FF Podcast 005: Ayala Alabang Village Ordinance vs. RH

In this episode we recap what happened at the public hearing on the Ayala Alabang Village Ordinance that, among other things, required prescriptions for contraceptives — even condoms.

We talk about how the ordinance was created, what the anti-ordinance advocates are doing to stop it, and what we’re going to do next, given recent developments and all that’s happened at today’s hearing.

Joining us is Kevin Punzalan, one of the organizers of the anti-ordinance advocates and admin of the We Oppose the Ayala Alabang Ordinance 01 of 2011 Facebook group. Enjoy!

You may also download the podcast file here.

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92 comments

  1. Martin, I hope you don't mind, but I'd prefer it if we continue this discussion over at the Filipino Freethinkers forums.
    https://filipinofreethinkers.org/forum/

    The comment boxes aren't well-suited for long replies, and at least the forums have the benefit of format tools to make it easier to highlight the important points of out discussion.

    That, and it's getting cumbersome navigating all our ever-growing exchanges.

    • Sure, do you want me to migrate the comments over to a specific site? Take the lead. I'm not sure which category to plug this conversation into.

  2. Martin, I hope you don’t mind, but would I’d prefer it if we continue this discussion over at the Filipino Freethinkers forums.

    https://filipinofreethinkers.org/forum/

    The comment boxes aren’t well-suited for long replies, and at least the forums have the benefit of format tools to make it easier to highlight the important points of out discussion.

    That, and it’s getting cumbersome navigating all our ever-growing exchanges.

  3. @Twin-skies. Hi! I thought I’d start a new thread because the format of this commenting gizmo is pretty confusing. Before I dive into this, I wanted to say that I appreciate our conversation here. It’s one of the few thoughtful and incisive conversations I’ve had about this topic. The RH bill proponents I’ve spoken to that are 100% fully resigned to the bill in its entirety have resorted to ideological debate. We’ve gone into the research, which is important for all to do.

    I wish we were the congressmen of our country. But I know this effort won't hold any water in the final analysis. Regardless, this has been a very intellectually satisfying exercise.

    • SEX EDUCATION

      [“Because they're "Too American?" Now you're just being racist.]

      I apologize, I do not mean to be racist. I see America for its merits. I’ve worked for many American companies (a global consumer healthcare company based in New Jersey, a financial services firm based in New York, and now a management consulting firm based in Boston) and I owe my graduate education to an Ivy League school in New York. I just meant to say I don’t agree that they are to be emulated because they haven’t figured this out yet.

      [The reasons I prefer following a US model of sex education are simple: It works, and they have the data to back it up with.]

      I can’t agree with you here. Statistics out of Guttmacher Institute (themselves) suggest that they don’t seem to work. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-Teen-Sex-Ed.htm

      “• Many sexually experienced teens (46% of males and 33% of females) did not receive formal instruction about contraception before they first had sex.[11]
      • About one in four adolescents (23% of females and 28% of males) received abstinence education without receiving any instruction about birth control in 2006–2008 [11], compared with 8–9% in 1995.[12]”

      The wording they use try to cover up this fact. But on the first bullet, it suggests those that DID receive formal instruction about contraception before they first had sex comprise more than half of sexually experienced teens (54% of males and 77% of females). The second bullet suggests there’s a shift of teaching methodology into abstinence-only instruction, compared to ’95. Then earlier in the page, it says that the period “Between 1995 and 2006–2008, the proportion of teens aged 15–17 who had ever engaged in sexual intercourse declined from 38% to 28%. Among teens aged 18-19, that proportion declined from 68% in 1995 to 60% in 2006–2008.” I’m slowly wondering if Planned Parenthood is starting to learn from that Bush/Republican research you’ve posted 3 times over.

    • WHY IS THIS THE CASE?

      I really want to revisit this dichotomy between RISK AVOIDANCE and RISK REDUCTION. I will argue that this isn’t a false dichotomy, because they are mutually exclusive. But not on content, on intent. RISK AVOIDANCE would constitute abstinence-only programs (or as I suggest later on, abstinence-best, ignorance-free programs). The intent is to frame abstinence as the best choice, and contraception as a severely poor second choice (without hiding scientific facts). RISK REDUCTION includes the comprehensive approach: abstinence + contraception. But with the intent of saying, “just in case you’re like every other teen” or “here’s a plan B since we know you’ll likely have sex”. There isn’t any false dichotomy here; they are truly mutually exclusive. More on this below.

      Just an interruption: You quoted a few sources that I cannot accept in this conversation. http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/a-six-pregnanchttp://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/no_se… These articles are (1) anecdotal, (2) published in “The Stranger” and “Pandagon” (their mascot is a panda…?!), and (3) “And from where I'm standing, the people fucking things up are these self-proclaimed "moral guardians" in the republican party, the right wing, and conservatives.” <I’m not defending the Christians or the Republicans. We need a better solution and I don’t suggest we pick from what’s currently being done; but you have faulty conclusions again. See below.

    • RESEARCH CONCERNS

      You challenged the UPenn research by saying “Its test group is far too small for us to determine if it will work on large scale – 662 African-American Philadelphia public school students is hardly representative of all major US demographics. “ I agree with you. And I would even point out to strengthen your argument further that it also just covers a period of 24 months. So longitudinality is also an issue. (The researchers were clear that this was a pilot study.) BUT with such interesting, unprecedented results, I would say that the reasonable thing to do is explore if it WOULD be viable on a larger scale. This is typical of a novel idea. They’ll do a pilot before they scale it up.

      It would be important to note tho that it seems the curriculum they used in the UPenn research compared to the Bush administration’s was qualitatively different in the sense that there wasn’t any covering up of research data by the instructors, or disparagement of contraception. So I’d consider the UPenn approach as a NEW approach.

      Your study that criticizes the Bush spending WRONGLY correlates the spending on abstinence-only programs and the uptick of teen pregnancy and abortion. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends.pdf This research talks about the decrease of pregnancies leading up to 2005, the lowest point for the US. But this is where the mistake is made: “Funding for abstinence-only education has steadily increased since 1997, when it was a mere $9 million dollars. The year after, it jumped to $96.5 million, and since then has steadily increased to the tune of about $10 million to $20 million each year. As of 2009, it was at $200 million. If abstinence-only education is indeed to blame for the new rise in the teen-pregnancy rate, then it would have made sense to see gains much earlier than 2005. Particularly between 1997 and 1998, when the funding of abstinence-only education increased tenfold, there should have been some indication of an uptick. But there wasn’t: in that year, the teen-pregnancy rate dropped by about 3 percent, pretty similar to drops in other years. Despite a consistent increase in abstinence-only education funds, we did not start seeing an increase in teen-pregnancy rates (or even a slowdown in the rate at which they were decreasing) until the mid-2000s.” http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/the-gaggle/2010/01/
      There must be another factor.

      Looking at this, I think your conclusion that “abstinence only programs don’t work” is flawed. What I’d probably accept as a conclusion from this analysis is “there must be a factor in 2005 that will account for the growth in teen pregnancies beyond programmatic spending”. Something I’d look at is if there was a change in curriculum content in years leading to it. Or other things. Does that sound like a reasonable conclusion?

    • So I will tend to agree with your article here (in general): http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/article/abstinence_only_fail…. But since it needed a succinct article title, it seems like it makes a blanket statement on abstinence-only programs. I looked into the first research it quotes (Through the looking glass: Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and their impact on adolescent human rights http://www.springerlink.com/content/l4578574605v7…. And it analyzed programs that took on an “abstinence only, ignorance only” approach. This is an insult to our freedom.

      We cannot promote ignorance and hope to enhance people’s freedom. We agree on this. BUT we cannot also talk about sex as if it is something outside of our scope of choice, and speak to children as if they will just fall into this hole. True sex education must provide the science behind why abstinence is still the best option, and use best values formation practices to enable kids to be masters of themselves and be deliberate in choosing sex. This is qualitatively different from what I’ve heard all the RH bill proponents are saying that… “people will eventually do it anyway, so give them plan B”.

      Which leads me to point out your faulty use of my analogy of drunk driving. See, drunk driving is ENTIRELY within your freedom to choose. But getting into an accident is, as the word accident implies, is outside one’s area of choice. So a risk reduction approach to things outside our area of choice makes sense. But the problem in using a risk reduction approach to things inside our area of choice reduces the act, in this case choosing sex, to inevitability. So in a sense, a risk reduction approach creates a responsibility-free view of sex; it de-emphasizes that the act is one of consequence. So if we are truly about pro-choice, let’s push the envelope a bit and stand for freedom. If I promote a program that doesn’t acknowledge, thereby failing to strengthen, the person’s capacity to choose, am I really pro-choice? “if people can't help it”… this is rubbish. But I understand it is difficult. But it would be ethically wrong to have programs that will make it easier for people to choose risky behavior by not presenting the risks transparently.

      After saying all this, we need to keep in mind that neither the UPenn study nor this analysis of Bush’s programs are generalizable to the Philippines. You make a statistical mistake in saying that the Bush program research is “more generalizeable to the general public” than the UPenn study in the context of our conversation regarding the Philippines. Comparing the research sample will not give you a sense of applicability to the Philippines alone (and mind you, 600+ students would constitute a statistically stable sample for that population. Research saturation will support this). The only way we can claim generalizablility is if we have a research sample that is (1) Filipino, or (2) another population with substantial similarity. And even if we had that study, we’d still have to make certain assumptions about other things like generational gaps or whether a centralized versus decentralized approach to curriculum creation makes sense.

