RH Bill Passes Second Reading… whoopee!

BenignO is right in a way that I cannot disagree with, but only particularly in the point where he refers to the Reproductive Health Bill as some form of population control.

colorful pigeon

As a form of population control, if it can be called that, the RH bill isn’t exactly like controlling rampant pigeon populations by feeding them “birth control” chemicals or a neutering drive for cats and dogs.  In fact, the RH Bill doesn’t say anything about controlling population growth and perhaps there was some conscious effort to keep the word “control” out for a number of reasons.

What it is counting on to be effective is that, through massive education and information drives, people will avail themselves of the benefits of various methods of contraception.

Fine. I am all for that and while we are at it, let’s check if the other stuff that wage earners are paying for through their taxes are being used.

Jaywalkers in Davao.
Jaywalkers in Davao.

Let’s just take up one example: Pedestrian crossings, pedestrian overpasses, pedestrian underpasses, and sidewalks.  The benefits are obvious, use these things and you don’t end up splattered on cement/tarmac.  If you ever go through sections of Aurora Boulevard in Cubao, you’ll see how people just cross the street from all directions.

But, of course, I have to admit that there is a vast difference between people who opt for jaywalking because it’s too much of a bother to cross streets safely  and people don’t use contraception because its  just too inconvenient to buy (all 7-11’s and Minimarts as well as drug stores have them at the counter) or costs too much (all of P30 pesos, which costs as much as a bottle of Tanduay ESQ or Ginebra San Miguel gin).

The point here is that in order for the RH Bill to make any dent in the growth of the country’s poor population, the government ought to be effective in getting people to use the free contraceptives and other services.

And the government’s performance in this matter won’t be felt manyyears after the measure has been implemented.

So, in the mean time and while we wait for the numbers to come in, later this afternoon I intend to spend some time with a couple of friends who support the RH Bill and buy them a couple of drinks.

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22 Comments on “RH Bill Passes Second Reading… whoopee!”

  1. While I’m glad to see the passage of the RH bill as a potential move forward I’m not going to “hold my breath” waiting to see changes. As you pointed out, the people still need to make a rational choice which has not always been their strongest virtue. Secondly, I would like to read the final version to see just how “watered down” it has become. Thirdly, I have a question. Was it Recto or one of the others that didn’t want the LGUs forced to comply or am I mistaken?

    1. That is why I emphasized the previous two “excuses” that came before — victimisation by colonialism/imperialism and victimisation by home-grown dictator — and how this new RH Bill supposedly addresses the third excuse, over-population.

      We addressed the first excuse in 1946. And the country degenerated from posterboy status to basketcase since then. We addressed the 2nd excuse in 1986, and instead the “freedom” won was perverted beyond all repair.

      So now we come to the third excuse. We now supposedly have the legal tools to address overpopulation. Given our track record of not making the most of past solutions that addressed what we thought were major roadblocks to prosperity, it remains to be seen whether we as a people will be able make the most of the tools to overcome our enormous population.

      In short:

      Abangan ang susunod na kabanata… 😉

  2. I’m wondering if the supporters of the bill, whose enthusiasm has verged on ‘rabid’, will keep up the energy level to see it implemented and carried out. I kind of doubt it.

      1. That was my thought exactly. None of the people who’ve made a name for themselves as ‘proponents’ of this are exactly noted for their follow-through. (Ahem, anti-epal crowd).

  3. While I’m OK with the usual population “control measures,” jobs are still among the best population control measures. People think less of reproducing when they’re busy with work. Singapore is the best example for me.

  4. Jobs, ChinoF, or the income they bring? If people’s lives are more pleasant because of greater prosperity they are less likely to have large families. Used to be a slogan “Affluence is the best contraceptive”

  5. One can say that the poor wont use condoms because they can’t afford it… But it is also true that people who can afford it still won’t use it because it sex becomes less pleasurable… Knowing that, I doubt, this bill (or soon to be law) would be successful.

  6. Condoms now!!!

    Who would’a think that the Noynoy-administration would find use of that “comdoms now!!!” issue to hurl more mud at GuLLLOOOO. But officially on the records, it happened. Noynoy administration states that the HIV cases of Pilipinas rose when gguuLLLOOO reduced the funding for free-condoms program of Pilipinas Health Department.

  7. Snippets from my blog comment discussions with RH Bill:

    “And the proponents of the RH bill have always claimed that preservation of human life is exactly what the bill is for: the life of the mother and the family she needs to take care of.”

    That is their claim but is it the reality?

    All the available data tell us that pregnancy related mortality far outnumbered death from taking contraceptives. My problem with those data that I’ve read is they do not tell me the distinction between unwanted and wanted pregnancies. It only tells me that pregnancy related mortality rate is higher in third world than first world country. Seems to me that if preservation of human life is the objective, improvement on pregnancy medical supports and facilities are the issues.

