Julian Rodriguez

I come from a devout Catholic family and studied in a grade and high school that was non-sectarian (secular) but run by Opus Dei, a conservative organization in the Catholic Church. In my freshman year in high school I was taught sex education for a few weeks during Health class. The sex ed portion was eventually scrapped because of some complaints from parents.

My whole family staunchly opposes the Reproductive Health bill and wholeheartedly supports the ordinance. My mom and I both attended the public hearing last Saturday, but she was on the pro side — I was on the anti side. I’m pretty much the only one in my family that is for the RH bill and against the ordinance — and yes, it can get quite lonely.

In light of last Saturday’s public hearing on Barangay Ayala Alabang Ordinance 01-2011, I would like to share with you this letter I mailed to the barangay chairman on how the ordinance is anti-woman and supports a culture of reproductive oppression. This letter was supposed to be my 5-minute speech but the format of the hearing was changed and I could not deliver it.

21 March 2011

Barangay Ayala Alabang
Narra St, Ayala Alabang Village

Dear Mr. Xerez-Burgos,

Many women may feel the same way I do about Barangay Ayala Alabang Ordinance 01-2011 and some of them cannot speak for themselves because they are scared of how society will brand them. I am writing this letter on behalf of these women and oppose Barangay Ayala Alabang Ordinance 01-2011.

For my entire life, I have been blessed to live in a country where I can receive a university education, choose a career, and participate in elections. I can wear whatever I want and I am not required to cover myself head to toe in cloth. Arranged marriages are a thing of the past – I can actually choose my own husband and I can marry when I please. I have been so privileged compared to my female ancestors, but one thing that has not changed is that I still live in a culture of reproductive oppression.

I believe this ordinance will continue to uphold this culture of reproductive oppression instead of eradicate it. By censoring the sex education I and other residents in this village would like to receive, I will be deprived of my right to learn about my sexual rights. The first time I heard about sex was in 5th grade, in a conversation with classmates. The school I attended for my elementary and high school education forbade sex education to be taught. My mother did eventually tell me about sex, but again, it was very limited. I have learned about the process of conception but I have yet to arm myself with the right information to protect myself from sexually transmitted infections, defend myself from unwanted sex and sexual harassment, or avoid pregnancies. When this ordinance is passed, it will become illegal for me to learn about birth control – other than natural means – in the confines of this barangay. I will continue to be a victim of dishonest sex education.

In this day and age, I believe it is my right to plan my pregnancies in the way that I choose, through both natural and artificial means. Yes, I included artificial birth control because I do not share the same sentiments you have. I believe that women deserve to be in control of their bodies and to exercise their own conscientious choices when it comes to reproductive health care. We have the right to all the information we need to make decisions about sex. This barangay institution, which is meant to safeguard and provide care for its residents, will systematically block women from being fully informed.

Mr. Xerez-Burgos, what offends me the most about this ordinance is that it aims to damage my reputation when I go to the drugstore to purchase birth control and a logbook has to be filled out with my private information that is nobody’s business and certainly not the barangay’s business. I will be labeled as an abortion practitioner if I use FDA-approved non-abortive contraceptives. Is this the 17th century where my information in this logbook will essentially become a scarlet letter, a badge of shame that will be pinned on my person? And because most artificial contraceptives were created to be used by women such as birth control pills and intra-uterine devices, the reputation of all women who choose to use artificial birth control will be in danger.

This ordinance upholds a culture of reproductive oppression against anyone who can get pregnant: women. This oppression is unfortunately scarily invisible, even to us who experience it, because it continues to be normalized and institutionalized. Being raised a devout Catholic without any reliable or scientifically accurate information about birth control or sex, thereby risking my health and the health of my future children, is a form of oppression. Needing a prescription to purchase a condom, is oppression. Having my decision to use artificial birth control judged as abortion is oppression. Being treated with hostility and shame for using artificial birth control is oppression. Not being able to get proper sex education from the barangay is oppression.

I oppose this ordinance because I believe the lives of women matter.

I oppose this ordinance because women should have the right to decide when and if they get pregnant, give birth, and raise children – not the barangay, nor the Church.

I oppose this ordinance because I believe that the right to control your own reproduction is a fundamental right and is protected under the Constitution and basic human rights ideals. I believe that the fundamental right includes the right to prevent pregnancy and the right to get pregnant, whether through natural or artificial means.