      This is the flaw of science. We can’t let research decide for us. But they help guide us. So I would hold your judgment about you preferring to “following a US model of sex education [because] It works, and they have the data to back it up with.” A true free thinker will never agree to say something like this.

      • [True sex education must provide the science behind why abstinence is still the best option, and use best values formation practices to enable kids to be masters of themselves and be deliberate in choosing sex. This is qualitatively different from what I’ve heard all the RH bill proponents are saying that… “people will eventually do it anyway, so give them plan B”. ]

        No. True science will explain why abstinence works, and then elaborates on its strengths and weaknesses, and then introduces other family planning methods, as well as their other strenghts and weaknesses.

        • We have no argument here, in theory. But there is still a need to promote abstinence rather than contraception use. And I find it quite unreasonable for you to argue for balanced reporting when there are clear advantages to promote abstinence. And comprehensive sex ed in the US may actually be doing this already.

          It is quite utopian of you to imagine a sex education that can achieve a complete balance between the approaches. To do so, I'd imagine you would have to do a content analysis on the material. After reviewing the research, and a content analysis study and its critiques, I'm actually slowly warming up to comprehensive sex education in the US (still not sure if there's one source since the law seems to decentralize curriculum authorship). But you may not agree to adapt this to the Philippines because they don't seem to provide balanced reporting as you so desire. There seem to be greater emphasis on abstinence. Look at page 2… and see beyond the Republican tricks they're trying to pull (they are full of paradox, it perplexes me). http://www.guttmacher.org/media/evidencecheck/200

          Moreover, I have given you sufficient evidence why a state should prefer abstinence over sex with contraception. So it makes no sense to have balanced reporting. An abstinent person (1) runs no risk of STD infection, (2) no risk of unwanted pregnancy, and (3) no cost on the state. In the US, the estimated cost for every averted birth (program + distribution costs divided by reduction in unwanted pregnancy) is $6,800.

          So we were both mistaken. You were mistaken that comprehensive sex education was balanced, cold science. I was mistaken that (1) comprehensive sex education was centralized in the US (I'm still not sure about this), and that (2) all comprehensive sex education curricula promoted plan B, risk reduction thinking. It seems like the comprehensive sex education curricula in the content analysis research I read would constitute "secular, abstinence-best, ignorance free sex ed".

      • [(and mind you, 600+ students would constitute a statistically stable sample for that population. ]

        That's 600 African-American students. In 6th Grade. Explain to me how that stands for an accurate sample population that can be used to justify largescale implementation of a program.

        • (In connection to prior comment) The difference between the two curricula in this UPenn study is focus. The more successful outcomes (delay in sexual debut) emerged from curricula that didn't disparage contraception, but provided more focus on abstinence. So it seems like it is worth looking at how much focus on abstinence over contraception is optimal in postponing sexual debut. This research seems to suggest greater focus on abstinence will lead to greater chances of delayed sexual debut.

          Now to your question.

          First, a crash course on program impact research. You see, as with any new idea that is tested, you'll need focused population testing first over representative population testing. Any program impact researcher knows that. The former gives you leverage to (1) gain confidence in more expensive large scale research, and (2) seek a grant large enough to do the latter. But let me demonstrate how it makes absolute sense for the pilot research to focus on this population.

          Your favorite institute Guttmacher Institute gives us some statistics http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-ATSRH.html

          "Black and Hispanic women have the highest teen pregnancy rates (126 and 127 per 1,000 women aged 15–19, respectively)"
          "In 2006, the rate among black males aged 15–19 who became fathers (34 per 1,000) was more than twice that among whites (15 per 1,000). [27]"

          So if I were to create programs to decrease the aggregate teen pregnancy and fatherhood rates, I'd really have to go with a focused population, and in this case, the African-American population.

          Does that satisfy your incessant questioning?

          What you fail to respond to tho is how I've successfully challenged the research that you claim to be representative of the US and generalizable to the Philippines. Or do you agree that you made some faulty conclusions? You're just as engaged in twisting research as the politicians in the US are.

      • [So in a sense, a risk reduction approach creates a responsibility-free view of sex; it de-emphasizes that the act is one of consequence.]

        Now you're resorting to the "sex education leads to promiscuity" argument. Can you elaborate on how a comprehensive sex education program will lead to this? Better yet, provide us with a link to a source that proves this.

        • No, my argument isn't against sex education. I'm not even against having sex education. This is poor re-framing. I'm arguing that "the TYPE of sex education will impact sexual activity." I'm against contraception-focused sex education, and pro-ignorance abstinence sex education. Neither honor the person's freedom. A better way to capture what I see as the best route we should take (see, I'm honest enough to admit this conversation is helping me understand the issues better): "secular, abstinence-focused, ignorance-free sex education".

          There is no need to prove that the type of sex education can impact sexual activity.

        • And here's another reason why you should support my RISK AVOIDANCE, abstinence-focused, ignorance-free stance.

          Some economists from UPenn did some economic modeling to correlate the promotion of contraception and its impact on sexual activity. http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?a

          "Modern contraceptives have profoundly a§ected the calculus for instilling sexual mores, leading to a de-stigmatization of sex."

          Makes perfect sense. Because increasingly effective contraceptives reduce the social and economic cost of sex. So in economic terms, when the price drops, the demand climbs. This tells me that we need to ensure our abstinence-focused ignorance-free sex education does not undermine the value of sex. Especially for the women. They must see sex as expensive, and not as cheap, and certainly not something you can cheapen through the use of contraception.

          Are you starting to see how unreasonable your challenges sound?

    • MY PROPOSAL

      We need a secular, abstinence-best, ignorance-free sex education (this is poor wording I apologize). It must emphasize the value of abstinence. It must also present the full biological, psychological, sociological risks associated to early-age sex and contraception, not as a normal/typical choice, but as a poor choice next to abstinence, without sensational disparagement. (My regret is that we haven’t done a pilot study in the Philippines on something like this to help the decision on this RH bill). We agree on the ignorance-free sex education. Do you agree on the abstinence-best approach?
      I agree that secular abstinence-only sex ed is poor wording and as it is, an oxymoron.

      By the way, I looked into the links you sent as if to rebut what I said about Chlamydia and about how condom use is not risk-free. <a href="http://(http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.htm,” target=”_blank”>(http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.htm, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa053284) You may want to read them again, because they do not refute my statement at all. I said that condoms aren’t completely risk-free. These articles you pulled out agree with me. “use of male latex condoms can reduce (though not eliminate) the risk of STD transmission” “The incidence of genital HPV infection was 37.8 per 100 patient-years at risk among women whose partners used condoms for all instances of intercourse”. So yes, it does reduce. But it still has its risks. A 38% risk of getting HPV and passing it on to my spouse and children is a risk too high for any reasonable person to take.

      Twin_Skies, let’s stop throwing around research links without reading them and being critical about whether they truly support our statements.

      • No, you said "Condoms can't protect you from Chlamydia."

        I copied that word-for-word from your previous statement – anybody here can just as easily find them.

        And the links I have provided are very explicit in stating that condoms do offer a degree of protection to the disease.

        "Risk Free" was a condition you added only after I replied.

        Now Martin, let us stop moving goalposts when one's argument is stopped point-blank. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_the_goalposts

        • You are certainly knowledgeable in your debate lingo. Thank you for catching me on a technical. I guess to be accurate, I should have said "Condoms can't protect you COMPLETELY from Chlamydia." But really, Twin-Skies, think about it. Is a 38% risk of HPV (and not all strains are curable) protection at all? (your website doesn't provide a failure rate for Chlamydia) Degrees of protection…?! I'm going to call you out on your bullshit right here. You are quite the unnecessary risk taker. You'd make a horrible businessman. And I wouldn't trust you to make legislative decisions for my children's future.

          But there's a bigger issue here.

          You fail to address the substance of my argument. Can I interpret your silence on the more salient parts as acceptance?

    • [If the Catholic Church wants to teach it theology, that is fine with me. However, if their theology intentionally tries to make people into biased misogynists, I think we have to draw a line, and it's only common sense to call them out for their bullshit.]

      From a policy, resource-management, macro-economic standpoint, ~90% of students are in the public school system. So I’d just focus our efforts on that sector.

      But yes, let’s also call the Church out on bigotry and their oppressive approaches (I do not contest that this Church, local and global, has its own faults and they must be held fully accountable to the public; but they’ve also been good to the world in many other ways i.e. Mother Theresa’s work, John Paul 2’s role in the fall of communism, etc. So credit where due. And justice where due.). I understand completely the tendency to bash the church since its actions haven’t been diplomatic at all. But there’s still a need to elevate public opinion and not resort to dramatization and overstatements.

