Unfortunately, the much-promoted “debate” between boxing champ Manny Pacquiao and House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman — billed “PacMAN vs LagMAN” — aired on ABS-CBN’s Harapan (literally “face-off”) was inaccessible from Australia. But it does not really take a genius to imagine how such a spectacle might have transpired.
Blogger Joe America in a recent comment did not express any hint of whether he watched the show either. But his insight on the broader matter of Pacquiao’s role in the “debate” over Reproductive Health (RH) may as well pass off as commentary coming from a front-row observer:
Mr. Pacquiao is a skilled boxer, the best. But his moral values are trite and his intellect is weak. That he is considered an apt spokesman for the Catholic Church displays how weak the moral standing and intellect of the Church has become. Desperation, thy name is propaganda instead of substance…
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In any case, the blow-by-blow is in this ABS-CBN report. Perhaps before one wastes time searching for a YouTube video of the comedy act, they might first check out the report’s bottomline:
Lagman clearly made child’s play out of Pacquiao, at times sounding like he was explaining matters to a kid.
At least twice, Lagman reminded Pacquiao that he was asking questions that he already answered in earlier interpellationsâ€”just about the same time Pacquiao was away to prepare for his fight with Mosley.
Earlier in the day, Lagman opined that the Catholic church may be running out of arguments against the RH bill, and has resorted to getting a popular spokesperson.
If Pacquiao would be that poster boy, then they are in trouble.
Perhaps the anti RH Bill camp have not such a bad set of points to make, among which I count (but not necessarily subscribe to):
(1) Economic growth and building greater affluence amongst the population is a better initiative to focus on.
(2) Increased affluence will ultimately result in smaller families (as is the phenomenon observed in the First World).
(3) As far as contraception is concerned, Filipinos already practice what they feel is right, so there is no need for legislation to support these practices.
To which I would say (for the sake of making the space on this page worth the energy expended to display it on your screen),
(1) Why not focus on both (increasing the top-line through economic growth, and increasing the bottom line by cutting costs — costs that go into supporting liabilities)?
(2) That Filipinos become more affluent (even when the expected windfall coming from “economic liberalisation” flows in) is a BIG assumption. We will note that Filipinos have a renowned track record of being utterly clueless about how best to capitalise on resources on hand (whether these be financial or natural in nature). Take the OFW cash that for decades has flowed into the country from the army of nurses and caregivers working overseas, as an example, and ask: Where are the results? Extend that further and consider the resultant effect of OFW cash and foreign-originated capital on Filipinos’ prospects for a prosperous future: Same banana. Pinoys simply squander any sort of mooolah from heaven thrown at their gaping mouths.
(3) This one is one of the more promising arguments — but only as a starting point. It recognises the capability of the Filipino to do the right thing regardless of the bullshit they hear in their local Sunday service. The key then if we are to go down this line of thinking, is to match the influence of the Church by having more secular approaches to thinking step up to the task of competing with the primitivist thinking that currently pervades Philippine society.
But I digress. My point in highlighting these points (i.e. the lame arguments of anti Reproductive Health and my own brilliant arguments) is to show that the National “debate” on the RH Bill looks a whole lot more decent without the noise added by the Roman Catholic Church and its poster boy Manny Boy Pacquiao.
My suggestion to the anti-RH Bill (“ibasura“) camp is to ditch the Roman Catholic Church as their ally in this quaint campaign of theirs and focus on thinking rather than quoting religious hocus-pocus. I recognise that the anti-RH Bill people have much to add to this “debate”. But it is their continued fixation on celebrity and religious endorsement of their cause that had ultimately become their undoing.
The anti-RH folk, in effect, had delegated their cause to (1) people who can’t debate intelligently and (2) people who see themselves as above debate.
Talk about losing strategy.
Indeed, my personal experience in this whole RH Bill circus is a testament to this reality. My gravitation towards pro-RH campaigning was brought about more by attrition in the respectability of the way anti-RH people conduct themselves, regard their adversaries, and exhibit any sort of intelligence. Of course, I need not bother mention the obvious lameness of the anti-RH arguments to begin with as this is now quite self-evident. But I did mention it anyway. Certain people need to have things spelled out to them many times — as Lagman himself had experienced “debating” with Manny Pacquiao.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.