I oppose this ordinance because I do not believe that anyone should be legally compelled to expose their sex lives to the public.

I oppose this ordinance because I realize that my rights to birth control, to have children, and to make my own decisions hinge on my basic ability to decide when and if I reproduce.

I oppose this ordinance because I do not believe that people should be criminalized for exercising reproductive freedom and freedom of speech.

I oppose this ordinance because I am a woman and women deserve better.

Mr. Xerez-Burgos, thank you in anticipation of your kind consideration and I look forward to your reply*.

Marie Gonzalez

[*} Republic Act 9485 (2007), also known as the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, mandates that public officials must respond to letters of citizens within 5-10 days from receipt with a report on the action taken on the matter. This is to promote integrity, accountability, proper management of public affairs and public property.

The image used for this article was printed on shirts anti-Ordinance advocates wore at the public hearing. It was created by Julian Rodriguez.

Posted in Politics, Religion, SocietyComments (24)

Refuting Anti-RH rhetoric: Tilting Rice Mills (Part 1)

For those of you who haven’t heard of him, Manny Amador is an outspoken member of the Pro-Life Philippines group.

I’d run into him previously on an article covering last year’s escapade at the Manila Cathedral fracas, where he was attempting to defend Manalang’s vitriol by trying to lay the blame on the FF members for being blasphemers.

He also maintains a blog, wherein he periodically writes about his stance against the Reproductive Health bill, and where in he attempts to justify his opposition with data.

I say attempt in a very loose sense, in light of one of his recent articles, which tried to discredit the need for a Reproductive Health program by citing government plans to cut down on rice imports.

Manny’s article basically states this: A recent article states that the Philippine Government is planning to drastically cut the amount of rice it will be importing this 2011. According to National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Angelito Banayo, this was done because the gov’t already had a large surplus of rice accumulated in past years.

By Manny’s reasoning, this surplus translates to there being no food crisis among Filipino families; ergo, the issue of overpopulation is a boogeyman that the cabal of Pro-RH heathens (myself included) conjured up to scare the populace into supporting our agenda.

While he did get it right that past shortages are due to rice hoarders and rampant government corruption, Manny’s assertion that surplus = no overpopulation doesn’t hold much of a grain of truth; More so when one looks at other related studies.

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington D.C. reports that while the number of pinoys suffering from starvation has decreased over the past few decades, a good portion of RP’s population still suffer from lack of food.

Getting into specifics, the IFPRI’s Global Hunger Index (GHI) updated the score given to the Philippines from 19 in the 1990s, to 13 in their latest report. Here’s a lowdown of how those numbers are rated:

  • Less than 5 :Low Hunger Level
  • 5 – 9.9 :Moderate hunger
  • 10 – 19.9 : A serious problem
  • 20 – 29.9: Alarming
  • 30 and above :Extremely Alarming

You don’t need a degree in statistics to understand that while less pinoys are going hungry today than they did before, starvation remains a serious problem, whether or not our gov’t decided to cut down on rice imports.

What makes these figures especially disturbing is that a large percentage of those going hungry are our youth. A recent joint study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicates that from the time period from 2003 to 2006, approximately 12.8 million Filipino children below the age of 15 live in poverty, with 5.4 million of them being deprived at one point of one of their three basic necessities to life: Food, Water, and Sanitation.

A separate report by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) also found that 33.1 percent of the 100,000 schoolchildren they studied suffer from malnutrition, resulting in stunted growth.

Chronic malnutrition begins in infancy, the study suggested, with more than eight in 10 Philippine toddlers aged between six months and five years not eating enough to meet the recommended daily energy and nutrient intake.

Acute malnutrition, which reflects more recent setbacks such as illness or failing to eat properly over the past week, stood at 25.6 percent in 2008 among school children, up from 22.8 percent in 2005.

Aside from affecting their health, a related study by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) indicates that poverty prevents these children from receiving a proper education.

“An assessment of the situation points to poverty as the main cause of this lower-than-expected increase. This is further exacerbated by the high cost of schooling-related expenditures. High school students seeking employment to augment family income also contributed to the low increase in enrollment,” the NEDA report stated.