      Moreover, for the state to meddle into religious institutional rights of its constituents is a violation of the constitution. So I wouldn’t go there. (despite the clear meddling the Church is doing into state’s affairs)

      [other parts on Church systematic cover-ups and removing them from influencing the outcomes of the RH bill, and rejecting all forms of international]

      I think we can agree that we both have love and hate relationships with both the Catholic Church and US institutions. I agree that we should take them out of the picture. I would then ask the congress to give us seats in the house so we can help pass a better bill! =)

      • [But yes, let’s also call the Church out on bigotry and their oppressive approaches (I do not contest that this Church, local and global, has its own faults and they must be held fully accountable to the public; but they’ve also been good to the world in many other ways i.e. Mother Theresa’s work, John Paul 2’s role in the fall of communism, etc. So credit where due. And justice where due.). ]

        1. Do the acts of any of the examples you have provided justify, in any way, the church's mishandling of its rapists?

        2. I'm not too crazy about either example provided. John Paul II was also know for his stance against contraception and condoms as means of preventing the spread of AIDs, despite the fact that various anti-AIDs organizations have stressed again and again that responsible condom use is key to stopping the spread of the disease. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29

        Ditto for Mother Teresa. Instead of empowering women and uplifting the poor, she instead celebrated their poverty, with funding that could have been used to create better opportunities for them squandered on building convents.
        http://www.slate.com/id/2090083/

        [Moreover, for the state to meddle into religious institutional rights of its constituents is a violation of the constitution. So I wouldn’t go there. (despite the clear meddling the Church is doing into state’s affairs)]

        Excuse me, but how is the state meddling in church affairs?

        Even when the RH Bill's sex ed section was mandatory, there is no clause dictating that the people undergoing these classes will be forced to practice any of the method taught. All it aims to do is to give them knowledge – it is up to them how they will use it, based on their personal circumstances.

        It is actually the church that is imposing its beliefs on the state by resorting to bullying tactics, threats of civil disobedience, and delaying dialogue with congress.

        [I think we can agree that we both have love and hate relationships with both the Catholic Church and US institutions. I agree that we should take them out of the picture. I would then ask the congress to give us seats in the house so we can help pass a better bill! =) ]

        No. We cannot agree on this.

        Whatever love I have for the Vatican is long since dead, and until the whole institution cleans itself up and stops shoving its hand into local gov't business, I offer them nothing but contempt.

        As for the US, do keep in mind that the more comprehensive research on the topics of reproductive health are sourced to them, as are several of the more credible health organizations worldwide. And until that paradigm changes, I'm still going to refer to them as a source, regardless of your poorly veiled postmodernist slant.

        And no, posting a smiley does not make you my friend. It just makes you look like like a naive, pandering prick.

        • [on the church, John Paul 2, Mother Theresa]

          No, nothing can justify these acts. NOTHING.

          Well, John Paul 2 was a good person… but he wasn't a god. He didn't have all the solutions to our world's problems. And I can't imagine why you'd place that expectation on anyone. So sure, you'll definitely find some acts of omission. And feel free to hold your opinions about him or Mother Theresa. Get your catharsis from this if you wish. But this is out of scope.

          Interestingly, Hitchens, who you seem to admire, shares a very postmodernist, deconstructionist view of the world. He's also very controversial. Which is fine. He can nitpick the world and you can join him.

          Sorry, I used poor language. I meant to say that you hate the Vatican but love the US. And I love the Vatican and hate the US. (This feels like an oversimplification, yes?)

          The US certainly has comprehensive research. I do not contest that. It also has much credibility. But you make it seem like all their research supports the actions of the US government, Planned Parenthood, or the UN. And that American scholars all agree with what the US is doing in its population control programs. So please be more nuanced in your hero worship of the United States. I've already said the Church should be given justice where due. Please have a more balanced appraisal of the US.

          Oh, and did you notice I extensively used US research in my arguments against you?

          [And no, posting a smiley does not make you my friend. It just makes you look like like a naive, pandering prick.]

          Hey man. No need for aggression. Have you ever heard of the proverb, "The first to raise their voice loses the argument"? Or "Lose your cool and look like a fool"? This is unnecessary, dear free thinker.

    • [Most of our poorer families are unable to send whatever children they already have as well, due to them having too many mouths to feed those that do go to school are reportedly malnourished, and their numbers only increase with time. ]

      Sorry, but I don’t agree that a condom or ligation, or less kids for that matter, will bring them out of poverty. Reposting: The money a mother will save from having less kids is not enough to invest in, say, a microbusiness which will ultimately get her out of poverty (among other ways). She needs access to credit and technical training. Let's remember that average family size is 5 (so to consider a dozen kids would constitute an outlier), and the recommended size is 2. That's reducing the family size to 4 people, from 7 people (40% reduction). So playing with the $2 a day poverty threshold, and assuming (a) both parents bring home $2 each a day, (b) each member gets a fair share of the money, and (c) they are able to save any excess money, we're talking about a savings of $1.6 a day. That's $40 a month (25 working days, assuming). That's enough to start a sari-sari store, but it certainly isn't enough to take her family out of poverty. So having less kids, at best, will marginally help a poor family. I’m not debating a pro-natalist stance. I don’t think the poor should go from 5 kids to 12 kids. And it would be very narrow-minded of me to think of financials as the sole driver of responsible parenthood (there’s parental attention that impacts student outcomes, impacting prospects for better jobs). I think the way to address the root of the issue is to get them more involved in the formal economy, and teach them what responsible parenthood is (ignorance-free). But the RH bill seems to be a distribution of free contraception, which is an assault to parents’ dignity, rich or poor. Access is ok. But state-funded access is a waste of money. (We agree on this already) A good education will give the 19 y/o girl a reason to delay child birth to her 20s. That already will reduce your family size. And manage the population. Education will also allow them to participate in the formal economy.

      The best contraceptive is development.

      I understand, tho, that the link between population and economics is complex. Primarily because of the intangibility of human capital. The state can spend $2,000/year/student and get a college graduate who ends up as a call center agent. Or the state can spend $2,000/year/student and have the student drop out, and then later on become the next Henry Sy who will bring in so much material wealth to the nation. But one thing we know is sure (and that we can agree with the US about), that if we invest in human capital, it will reap its long-term rewards. This type of capital’s unique ability to generate wealth through the combination of knowledge, skills and creativity has a geometric, rather than an algebraic, progression. Human capital isn’t a cost, as you seem to see it. It’s an investment. So we need to move away from the Malthusian economics (circa 1800) that the RH bill is based on (humans are exponential burdens and resources are scarce). And look at people as capital investments (reference: Shultz). The RH bill’s family planning program looks pro-poor, but only in the short-term and in increments. If we truly want to be pro-poor, we need something else, something more.

      • No, the best contraceptives is, well, education.

        And as for your suggestion of better employment, I don't see why we can't have both, and I find it intellectually dishonest that you'd try to trick us into thinking that

        It's like going on a diet : You want the person to get thin, you need to give them a comprehensive program that involves proper nutrition, and exercise.

        Focusing on only one renders the program only fractionally effective; I see a similar case here for poverty alleviation: Better employment opportunities is always good, but it's made even more effective once a family learns to live within their means (ie. having only as many kids as they plan).
        http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/21245/

        [But state-funded access is a waste of money.]

        I did not agree on that. Stop putting words in my mouth.

        • [No, the best contraceptives is, well, education. ]

          As opposed to what, development? No argument here. One includes the other. Why are we splitting hairs?

          [And as for your suggestion of better employment, I don't see why we can't have both, and I find it intellectually dishonest that you'd try to trick us into thinking that ]

          Wait, don't judge my intention. I'm not trying to trick anyone.

          Sure, we can certainly have both. But as with any reality, we've got scarce resources. And you seem to agree that population control programs have merely short-term gains but long-term costs. And since we seem to agree on this (I can't imagine how you'd prove it a sustainable policy), I'd not only deprioritize it in my budget. I'd totally rationalize it.

          I don't want to just give a man a fish. I'd like to teach him how to fish.

          But even if you think we have enough money… (looks like the US will foot the entire bill) if you refer to the study that correlates contraception and sexual activity… there's reason to believe that there are trade offs to this approach. But education and development programs don't seem to have any trade offs.

          There's already free access to contraception (well, sans Ayala Alabang, maybe). Let's leave it that way. Let the free market do its thing.

          [It's like going on a diet : You want the person to get thin, you need to give them a comprehensive program that involves proper nutrition, and exercise. ]

          Did you just draw a parallel between contraceptives and proper nutrition and exercise??

          Firstly, how are condoms and pills an additive solution? If I were to use your analogy, pills and condoms would be more properly conceived as deprivation. The reason why proper nutrition works isn't because you deprive the person of junk food. But you give good food in lieu of the junk. So this is a great analogy for seeking out programs that promote positives and not simply reduce negatives. This isn't a false dichotomy, in case you'll throw that my way. They are mutually exclusive actions with mutually exclusive implications to policy.

          The beauty about positive policy is that it brings about a reversal of negatives. But it doesn't seem to be reciprocal.

          [I did not agree on that. Stop putting words in my mouth.]

          Sorry about that. I think I confused you with another commenter.

    • CONSPIRACY THEORY

      [Regardless of the US' agenda for our nation and whatever conspiracy theories are about, the fact remains that our women are dying unnecessarily because they lack access to proper reproductive health education and facilities. ]

      Yes, I don’t dispute this. We need to get them reproductive health education and facilities immediately. We need an RH bill now. Just not this one.

      [The reality too is that there is a growing danger of an AIDs epidemic in the Philippines, and while we have a remarkably low incidence of AIDs, it is more due to unexpected circumstance rather than a coordinated effort to fight the disease.]