    There are also other reasons for unwanted pregnancies aside from preservation of human life that needs to be mentioned. These are similar with the reasons for an elective abortion:

    – not ready for responsibility
    – blaming the relationship problem
    – mother’s health
    – pregnancy resulting from rape
    – failed birth control method (which according Guttmacher reports 54% of women having abortions used birth control at the time of their abortion)
    – how a child would change their lifestyle
    – they have all the children they wanted

    (From the above, I considered, IMO, mother’s health and pregnancy resulting from rape as the last reasons to have an abortion. And of course, the definition of unwanted pregnancies – can somebody define it?)

    BTW, as far as controlling population, that is not the solution to poverty.

    It is always the best excuse for poor governance.

    Getting back to this RH Bill –

    House Bill No. 17, also known as the proposed “Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008,” will cover the following areas:

    * information and access to natural and modern family planning;
    * maternal, infant and child health and nutrition;
    * promotion of breast feeding;
    * prevention of abortion and management of post-abortion complications;
    * adolescent and youth health; prevention and management of reproductive tract infections,
    HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases;
    * elimination of violence against women; counseling on sexuality and sexual and reproductive
    health;
    * treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers;
    * male involvement and participation in reproductive health;
    * prevention and treatment of infertility; and
    * reproductive health education for the youth.

    Except for the last item, which of the above are not yet in place? (I’m just wondering why contraceptives were not explicitly mentioned.)

    And for the cost of RH Bill:

    “Cayetano admitted during interpellations on Senate Bill 2865 that the Department of Health (DOH) had asked for P13.7 billion to implement the RH bill for the year 2012 alone – an amount bigger than the individual budgets of the departments of energy, finance, foreign affairs, justice, labor, science, tourism, and trade. The figure also dwarfs the budgets proposed for the Office of the President and Congress, as well as for the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

    The revelation of the huge RH budget is the latest in the string of exposes to hound the pro-RH lobby, which had earlier been found to be using outdated data on maternal deaths and abortion. RH proponents had long been saying that the budget would only be P3 billion annually.”

    My oh my, me with my polluted mind, I can see where these proponents of the bill in the congress are going. It’s a JACKPOT!

    (In 2010 alone, the government spent P400 million for the purchase of natural and artificial means of family planning, including two million condoms for free distribution to the public. Where is this thing now?)

    One must also recognize this:

    “There are lots of these RH Bill proponents in the congress who have no compunction in terminating lives of unborn children and similarly in the guise of the cost and benefit morality, they are the same ones who promote such ”compassionate” ideas and argues fiercely against the death penalty on the following grounds: 1) that an innocent could be put to death and/or 2) the law should not be sanctioning the killing of another, no matter how guilty, no matter how gruesome the crime that was committed.”

    And this one:

    The way those proponents of the bill are explaining, in order for the RH Bill to be easily accessibility (and at no cost) to everybody including those grade five pupils, provided with the bills are some mandates like compelling employers “to provide free reproductive health care services, supplies, devices and surgical procedures (including vasectomy and ligation) to its employees” and the bill subjects employees “to both imprisonment and/or fine, for every time that” the employee fails to comply with the requirement. (I might not be updated, nevertheless, this is what in Lagman’s mind when he crafted the bill.)

    Heh, what can we do. They are politicians.

    1. I like the intended benefits of the RH Bill. What I’m not sold on yet is whether the intended benefits of the bill as it is crafted outweigh the consequences the legislators may have missed. Free contraceptives may help control population growth… sure! But who is going to pay for it? Why should I pay for someone else’s sexual lifestyle choice? The funding for this will be coming from people’s pockets in one way or another. Through increased taxes and increased cost in goods as businesses transfer the added overhead cost of having to pay for their female employees’ contraceptives or prenatal medical care. Which takes me to the next point… would this bill discourage businesses from hiring women as women could translate to added cost? Well, I think the appeal of this RH Bill also lies with the concept of getting “free stuff”. It basically enforces the idea that we do indeed have a society of moochers rather than a society that values individual responsibility.

  8. Your guess is as good as mine as for the corruption issue with this RH Bill.

    All I can say, IMO, is political correctness and hypocrisy is very evident.

  9. Off-topic

    I just have the laugh of the day.

    I happened to visit Joe Amerika’s blog.

    He he he what a blog about himself and GabbyD.

    This dude is really egoistic heh…

  10. What I don’t get about the Pro RH line of reasoning on the corruption that it will add to the corruption that is already there.

    They figure that even with 70 percent going to corruption (perhaps in under delivered or undelivered condoms and RH services), the program will still have an impact on the population.

    Carlos Celdran and others have been mouthing this drivel since last year.

    But anyway, my idea is that maybe what will happen is that hospitals and health centers will stock up on RH products and services but neglect stocking up on more essential medicines — anti-hypertensives, anti-biotics, etcetera.

    In the process, people will actually die and that’ll be the way the incipient RH Law will reduce our population.

    I just hope idiots die first.

  11. Looks like it’ll be just more useless legislation as the root cause is still not being addressed.
    I’m reminded of the conversation I had with a visitor. He was suggesting that he could bring his mistress to my house because he was sure the surroundings would lead to her getting pregnant. (I live in a lovely rural area) Certainly, he was trying to be funny but humor always has an underlying truth.

  12. The government might be better off enforcing current health care provisions, and more important, provide sufficient funding for public health care. Otherwise, additional bills won’t help.

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