The Department of Education admitted that the country’s “volatile economic situation” is preventing children from going to school. Even with the “zero tuition” offer of the government, poor families are hindered by lack of employment, hunger and malnutrition, among other problems.

“Time and again parents have complained of financial obstacles,” said Kenneth Tirado, communications officer of DepEd.

I’ll concede that perhaps Manny is right – the overpopulation isn’t the issue.

Given the data I’ve managed to dig up however, the problem seems to be more of our inability to provide basic necessities for the population we already have.

It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to understand that most of the families these kids belong to would prefer to limit the children they have to a manageable number, to enable them to provide all of them with enough food to secure their physical well-being, and to properly fund their schooling to secure their mental well-being.

Manny Amador calls people like me doomsayers for going through the trouble of researching the sobering data I have provided here; I prefer to call it a rude awakening.

* And that wraps up Part 1 of my rebuttal for Mr. Amador. Join me again next week as I prepare a new piece to counter the second-half of his writings.

Posted in Personal, Politics, SocietyComments (0)

Who trusts the Military and Police?

If there is going to be any greasing, it is the wheels of justice ;).

The answer of Gibo in the Dec 2 debate left many wondering if he was skirting the question. His answer is actually draws from conclusions based an understanding of political science.

The police and the army suffer a negative reputation because of their association with corruption. Finding that the solution comes from our armed countrymen is an aberrant idea given the general Philippine mindset.

There is a system of political patronage that is going on with the army and police that is pretty easy to follow. The powerful politicians, warlords, and generals have the loyalties of the army and police through the control of resources that should be going to them and their families. This denies them the means to have a quality of life appropriate to their work, needs and risks.

One breaks the patronage system by making the army and police independent of their political patrons and dependent on a new status quo. They are also victims of circumstance. One doesn’t have to be destitute to be a victim, just have too much to lose.

The difference the police and army make is that they have means to enforce many of the laws already in place that can prevent and correct corruption. The police and the army are the key to better social equity. The assumption that they are beyond salvation is a gross and unfair generalization. If the army and the police were equipped and well compensated then it is to their self interest to perpetuate this such a system.

Where will someone get the money to raise, equip and improve the quality of life of our armed forces?
Get from the most abused sources of funds (e.i. Education, Pork Barrel, Public Works). Imagine the billions lost, going instead in to housing, benefits, equipment, and compensation to police and the army.

It is harder to try to cheat someone who has a gun. Its harder when the guy with a gun also has a lab, armed buddies with him, and likes his job.

The domino effect is that they will protect the journalists, civilian watchdogs, the judges, and persecutors who will bring justice. They remove the fear of reprisal and allow for swifter implementation of laws and action.

Posted in OthersComments (3)

Don't Associate Me with “Those” Critical Thinkers.

In Problem Solving, I use rationality to work with empirical data to come up with workable solutions. I then test these hypotheses and use the results to make a better solution depending on the time constraints and objectives. I am all about practical solutions, and it really gets to me when someone starts using Philosophy to suppress and manipulate valid evidence to their arbitrary purposes.

If you watched the presidential debate on December 2, you will notice some key problem-solving abilities lacking in many of the candidates. Particularly, observing most of presidentiables deny the existence of evidence of concepts that have long been proven, like Overpopulation, and how most of them cannot even think rationally. It is very evident when most of them would operate on removing a symptom, instead of using political science to find its root cause and affect a practical solution.

One may laugh at the fact that many of these politicians are not critical thinkers, but what is a worse realization is wondering how fewer are problem solvers. Some philosophers may flaunt their critical thinking, but many self proclaimed “critical thinkers” simply foster inaction.

These “critical thinkers” often engage in debates as a way to make them think they are actually contributing when in reality they are doing the opposite. They are “teaching the Controversy” and mixing rotten with the good data. They also make the problem seem more insurmountable, fostering the impression that no worthwhile solution is small enough to be practical, but big enough to change the status quo. So they are stuck on their armchairs lecturing and trying to flaunt their intellectual superiority. Who wants to listen to that crap? What they are doing is how non-theists view prayer.

The two points, Contemplative Inaction and Irrationality, are manifestations of self interest through denial. One definite juncture I have observed is that their choice of “action” is a result of the cost they are not willing to pay. So instead of paying, they deny the train of thought and action that lead towards its rational conclusion.