      This is an entire discussion in itself. But suffice it to say, we can’t follow the US’s lead on this. Nor Thailand’s. They don’t have success stories to tell. We also need something targeted, since we’re talking about a growing yet still low incidence of AIDs. For instance (I’m going to be lazy and pull out references from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_the_Phil… 67% of HIV/AIDS cases come from homosexual/bisexual modes of infection. I do not mean to sound bigoted. But really, if I were to help this statistic, the immediate reasonable thing to do is create a targeted program for this population. Yes, I understand, it may be discriminatory. So maybe mass communication isn’t the best route (i.e. “All men interested in gay sex are required to undergo special sex education in the health center). I would imagine having the secular abstinence-best, ignorance-free sex education will help this statistic. And this solution would be a significant departure from the influence of the US and its minions, the international organizations.

      • [I would imagine having the secular abstinence-best, ignorance-free sex education will help this statistic. ]

        Again with the oxymoron. I already told you that a secular sex education program will NOT favor one family planning method over any other – it will treat each with equal validity, assuming there is data proving their effectiveness.

        • Refer to prior comment. Comprehensive sex education already seems to favor abstinence. Those types of programs are already showing delayed sexual debut. It would be unreasonable for us to consider balanced reporting sex education.

          Secular abstinence-focused, ignorance free sex ed isn't an oxymoron. This is something new you're learning today.

      • [And this solution would be a significant departure from the influence of the US and its minions, the international organizations. ]

        Careful old chap, your anti-imperialism is leaking out.

        • Sorry, is this too much free thinking for a man of your intelligence?

          But as mentioned, I stand corrected. We need to now talk about levels of focus, because focus seems to be on abstinence already.

      • [Yes, I don’t dispute this. We need to get them reproductive health education and facilities immediately. We need an RH bill now. Just not this one. ]

        You're not doing a very good job of selling yours either. From where I'm standing, the only reason you've given for not wanting this RH Bill is that you think it is "too American." Kindly elaborate on why this is wrong.

        [But really, if I were to help this statistic, the immediate reasonable thing to do is create a targeted program for this population. Yes, I understand, it may be discriminatory. So maybe mass communication isn’t the best route (i.e. “All men interested in gay sex are required to undergo special sex education in the health center). I would imagine having the secular abstinence-best, ignorance-free sex education will help this statistic. And this solution would be a significant departure from the influence of the US and its minions, the international organizations. ]

        Regardless of statistics, there are still non-gays who going to be infected with AIDs, and I think any education program tat will not address their needs as well is going to be half-baked. Sure, I agree to a specialized program, but nobody is excused from ignoring the others.

        • [You're not doing a very good job of selling yours either. From where I'm standing, the only reason you've given for not wanting this RH Bill is that you think it is "too American." Kindly elaborate on why this is wrong. ]

          To begin with, my only issues with the bill are (1) mandatory sex ed, (2) penalty for exercise of conscience by healthcare workers, (3) state-funding of contraceptives. The first is already solved. Have I not touched on the others?

          No, I don't think it's just "too American". Actually, the penalty for exercise of conscience is too radical to even get passed in the US. So in that sense, it's not American. Neither was mandatory sex ed. That was also too radical for Americans.

          [Regardless of statistics, there are still non-gays who going to be infected with AIDs, and I think any education program tat will not address their needs as well is going to be half-baked. Sure, I agree to a specialized program, but nobody is excused from ignoring the others.]

          Seems like we agree that comprehensive sex education is the answer for the public. (We just don't agree on abstinence focus.) Then we support this population through some specialized programs.

    • [I would go out on a limb and say that the existence of Kissinger's report only drives home the point that we need to be able to develop a proper reproductive health bill. An empowered and educated population is far more in control of their own lives, and are far less likely to be hoodwinked by outside influences.]

      I completely agree! So we need a program that will really help empower Filipinos and not resort to the “in case I can’t control myself” slash Planned Parenthood Sex Ed mindset.

      But what brings me extreme sadness is that the money from international aid has blinded our politicians (Noynoy included) from seeking out better solutions than those offered by the US. Do we have any hope to fight these outside influences??

      • [But what brings me extreme sadness is that the money from international aid has blinded our politicians (Noynoy included) from seeking out better solutions than those offered by the US. Do we have any hope to fight these outside influences?? ]

        Kindly elaborate in what way said funds have blinded Noy, and kindly elaborate on what you think is a vialble solution. And please, none of that "secular asbstinence" rhetoric again.

        Any program that claims to be secular will be run based on the evidence presented, and not based on ideologies.

        Studies have indicated that abstinence-only programs fail when implemented largescale, while comprehensive sex education works. Period.

        • [Kindly elaborate in what way said funds have blinded Noy, and kindly elaborate on what you think is a vialble solution.]

          By blinded, I mean there doesn't seem to be any signs that better solutions are being sought. He was ready to sign it into law last February. We don't even have any pilot studies done locally to guide this decision. And I'm hardly satisfied with Section 16. It does not provide much guidance when we go into program creation. It just seems like they are convinced this is the best law out there.

          For a viable solution… other than all that I've said in these comment chains… A viable next step is to begin to test all our US-based assumptions on pilot areas in the Philippines for the sex education. Let's pilot various degrees of abstinence focus in our sex education (since we've narrowed down that abstinence focus is the norm in comprehensive sex education). Then let's deploy those healthcare workers immediately to provide primary care.


          All in all, I see how you've cherry picked some peripheral issues in my arguments, but failed to respond to my challenges to your premises and conclusions. You've resorted to desperate statements like…

          [Studies have indicated that abstinence-only programs fail when implemented largescale, while comprehensive sex education works. Period.] (Your large scale study was sadly attacked and you provided no response, and your appraisal of comprehensive sex education is monadic so you can say that it works, but not that it works better than a more abstinence-focused program. Yet I agree comprehensive sex education as it is (not what you think it is, i.e. balanced reporting) is a step in the right direction.)

          Oh by the way, it's fine to say that we agree on some things. I notice you haven't gotten around to acknowledging that at all. It doesn't take away from your credibility, and it tells me and the readers of this site that you're intellectually honest and modest. I'm glad to be able to agree with you on some points, and having learned a tremendous amount of things in this discussion.

  4. Hi! Thanks for the response. Some ideas…

    [That aspect's already been resolved: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/216021/nation/rh-bill…. But if I had it my way, I'd keep it mandatory – I've gotten very tired of "religious beliefs" being used as an excuse to remain ignorant. ]

    This is great news! We're getting somewhere. And sorry, I don't agree with you, because if we had it your way, this would be coercive. It would be disrespectful of people's freedom. And I think we agree that we're pro-freedom here. I also don't agree with "religious beliefs" as the basis for sex ed, but not for anti-church reasons. But because it doesn't appeal to human reason, which is the most sustainable approach. Pontification is often times short-lived. The key is full, transparent information. But with the influence of all the supporting international organizations, I have strong reason to believe we won't have that sort of transparent information and an optimal model for delivering sex ed. But I think you commented on this in a later portion, so please refer to that other comment (I'm hoping this was you for continuity's sake). I'll respond there.

    [The problem is that the people that will most benefit from the contraceptives will not be able to afford these contraceptives with their current salaries. And between my taxt money going to birth control or to additional child care, the latter is just more cost-effective for me. Prevention so to speak.]

    I completely agree that child care is more cost-effective. But I think I'd clarify to say that when you say "benefit from the contraceptives", this isn't clear to me. Is this for maternal health? Because if so, there's a UNFPA-sponsored study (yes, the UN Population Fund themselves) shows that contraception only accounts for 20% of reduction of maternal mortality.* But access to pre- and post-natal care is what dramatically reduces maternal death. So to strengthen your point, contraception as a cost is a poor investment (ask any businessman and he will say so). Or… is this for population control? I'm not yet convinced after reading all the pro-RH literature that a population control policy is sustainable. Also, our population growth has been decreasing already in the past years. So why spend on this?

    [I invite you to visit several of the Anti-RH people we have debated with before. The fact is most of them have resorted to lying to make their point; distorting data from people like George Akerlof, accusing us of being pro-murder, and relying on outdated research. So pardon me if I sound hostile and biased. I think you're being naive.]

    Trust me, I've seen the dogmatic, oppressive and accusatory pro-lifers. I don't doubt that they may have twisted the facts because they were trying to win a debate they probably weren't equipped for. So I completely understand if you're hostile and biased… but if we really want to arrive at better solutions, we all have to (sorry to be frank) get over ourselves and move on. Let's cut all drama, both sides, because it's not productive.

    <a href="http:// *http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/safemotherhood/docs/maternalhealth_factsheet_en.pdf" rel="nofollow"> <a href="http://*http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/safemotherhood/docs/maternalhealth_factsheet_en.pdf” target=”_blank”>*http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/safemotherhood/docs/maternalhealth_factsheet_en.pdf

  5. Even if you take away all the children of the people living in "poverty", if those people still refuse to work or do something about their lives- they will continue to live in "poverty". Just like how the rich will not remain rich by sitting around and having children but by continuing to work hard everyday, the poor will not remain poor if they choose to do something about their lives. So it's about education — and I mean educating them with skills they can use to work, not sex education that will make them go home / stay home everyday and just have sex bec that is the only activity that they know. But education, skills wise, technical education, proper work ethics — those are the skills that will equip them in improving their lives.

    • actually, a well-designed and age-appropriate sex education curriculum is geared towards reducing the incidence of people who just "go home / stay home everyday and just have sex".

      When people are made aware of the repercussions of sex, the responsibilities that entail having to raise a baby when you're not prepared for it, the dangers of STD… it will make people think twice about living a sexually promiscuous life. If they're not victims of unplanned teenage pregnancies, then they'll have more time to get a real education and improve their lives. Sex education goes hand in hand with other forms of academics. They're not mutually exclusive- you can learn both.

    • And let's not delude ourselves to think that the RH bill will provide balanced rh information to the public. If you just look at who is funding this campaign and the model from which the bill was drafted (ie the USAID, Planned Parenthood), we should be wary about this form of sex ed. There's a gap between the great lofty ideals the RH proponents are pushing for and what is actually in the bill.

      • [If you just look at who is funding this campaign and the model from which the bill was drafted (ie the USAID, Planned Parenthood), we should be wary about this form of sex ed.]

        You also forget to mention the Guttmacher institute, UNICEF, and WHO.

        What's wrong? Too liberal and secular? Not conservative enough?

        While I admit the current bill in congress needs polish, the problem is that the opposition isn't providing for any valid solutions. Abstinence-only policies have already proven to be a failure, and the Catholic Church's "morality" line has been shot to hell with their systematic protection of rapists.

        • Hi twin-skies. Many thoughts on my end. I'll try to share them as orderly as I can.

          [You also forget to mention the Guttmacher institute, UNICEF, and WHO. What's wrong? Too liberal and secular? Not conservative enough? ]

          1. My non-diplomatic answer is that these institutes are too American. Guttmacher Institute = "semi-autonomous" subsidiary of Planned Parenthood = US. UN and WHO = we all know whose drum they move to. You will have to really prove to me that the UN and the WHO operate separately from US agendas. And not that I hate America (I live here now and love it). But look at the state of their reproductive health. …but I jump… these are illogical jumps I'm making.

          2. My primary answer is that I disagree with what I've seen too be the curricula from these institutions. On a framework level, and on a transparency level.

          a. Framework. These organizations primarily use a RISK REDUCTION framework. We need a RISK AVOIDANCE framework.

          RISK REDUCTION = "abstinence is great if you can hack it, but JUST in case, here's a plan B."

          RISK AVOIDANCE = "the best way to deal with all these risks (list down medical risks of too early, too open sexual behavior) is to avoid them altogether"

          I know what you're thinking. Ya, risk avoidance is the whole abstinence message. It's also what the Church has been doing, which you claim is a failure. It's also naive, because well, people all have sex anyway.

          But the reason for RISK AVOIDANCE isn't because I'm avoiding the reality that kids will have sex. It's more that as I present the ideal, the chances that more people aspire for it increase. I'm not being naive or idealistic here. Case in point. Smoking cessation. It follows a RISK AVOIDANCE model. You'll never hear… "just in case you can't quit, make sure you take vitamin C because smoking depletes this, and smoke lights and not reds…" But the ads that have worked around the world are the ones where a cool guy brimming with life and potential, and the message is always "QUIT SMOKING". Same with drunk driving. It's never "JUST IN CASE you can't stop yourself from driving while drunk".

          But do people still smoke or drive while drunk? Yes.

          But is the risk avoidance campaign more effective than the risk reduction campaign? Absolutely.

          A study was done on this premise. UPenn did a study* between two 6th grade populations. One group received comprehensive sex ed (risk reduction framework) and the other was a "secular abstinence-only sex education". Note: "secular abstinence-only sex ed" did not take a moralistic tone, encouraged children to delay sex until ready instead of until married, did not portray extramarital sex as inappropriate, and did not disparage contraceptives.

          The results: Comprehensive sex ed = 48.5% engaged in sex after 24 months. Secular Abstinence-only Sex Ed = only 33.5% engaged in sex after 24 months. Is this significant? The peer-reviewed research says it is. Does 24 months matter? Yes it does. If you can delay sexual debut by 2 years, that will reduce significantly the number of unwanted pregnancies, derailed academic lives, risk of STDs.

          This is why, to your point earlier, I don't agree that the moralizing approach is the best one. Because it tends to (not all do) ignore the appeal to a child's capacity to use his mind to make smart choices. This violates the child's freedom, because you don't give him/her the tools needed for freedom.

          This is definitely an interesting route to consider.

          <a href="http:// *http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/164/2/152?home" rel="nofollow"> <a href="http://*http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/164/2/152?home” target=”_blank”>*http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/164/2/152?home

          • 1. Because they're "Too American?"

            Now you're just being racist. We do have a discussion on post-modernism and anti-colonialism around here, but this is hardly the place. And if I may add, I can just as easily cite that Catholic morals are too Spanish for my tastes. Shall we eliminate all traces of the faith as well?

            [But look at the state of their reproductive health. …but I jump… these are illogical jumps I'm making. ]

            Oh I am looking. And from where I'm standing, the people fucking things up are these self-proclaimed "moral guardians" in the republican party, the right wing, and conservatives.
            http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/a-six-pregnanc
            http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/no_se

            The reasons I prefer following a US model of sex education are simple: It works, and they have the data to back it up with.

            2. Nobody is saying that we should eliminate "Risk Avoidance" strategies from sex education. A comprehensive RH program will include both natural and artifical forms of family planning – it is simply left up to the people to decide on which method best serves their purposed.

            If I were to use your own smoking analogy: While most people are going to avoid smoking in the first place, it wouldn't hurt to also consult current smokers on their options to minimize the risks of smoking, such as through gradually quitting, using smoking filters, or nicotine patches. Nobody forces the smoker to resort to any of these methods – it all depends on which they prefer.

            As for the UPenn study: Its test group is far too small for us to determine if it will work on large scale – 662 African-American Philadelphia public school students is hardly representative of all major US demographics.

            And furthermore, several studies have already determined the failure of abstinence-only education in the US on the largescale: http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/article/abstinence_only_fail

          • [a. Framework. These organizations primarily use a RISK REDUCTION framework. We need a RISK AVOIDANCE framework. ]

            You're resorting to a false dichotomy. Who says you can't have both.

            For example, while driving schools will teach you about defensive driving (RISK AVOIDANCE), they're just as likely to tell you to buckle up, dress properly, and to try to own a car with airbags (RISK REDUCTION).

        • b. Transparent information. I've seen a few samples of the sex education by the group of Planned Parenthood. I'm not convinced they've been completely honest to the American public. For instance, they don't say:

          Condoms can't protect you from Chlamydia. Because Chlamydia just needs genital contact to get transfered. They say that Chlamydia is curable, but they don't say it's only curable the first time around. The second time around, the chances of getting better are slim. And this leads to infertility, etc. etc. etc.

          I saw an add that said something like "Almost all Americans will have HPV in their lifetime." And a doctor comes out and says "I have it, it's normal, so take the vaccine". * First of all, this MAY be technically correct. But this is just one side of the story. How about the message that "If you really want to protect yourself from HPV, just have sex in an exclusive, monogamous relationship?" Married or not. Exclusive, monogamous sexual partners are the most STD-free population (and I think the lesbians come next).

          So this is why I don't trust these institutions.

          *This is bad practice that I don't have the actual ad. But I found a blog that talks about it: http://www.inspire.com/groups/national-cervical-c

          • [Condoms can't protect you from Chlamydia. Because Chlamydia just needs genital contact to get transfered. They say that Chlamydia is curable, but they don't say it's only curable the first time around. The second time around, the chances of getting better are slim. And this leads to infertility, etc. etc. etc. ]

            The Center for Disease Control says otherwise: http://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.htm

            As does this study in the New England Journal of Medicine http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa053284

            [If you really want to protect yourself from HPV, just have sex in an exclusive, monogamous relationship?" Married or not. Exclusive, monogamous sexual partners are the most STD-free population (and I think the lesbians come next). ]

            Now you're resorting to a strawman argument. Any proper sex ed program will tell you point-blank that limiting the number of sex partners you have to limit contact with these disease.

            However, if people can't help it, it would be professionally irresponsible to withhold information from people on other methods they can use to minimize a chance of HPV infection, such as condom use.

            For example, while seatbelts are not 100 percent effective at saving lives in crashes (and in fact are the cause of death on some rare occasions), it's still illegal for a car maker to sell cars without seatbelts just because "they're not 100 percent effective."

        • [Abstinence-only policies have already proven to be a failure, and the Catholic Church's "morality" line has been shot to hell with their systematic protection of rapists.]

          Don't you think there's a bit of overstatement here, twin-skies?

          1. If by the first part of the statement, you mean they have proven to be a failure in the Philippines… well, what's your basis for judging a program to be a failure? The only real way you can prove this statement is if you conducted a controlled study between 2 sets of kids, one that received abstinence only instruction, and another that received comprehensive sex ed. You can't just look at the Philippines as a whole as your sample and conclude that. It's a reckless use of data. Do you have such a study? Please share (this is not a taunt. I'm seriously interested to find out).

          But if you're alluding to research coming out of Guttmacher Institute, about the US teen pregnancy rates and the reverse correlation with abstinence-only campaigns, you must consider that the nature of these abstinence only campaigns were described as "rigid". We need secular abstinence-only campaigns that respect the person enough to be transparent with information, and allow them to make choices. Anyway, I said enough about this in my prior post. That should suffice.

          2. The Catholic Church's "morality" line and their systematic protection of rapists… it will probably be tangential for me to explain why I think your claim that there's a systematic protection of rapists is flawed. But for the sake of seeking the truth, let's consider this. Yes, there have been instances where protection of child-molesters were done in the past, but the Church has been cleaning this up and they have poured money into investigations (I'm looking for a reference for you). But if you're alluding to the Pope being a part of this by not taking issues up in the Holy See when they arrived at his desk as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Vatican judiciary)… well this has been clarified that he did so because he knew the long processes in his office would not do justice to the urgency of the matter and had the local cardinals impose the punishment locally for expeditious reasons. Anyway, as I said, this is tangential, and the solution I propose anyway respects what the Church wants to teach in their schools, but departs from a moralistic approach for the rest of the Philippines.