Denial is something we all do, because we need a certain tolerance to truth that will upset our internal balance. There is actually a time variable involved when introducing information to an established equilibrium. The problem with denial is when it overcomes our necessity to adapt and evolve in light of reason. This is true in my observed conclusions about these denialists.

I hope that when people read this, the can observe their own choices and see if they are caught up in their own denial that is preventing them from evolving. Another hope is that people will want to get the momentum of action, testing out their ideas and not being discouraged by failure.

Posted in Others, Politics, Religion, ScienceComments (19)

Philippine Politics and the Church

I once read a quotation somewhere in the Internet that says “If you believe the separation of Church and State, you don’t know anything about religion.” Maybe that’s why Philippine politics and the church go side by side.

Before election, these politicians who are running for public office woo the church for the vote, especially those churches with reputation of a solid vote for supporters. We have a church here that when their supreme pontiff chose someone to support, the whole congregation will vote for that person. Now, that is an advantage for voting numbers.

The Roman Catholic Church includes in their mass special an anouncement on voting awareness. Sometimes the Catholic Church shows it favors a certain politician who supports their issues (example: on birth control).

Who will not forget Bro. Eddie Villanueva’s attempt to run in public office in the last Presidential election (and yes folks…he’s running again in the coming 2010 election) or Eli Soriano’s bid for senatorial slate (that went down the drain when COMELEC announced that he was a nuisance candidate).

In the case of the running priest, Fr. Robert Reyes, all I can say is there is nothing wrong in engaging in public rallies about the government, it’s every Filipino’s right…but wearing a priest outfit on rallies? What is he trying to prove?

Also, why carry a statue of the Virgin Mary, rosaries and the Bible and say that it’s just a public prayer rally…uh a public prayer rally with people shouting “Down with the Government”? Hmmmmm…I thought people in prayers shout “halleluiahs”? Have you forgotten the very words of your founder when he said, “Give Caesar what is unto Caesar”?

But whom can blame these men of God who are entering Philippine politics. St. Ignatius Loyola once said, “Whenever one’s business is not worth minding, one often minds other people’s business.” Maybe priests and pastors are getting more exited in politics these days because matters inside the church are getting weary, repetitious, monotonous and utterly boring.

The American president Ulysses S. Grant has a good parting word that every Filipino should think. “Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church and the private schools, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separated.”

Filipinos, maybe it’s a good time to start thinking.
Magising na kayo!17518034_6d9144cd43

Posted in Politics, ReligionComments (4)

On the Church's NFP-only stance: The case of Texas

It’s no secret the Catholic Church has been strongly opposed to the pending Reproductive Health Bill, with many of their more misguided devout  followers branding the Bill’s proponents as heretics, pro-abortionists, and murderers, among more colorful names.

If the Church is willing to go through hell and high water to keep what they’ve called an anti-life policy out of congress, then what alternative have they promoted? An abstinence only program. One that teaches that no sexual activity is allowed out of marriage (and even then, sex in marriage has to be aimed at creating a child).

It’s like telling somebody in driving school that the safest way to drive is not to get in a car. Read the full story

Posted in Politics, ReligionComments (0)

Free Thinkers Political Watch Out

Estrada vs Lacson. What we can hope for is that they bloody each other enough that what ever power is left is redistributed to a larger and diverse group (ideally some free thinking groups). An negative scenario is any one side may get back lost political capital, or worse consolidating the loser’s. The worse case scenario for everyone is an end of hostilities and deals that focus their remaining resources.

Read the full story

Posted in PoliticsComments (0)

Antique Governor is a Catholic lapdog

We’re for natural family planning, says Antique governor

MANILA, June 23, 2009—The Catholic Church has found an ally in Antique Governor Salvacion Z. Perez when it comes to the issue of natural family planning.

Speaking to CBCPNews late Monday morning, Perez said she have been going around the province informing the people of the need to adopt the natural family planning.

While the “natural” method is useful, it cannot be the only method available to women. It is not as effective as condoms, pills, injectibles, or IUDs, nor can it prevent the spread of venereal diseases. It is sad to see that while the church is losing support from its own laity, self-serving politicians have taken the slack and are enforcing the church’s dogmas to their constituents.

(Cross-posted from Verbal Razors)

Posted in SocietyComments (1)