          • 1. There have already been numerous studies indicating the failure of abstinence-only education

            http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/article/abstinence_only_fail

            And furthermore, a secular sex education program will teach people ALL of the available reproductive health methods, and not single any out with any bias. A secular sex ed program will not weigh a method based on perceived morality, and will focus on its effectiveness, given that the term "moral" itself is a very subjective term that depends on each individual.

            Ergo, your term of a "secular abstinence-only program" is an oxymoron. You can't ask for transparency, and suddenly demand to censor other bits of information that you find personally repulsive. That's an appeal to emotion.

            2. The only reason that the church is even attempting to clean up its ranks is because these incidents were brought to public light. As the Murphy report has elaborated, these incidents of rape have been going on for several decades. And as it stands, the church is still being stubborn with the investigations, with cases of bishops directly interfering with police investigations.
            http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/08/28/us-belg

            And mind you, these are not isolated cases of rape – several investigations have already indicated that they have happened worldwide. What makes these cases especially sickening is that several of the priests responsible are repeat offenders. Instead of handing them over to the authorities, the Vatican saw it better to keep the case silent, while moving the offender to different parishes unpunished – it doesn't take a stretch of an imagination to see what happens when you let an unrepentant molester go.
            http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/03/the_ca

            [But if you're alluding to the Pope being a part of this by not taking issues up in the Holy See when they arrived at his desk as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Vatican judiciary)… well this has been clarified that he did so because he knew the long processes in his office would not do justice to the urgency of the matter and had the local cardinals impose the punishment locally for expeditious reasons.]

            And what did the Cardinals do? They transferred these offenders to different parishes, if not move them to the Vatican, away from the local authorities. If the Pope had known how urgent these cases were, why did he and his cohorts resort to saving their institution's face, rather than own up to their screw-ups?
            http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/03/12/us-germ

            And when he is confronted with these offenders, what does your pope do? He throw another scapegoat out: Secular society.
            http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/20/world/m

          • [Anyway, as I said, this is tangential, and the solution I propose anyway respects what the Church wants to teach in their schools, but departs from a moralistic approach for the rest of the Philippines. ]

            And what the church seeks to teach in its schools is bullshit, based on my observations. I have a sister in high school who had to do a presentation on why homosexuality is wrong – the reports that cropped up were all misrepresenting research data on gays, if not referencing material from known hate-mongers and fraudulent self-proclaimed "experts" on the field, such as Paul Cameron.

            Is this what Catholic education should teach our kids – to be narrow-minded, homophobic bigots?

            Or how about the CBCP's railing against the enactment of the Magna Carta for Women in 2009, specifically a section that made it illegal for any school to expel a student just because they were pregnant?
            http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/220983/unwed-pregna

            If the Catholic Church wants to teach it theology, that is fine with me. However, if their theology intentionally tries to make people into biased misogynists, I think we have to draw a line, and it's only common sense to call them out for their bullshit.

        • I have a question for you, Twin-Skies.

          Why do you think USAID, Planned Parenthood, UNICEF, WHO all want so much to help the Philippines? None of this aid comes free. What do you guys think the cost to this is?

          And have you heard of the Kissinger Report in the 70s? It lays out exactly the motive behind the US pushing for population control in developing countries. Wondering your thoughts on this. I don't want to make this seem like a conspiracy theory, but it's good for us to know who we're dealing with. And to bring all points of information to bear, including this piece on international politics.
          http://www.scribd.com/doc/10059513/Nssm-200Kissin

          I wouldn't be surprised if this came thru WikiLeaks. They're just brilliant!

          • I've heard of it long.

            And for the record Martin, it wasn't Wikileaks that released NSSM-200. It was officially declassified and released to the public years ago.

            Regardless of the US' agenda for our nation and whatever conspiracy theories are about, the fact remains that our women are dying unnecessarily because they lack access to proper reproductive health education and facilities.

            Most of our poorer families are unable to send whatever children they already have as well, due to them having too many mouths to feed those that do go to school are reportedly malnourished, and their numbers only increase with time.

            The reality too is that there is a growing danger of an AIDs epidemic in the Philippines, and while we have a remarkably low incidence of AIDs, it is more due to unexpected circumstance rather than a coordinated effort to fight the disease.

            I would go out on a limb and say that the existence of Kissinger's report only drives home the point that we need to be able to develop a proper reproductive health bill. An empowered and educated population is far more in control of their own lives, and are far less likely to be hoodwinked by outside influences.

      • The "RH bill" will not be the one teaching the subject. Once it becomes the RH Law The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) will be drafted. The DepEd (and I'm sure private catholic schools) will be there to help write the actual curriculum.

        • Hi! I completely agree, the details of the sex ed aren't contained in the bill (this bill is surprisingly short compared to more detailed bills in the past, so maybe it should!). But come on, we can begin to forecast the future from what we know today.

          You misquote that private schools have a hand in this. "Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the DSWD, and the DOH shall formulate the Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education curriculum"

          But really, after all the spending from these international organizations, do you seriously think they'll allow the Catholic Church to contribute to the drafting the curricula? Sorry if I'm not looking at things surface deep. We really should read between the lines. This is politics, my friend.

          • @Martin

            If you're so concerned about foreign influence in our legislation, I suggest you add the Catholic Church to your list as well. The CBCP is after all the Philippine extension of the Vatican, which is recognized as the world's smallest country.

    • 1. Why is "poverty" in quotes?
      2. Even if they continue to live in poverty, they will not be passing on the squalor to their children. If they're, indeed, lazy, then I wouldn't want them to be parents anyway.
      3. Teaching them about sex does not preclude teaching them livelihood and technical skills.
      3a. Right now there are trainings given by the government but the poor can't raise themselves out of poverty because they have too many mouths to feed.

      • [Even if they continue to live in poverty, they will not be passing on the squalor to their children. If they're, indeed, lazy, then I wouldn't want them to be parents anyway. ]

        Wait, this is anti-freedom. Doesn't that run against your ideology? Or is your ideology that people are inherently lazy and given the right conditions, they won't grab the opportunity? (This is a debate from the 50s about Theory X and Theory Y. You should know better.) It really doesn't matter whether you want them to be parents or not. Would you like to propose a discriminatory law?

        [Teaching them about sex does not preclude teaching them livelihood and technical skills. ]

        This isn't about inclusion/preclusion as much as it is about prioritization. But I agree with you, nonetheless, that both are needed. It's the KIND of sex education that concerns me. It must have transparent information (not like what they have in the US, i.e. what Planned Parenthood is likely going to push down the Filipino's throats.) Refer to what I say above.

        [Right now there are trainings given by the government but the poor can't raise themselves out of poverty because they have too many mouths to feed.]

        What's your evidence to prove this? The only way you can prove this is to show us an impact study of these training programs by the government. And even if you do show a document like that, we need to ask if the investment from the government suffices to make an impact to even a poor, single, child-less Filipina. In my work with international nonprofits doing poverty alleviation, the ingredients are always two-fold: training/education and micro-credit. The money a mother will save from having less kids is not enough to invest in a microbusiness which will ultimately get her out of poverty (among other ways). She needs access to credit. Let's remember that average family size is 5 (so to consider a dozen kids would constitute an outlier), and the recommended size is 2. That's reducing the family size to 4 people, from 7 people (40% reduction). So playing with the $2 a day poverty threshold, and assuming (a) both parents bring home $2 each a day, and (b) each member gets a fair share of the money, we're talking about a savings of $1.6 a day. That's $40 a month (25 working days, assuming). That's enough to start a sari-sari store, but it certainly isn't enough to take her family out of poverty.

        So at best, your population control effort will provide MARGINAL savings, but NO REAL HOPE for money large enough to invest in a business that will make her family prosper.

        I worry that we've got a ton of assumptions about the poor that we're making that we pull out of our imagination. I've worked closely with these poor women. They are full of energy and initiative… and they love their children and if no help comes to get them out of poverty, at least they have the joy of their kids. You've got the psyche of the poor all wrong. (And this is not to say that all women are like this. Let's just not present the lazy Filipina as typical.)

  6. Kevin it's ironic that you criticize the proponents of the ordinance for an appeal to emotion yet you're wearing a Noli Mi Tangere shirt. Isn't that sensationalizing the issue?

    • … and just this morning, there's a full page ad against the RH Bill in every major daily. now that's sensationalizing, and they've certainly got the budget for it.

      • And both contribute to all the noise. So maybe this is one thing both sides can agree on. That they've both sensationalized the issue. Then let's move on and actually begin to come together and look for better solutions.

        • @Martin The difference is that we haven't resorted to lying.

          …Or threatening that our opponents with being aborted.

          …Or invoking divine retribution for anybody who's against us.

          …Or attempting to exorcise the opposition.

          …Or singing in the middle of a congressional hearing.

          We have stuck to the facts, and while we did resort to some theatrics, we have made it a point that all our data is untainted. I've already debated with Pro-Lifers on more than one occasion, and I will say with absolute convictions and sincerity that they have almost always resorted to distorting otherwise good data on reproductive health, and accusing Catholic supporters of not being "real" Catholics because of their choice.

          We have them more than enough chance to state their case. They fucking lied. One exchange after another. So please cut the Middle Ground Fallacy.

          • But what you've all successfully done is make it a battle of sides, of people and of argumentation. This isn't about the Catholic Church versus science and progress, yet you've framed the debate this way.

            True, you've looked at some facts, but there are so many facts that don't make the RH bill completely reasonable. To begin with, this bill is so radical the US won't even ever pass it into law. Hilary Clinton tried but failed. It's called the Freedom of Choice Act. It mirrors many parts of the HB 4244. The clauses on Mandatory Sex Ed and Punitive Measures to noncompliant healthcare providers are just too radical.

            BUT spending on healthcare access is great. And access to comprehensive sex education with parental consent would be great. And let's keep contraception available so people can mmake the choice but im not convinced it's a great investment, so ought not to be funded by tax-payer money.

            So this isn't middle ground argumentation I'm offering. It's a germ for innovative thinking that both sides haven't really been open to. But if all you see are the people on each side, you're creating a false dichotomy where we all agree on intent, just not on the means. If you claim to be a free thinker, be true to the name. Be free from your internal biases and personality debating.

          • @Martin to give you an idea of why I'm not particularly receptive to reasoning with most of the people of Anti-RH, here is a sampler of some of what their more outspoken representatives, Ligaya Acosta, stated during a forum: https://filipinofreethinkers.org/2011/01/18/read-e

            # Condoms have holes large enough for sperm and HIV to slip through.
            # Excessive masturbation is wrong.
            # RH leads to the Filipino youth’s poor English literacy since the English reading materials available are on sex and reproductive health, which they should not have access to.
            # There is no need for the RH Bill because what we need has been in effect for a while now.
            # If 11 women die everyday because of pregnancy-related complications, why do we claim to be overpopulated?

            Then there is Willy Arcilla's argument claiming that implementing a reproductive health bill will invoke god's wrath:
            http://www.archive.org/details/WillyArcilla-ThePh

            These are just some of the bigger incidents I remember off the cuffs – you can also ask the other FF members here about their experience with confronting people from Pro-Life. Then there is a case of Renato Villalobos, an asshole I caught misrepresenting the research of George Akerlof:
            https://filipinofreethinkers.org/2011/03/24/know-y

            And here we have Manny Amador, a Cebuano-based Pro-Lifer who somehow thinks that the Government's recent cutdown on rice imports means we are not having a population problem:
            https://filipinofreethinkers.org/2011/02/17/on-til

            I agree that dialogue needs to be done for the bill to be made better. However, these dialogues are not going to go anywhere if the opposition is going to lie through their teeth like they have in the examples I have provided.

          • I'm really trying, but nothing in me wants to apologize on their behalf. Some of these statements are downright absurd. I've been following the debates to a certain extent, but this sampling has truly made my evening.

            So much of me wants to be in that congress to really shed light on the topic. Because of all the research I've seen, I'm really still not convinced the RH bill in its current form (HB 4244) is optimal. Glad we agree on this. We need to badly elevate the conversation. But then again, can lay all the blame on these elected officials? After all, who put them in power?

            I share your frustration, my friend.

          • The Anti-Ordinance people did not draw the line. It's the Pro-Ordinance people who have resorted to the "If you're not with me, you're against me" mentality. You see, being "Anti-Ordinance" does not automatically mean Pro-Choice. There are quite a few people in the group who are Pro-Choice yet there are also quite a few people who are still Pro-Life. What they are bothered about is the infringement on their right to choose for themselves.

            The Pro-Ordinance people, based on their letters, words they've said themselves, and minutes of hearings are the ones who have drawn the line. They are the ones who are pushing us into classifications. When someone Anti-Ordinance says something, they interpret it as, "So you're Pro-Choice?". When someone says something Pro-Life, "They'd say, you should be with us, you're Pro-Choice". (Textbook example of the "Attacking the Straw man" Diversion).

            I DO agree completely with your 3rd paragraph though. There could be so much more that the gov't can do with that money (i.e. infrastructure or education).

            Based on the voice your statements seem to show, you came into this discussion with a side already in mind instead of openness though. If you yourself are a free thinker, approach this with no biast whatsoever. Other readers, please do the same. Be open to a change of opinion. Do proper data gathering and then form an opinion.

            (BTW, first time to comment. Pretty cool :P)

          • Hi James. I guess the stand I'm starting to form after all the research (and yes, I'm still open to new research, which is why I try to go to primary sources that twin-skies presents)… I'm against the ordinance and against the HB4244 as it is now. Both are coercive.

            Sorry if the voice sounds assertive. This is a matter of personality. But truly, I have shifted my stand over the past weeks of studying the issues closer. I used to reject any form of sex ed. I'm now open to some form of sex ed, but still in search for what that should look like. I also thought, in my ignorance, that the RH bill is entirely wrong. I don't think so now. I think it will provide health services where needed and effective. I just think it still has a prioritization problem.

            If you read my other arguments, if there's one thing I'm firm on is that we really go into the data. I've done my own set of data gathering, but there really is a lot out there. But when something gets misrepresented, it really angers me. Thus perhaps my tone to twin-skies who misrepresents some US data about the bible belt. If you read the primary sources, you will know what I mean. Then you'll see that I'm not closed minded. I'm just more analytical than typical.

            Do you have some data you think we should consider? I'm open to looking into it. I'm open to a change in opinion, but let's first see the data.

          • I completely agree with your latest sentiments. I haven't started looking for data yet, because school season is at its most difficult point right now. I plan to start looking and analyzing as soon as summer starts and I would love to have a good exchange of data.

            Maybe everyone can look into this and help each other interpret what the data really says.

            And yes, being analytical and critical of everything both sides present is the way to go in my opinion. I remain open but I have been thoroughly disturbed by the behavior of the Pro-Ordinance people in the village. Martin, their arguments and announcements are really out of this world. So, right now, I'm swaying onto the Anti-Ordinance side. I'm still open to a paradigm shift though, if I'm provided with good data and if the the data presented gives us a clear path to follow for the greater good of this country. I am a firm believer of the separation of church and state so I believe in pursuing the greater good sans cultural and moral beliefs.

            Enough with the forums now, got finals to finish :))

          • Hi James, thanks for your honesty.

            Something you said tho tells me we need to add to the list of being analytical and critical that of being autonomous.

            When you say:

            [I remain open but I have been thoroughly disturbed by the behavior of the Pro-Ordinance people in the village. Martin, their arguments and announcements are really out of this world. So, right now, I'm swaying onto the Anti-Ordinance side.]

            …it seems you're relying on the people and not the data. But then again, you said you're open. I've presented data here… and Twin-Skies did as well. What's interesting in this conversation is I go into the research Twin-Skies presents and I help him interpret it with more accuracy.

          • Good luck with finals! I'm likewise finishing up with finals before I graduate from grad school. I'll visit this page every now and then while I have discussions with Twin-Skies. So let's have that data discussion when you're done. I wouldn't be surprised if we had tons of common friends. So I just might see you around. My name is Martin Gonzalez. If you've been part of the FB group that's against the ordinance, my sister is one of the moderators (Marie) along with Kevin who's in this video.

            Martin

        • [Then let's move on and actually begin to come together and look for better solutions. ]

          Here's one: Ignoring the CBCP would be a very good start. Either that or listening to ALL of the opinions of every religion in RP.

          • I think there's something bigger than just choosing to ignore CBCP. I think we're talking about the nature of this debate to begin with.

            I agree that this conversation is primarily an economic and medical debate. But when thinkers within economics and medicine begin to disagree (and there will never be a science where all academics agree), we need to start making choices as a nation that will help direct the science. Because pro-life and pro-RH can really debate until the cows come home… and science is just flawed that way that there is always a way to look at the data (I'm not talking about manipulation) and contradictions will always arise. Especially economics that relies heavily on modeling (i.e. simplifying our complex world) and never is able to conduct controlled experiments (i.e. injecting a serum into a lab rat).

            These choices entail, among many, our fundamental assumptions about how to treat people, their rights, their dignity. We need to decide on whether we look at human beings as primarily a burden, or a potential investment. And our stand as a nation about the value of life. Unfortunately, economics or medicine cannot answer these questions for us. That's why in a sense, something above the science, like the constitution, helps us with these tough questions. And this is where the CBCP is trying to (in crude and possibly coercive ways) contribute to nation building. I agree, let's also listen to other religions. Do we have a mechanism for this?

        • "And both contribute to all the noise. So maybe this is one thing both sides can agree on. That they've both sensationalized the issue. Then let's move on and actually begin to come together and look for better solutions." -Martin

          This supposes that parties can CONTROL ever member, word and thought in their group, that one can Divorce Emotion from one's Core Beliefs, that emotional = irrational, that everyone else participating in the manner they seem fit has lesser credibility.

          To be superior just because one is wants to be the "mediator" or an outside of a conflict. NICE!

          • Hi Tanod. I agree, I think it would be unreasonable to think that any party can control these things. So the appeal is for everyone… and that for some, the best way to contribute is to suppress their drama and shut up.

            Wait, wait, wait, we're not arguing core beliefs here. We're talking about the well-being of our country. It is an economic and medical, and possibly a sociological debate. So we really should search beyond our emotions and core beliefs. If your core beliefs are going to come in the way of true, authentic development, then I'm sorry to be frank but I don't care for those beliefs of yours. I agree that emotional is not always irrational, but you and I know that it is often the case. And your extreme postmodernist view that "everyone else participating in the manner they seem fit" is of equal credibility… well… you're going to have to convince me why that makes any sense.

            Twin-Skies just pointed out ways by which pro-lifers have "participated in a manner they seem fit"… yet they clearly don't exude confidence and credibility. Sorry, I'm really having a hard time understanding your point here. Because in my mind, credibility is judged by the audience and is never inherent or universal. Your right to life and freedom and education is universal. Credibility isn't.

            [To be superior just because one is wants to be the "mediator" or an outside of a conflict. NICE!]

            I'm going to assume you're being sarcastic here (no benefit of nonverbals). But you clearly have missed the point, Tanod. I'm not trying to assume superiority. I'm asking for us to FOCUS on what will really help our country — let's seek for solutions together, not apart. But to see this as an act of self-aggrandizement says more about you than it does about me. Open your eyes, Tanod. This isn't about who plays what role. This is about those women dying and the future of our economy.

            We need a solution NOW. But I'd rather do the right thing than the wrong thing right away.

  7. what's wrong of having prescriptions for contraceptives, condoms, and pills? We need to look at the intent of the makers of the ordinance. Rather than gathering people for a protest rally, why not file the appropriate case to revoke this ordinance? I hope you also consider acts against corruptions.

    • Thailand (pop. 63,753,000) and the Philippines (pop. 88,351,000)
      “Both countries saw their first cases of AIDS appear in 1984. Both embarked on campaigns to combat the threat and spread of this deadly disease. That’s where the similarity ends. The Philippine government educated its people and stressed the importance of chastity, fidelity in marriage and abstinence outside of marriage. Thailand, on the other hand, embraced “King Condom” and distributed massive numbers of condoms to its people, without any attempt to change people’s behaviour.

      Here are the results. As of 2007, there have been a total of 2,965 individuals infected with AIDS in the Philippines, over 23 years! In Thailand, the number is a shocking 1,106,000! In other words, one out of every 21,850 Filipinos have become infected with AIDS – one of every 90 individuals in Thailand are infected.
      The US got their SexEd in public schools and now have a 50%+ divorce rate and a 70% illegitimate birth rate.
      We want evidence real but throw it out when we are inconvenienced or opposed.
      What is the point of debating with the closed mind?

      • [The US got their SexEd in public schools and now have a 50%+ divorce rate and a 70% illegitimate birth rate. ]

        Hey genius, take a good look where most of these divorces and unwanted pregnancies are happening: In the Bible Belt
        http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=
        http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends.pdf
        From the Guttmacher study:
        "New Mexico had the highest teenage pregnancy rate (93 per 1,000), followed by Nevada,
        Arizona, Texas and Mississippi. The lowest rates were in New Hampshire (33), Vermont, Maine,
        Minnesota and North Dakota."

        Need I also mention that before the abortion rates in the US climbed, the Bush administration had enacted abstinence-only sex education programs for its schools, while cutting funding to more comprehensive sex ed programs?
        http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/09/06/rou

        I find it amusing that you're trying to lay the blame of the US' situation on planned parenthood, when the evidence indicates that they only got their because they followed the advice of Pro-Life idiots like you.

        • Renato Villalobos, is that you? You posted almost exactly the same thing at the RH Bill fanpage a few hours ago. I guess you couldn't stand having your ass being handed over in a silver platter, could you?

        • [on this reference: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=

          Wait a minute, twin-skies. I'm going to suggest that you mishandled that bit of research. Firstly, it would really strengthen your argument if you went to the primary sources. But granted, you took this tertiary source (it cites a AP article, which I'm pretty sure cites a study… but I now can't find the AP article anywhere online) I only had that article to read, and I drew a completely opposite conclusion.

          You took the headline "Bible Belt Leads U.S. In Divorces" and present it as if the research said "Catholics lead in divorces because they're too strict". But if you were to read the article closely, it says the complete opposite. It mentions poverty and early marrying age as primary reasons (and I assume the connection between the two is that poverty means no access to education, which doesn't give people a compelling reason to marry later in life). THEN, it mentions:

          "some of the lowest divorce rates are in northeastern states with relatively high household incomes and large numbers of Roman Catholics whose church doesn't recognize divorce"

          THEN it says: "Bible Belt states, in contrast, are dominated by fundamentalist Protestant denominations that proclaim the sanctity of marriage but generally do not want to estrange churchgoers who do divorce."

          THEREFORE: Poverty, early marrying age, and faiths that TOLERATE divorce are driving this high number.

          This research even puts the Catholic Church in a positive light! Saying that there is inherent wisdom in its stance against divorce. It's socially beneficial as well as economically beneficial (we all know that divorce is an expensive, litigious process, and peripheral costs like child services are a burden on state funds) =)

          Don't get sloppy on us buddy!

          • Twin-Skies, let's then stop accusing pro-lifers for manipulating data. You seem to know why it may happen, even to the most vigilant of debaters like yourself.

          • @Martin

            ["some of the lowest divorce rates are in northeastern states with relatively high household incomes and large numbers of Roman Catholics whose church doesn't recognize divorce"]

            I'd wager that the fact Catholicism considers divorces wrong is just as big a factor on the low incidences of divorce.

          • Absolutely. What I'd be interested to see is how happy these couples are. Does building up marriage as an inescapable contract lead to more mature decisions… which maybe will lead to generally happier marriages (on an aggregated level)? Or do unhappy couples stay together despite wanting so much to divorce out of compliance, and so many of them would actually be "closet" divorcées? Something the research needs to show.

        • [research quoted: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm%5D

          Yet again. You've misquoted. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you just didn't read this closely, and not that you're trying to twist and manipulate data.

          It says that highly conservative Christian groups have high divorce rates. More than atheists. But look closely. It cites that Catholics have a 21% rate of divorce… the lowest of Christian denominations (with Lutherans). And I disagree with the report's assessment that evangelicals are the most conservative. I would assert that Catholics would be more conservative if you were to compare them based on their stands on contraception. Most of these evangelicals allow contraception in marriage, but the Catholics do not! (That's even more conservative). (Local examples would be churches like Victory, EveryNation, Greenhills Christian Fellowship, etc). Yet divorce rates are lowest with Catholics.

          Why? It's because, I'm now hypothesizing, that the Catholic Church builds up the importance of marriage, and that it is truly "for life". So they tend to be more thorough about that decision. (Maybe to a fault because they marry too late and miss the baby-making window that closes at 35 y/o).

          Now if you were to look at the chart comparing Jews, Born-Again Christians, Other Christians, and Atheists, Agnostics… One would immediately conclude, taking this out of context, that Atheists and Agnostics graduate with flying colors. Well, let's remember that Catholics have a rate of 21%. Which is the same rate as Atheists and Agnostics.

          Taking from the rest of the article and my own hypothesis, I would suggest that atheists are of a more educated, or at least rational breed. And so they're likely to marry later, making them more mature when they do tie the knot.

          Twin-Skies, let's not twist our data. =)

          • Of course, not once did I even mention Catholics when I posted those numbers. Try no to be so defensive.

          • Not being defensive Twin-Skies. Just trying to understand how you're playing with what is said and what is alluded to. True, you didn't point to Catholics. But if you didn't mean to point to them, what was the point of bringing this bit of research up in the first place?

            I'm just trying to focus on the data here. Just because I'm calling you out on your clumsy data handling, it doesn't mean I'm being defensive. I'm focused on the data, you're focused on my person. Let's stay focused on the data.

          • Is was replying to Pong's assertion that religion is an automatic safeguard for the sanctity of marriage, and quarantees that married couples will stay loyal.

            The figures I present say otherwise – while Catholics and atheists are on the lower end of divorces, the majority of the areas studies that have a track record for religious fundamentalism have a higher incidence of divorce.

          • I'm not going to pursue this line of reasoning any further than this FYI – we're straying from the matter of reproductive health. I simply pointed those out to Pong to rub it in his face that hi reasoning is fucked up.

      • [As of 2007, there have been a total of 2,965 individuals infected with AIDS in the Philippines, over 23 years! ]

        The Department of Health recently declared the AIDs situation in RP as an epidemic, so I doubt it's not as minor as you want us to believe. And while we do have a low prevalence of AIDs, the fact is that it has risen steadily over the past few years despite an overall downward trend in Asia. Experts have also cited the various factors that can contribute to a rapid spread of the disease; The incidences of AIDs in RP tripled between 2003 and 2008 for example.
        http://www.jiasociety.org/content/13/1/16

        We are literally sitting on a powder keg – the complacency you'd ask of us by staying ignorant is not only stupid, but downright unhealthy.

      • that's not the complete picture @Pong.

        In the same span of time you cited, the Philippines saw a rise in teenage pregnancies. "data from the National Statistics Office showed that of 1.7 million babies, almost 8 percent were born to mothers aged 15-19. Almost 30 percent of Filipino women become mothers before reaching their 21st birthday" – cited from the Inquirer.net

        So what you said about the Philippines being a bastion of "chastity, fidelity in marriage and abstinence outside of marriage" is purely in your imagination.

        PLEASE try to read up more on how epidemics actually spread. Were we spared from the full brunt of the Bird Flu pandemic because of our chaste consumption of chickens as well?

        • Doing nothing is not an option, I agree. But we need to do the right thing that will really address the issue. I'm not convinced HB 4244 does that.

          • Sorry, to clarify… I agree there are good things HB 4244 brings up. But it has portions that are a waste of money. My confidence level in HB 4244 is 30% give or take.

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