RA 10354 — a product mangled by Pinoy-style discourse

Droll, unintelligent, petty, and pathetic – these words describe the “debate” that has surrounded the discussion of the Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill), the passing through both houses of Congress and its eventual signing into law as RA 10354.

The whole point of the exercise was to implement some sort of semblance of population control. Somewhere along the way, Filipinos lost the plot and the whole point of population control was politically-corrected beyond recognition.

Let me make it clear from the onset: the RH Bill isn’t necessarily the problem itself; how Pinoy society handled the discourse until its eventual signing is. In fact, the RH Bill is but one of the many “casualties” of world-renowned Pinoy flawed thinking.

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Both the pro- and anti- camps had moronic arguments to boot. Exhibit A: ladies first, Sen. Pia Cayetano. Safe sex is arguably a state concern, but satisfying sex? Excuse me, when did personal matters become something for the state to meddle in? Is this what they meant by empowering women, hmm?

If growing older used to equate to growing wiser, perhaps Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is an exception to this “rule”. There are just so many thing wrong with his statement on why he opposed the RH Bill. That our biggest export is OFW’s — is this something to be proud about? How long will we continue to export warm bodies to work in inhospitable conditions just to feed the frenzied consumerism of Da Pinoy? How long do we plan to be extremely dependent on the OFW remittances and the economic, social and political situations of other countries? If the wells dry up, do we have enough room to accommodate our former “exports”? What was the good Senator drinking, I mean, thinking?

Has the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines become irrelevant? The scare tactics that they used to employ every time an issue that they deem “immoral” comes along don’t work anymore, at least to people who have seen through their hypocrisy. The passing of the RH Bill certainly put the Church and its senior officials down a peg or two; perhaps instead of meddling in what are otherwise state and secular affairs, they should just focus on guiding Filipino spirituality. On the other hand, the Church happened to be the next domino to fall because they found themselves in opposition to BS Aquino.

[Photo courtesy Straits Times.]

One of the biggest ironies surrounding the Church and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is that they continually ingrain into the people’s thinking that being poor is a blessing. When methods to enlighten the people are brought up, they cry foul yet absolve themselves of blame and responsibility. Have you ever wondered why for the longest time, contraception, and until now, divorce, remain such no-go topics here? Just recently, a bishop failed to frame his statement in the proper context and came out looking like he downplayed overpopulation and poverty as problems for Filipinos.

The RH Bill has been hijacked as a victory by the “pro-choice” people. Yet I have always held the belief that Filipinos have never been deprived of choices; they just keep making the wrong ones. Filipinos have always had it in them to plan families naturally and properly. Did they take “go forth and multiply” literally? Or is it that Filipino males going around being indiscrete about their sexuality and “manhood” is but a manifestation of the obsolete tradition-religion complex found here?

Just as common sense, and good manners cannot be legislated, I do not think is it possible to legislate discipline or “satisfying sex” either. Nor is it possible to legislate family planning when the problem in Filipino society is the second word. Filipinos live by the all too familiar bahala-na mantra (come what may, anything goes). God will provide, anyway, so to speak.

The palamunin Pinoy is a money pit; I don’t understand how throwing more money and condoms into the pit’s mouth will solve it. The RH Bill will supposedly provide better access to health care services and contraceptives, but if the Filipino simply sees a “freebie” without the corresponding responsibility that comes along with it what good will this new “bill” do?

One more thing; how will the benefits of this RH Law be measured and quantified? Is it by the number of condoms given? Is it by the number of people who have reported “satisfying sex”? How I wish this would be made abundantly clearer.

One of the biggest issues I have with the RH Bill is summarized as such: You can lead a horse to water, but will it drink by itself? And especially if the horse is being jockeyed by an institution that has refused to cope with the modern times. Giving out free condoms is not the answer; proper sex education and education on family planning is, regardless of what the CBCP has to say.

Because Filipinos are world-renowned for losing the plot, it is hard for their society to stick to debating an idea on its merits. As the brouhaha over the RH Bill has shown, things degrade to a pro- versus anti- indignation shouting match, with the louder voice usually winning. Popularity trumps logical coherence any day, and the wrong arguments always win.

Speaking of wrong arguments, check out this list of anti-RH Bill arguments that will make you go WTF.

The bottom line is, as long as Filipinos allow their debates to revolve around the wrong ideas, to be derailed by emotionally charged arguments, and to be hijacked by grandstanding demagogues, they will forever be trapped in an intellectual prison of their own making.

29 Replies to “RA 10354 — a product mangled by Pinoy-style discourse”

  1. “One of the biggest ironies surrounding the Church and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is that they continually ingrain into the people’s thinking that being poor is a blessing.” – That really got my goat in my article on the topic.

  2. ” Just recently, a bishop failed to frame his statement in the proper context and came out looking like he downplayed overpopulation and poverty as problems for Filipinos.”

    Care to expound and include some specifics on the context that you’ve commented.

    For me, I see this as a problem. A lot of low-information readers might again use that one to exaggerate what really was said.

    “The obsolete tradition-religion complex”

    Is there such a thing for Catholic religion?

    If one believes in moral relativism, I say it might be true. But one pillar of Roman Catholic religion is moral absolutism. A belief that can’t be obsoleted. As applied to the RH Bill, it’s the sanctity of human life.

    Moral relativism = cost and benefit morality.

    A snippet from Wiki about moral relativism in relation with depopulation –

    “Catholic and some secular intellectuals attribute the perceived post-war decadence of Europe to the displacement of absolute values by moral relativism. Pope Benedict XVI, Marcello Pera and others have argued that after about 1960, Europeans massively abandoned many traditional norms rooted in Christianity and replaced them with continuously evolving relative moral rules. In this view, sexual activity has become separated from procreation, which led to a decline in the importance of families and to depopulation. As a result, currently the population vacuum in Europe is filled by immigrants, often from Islamic countries, who attempt to reestablish absolute values which stand at odds with moral relativism.[19] The most authoritative response to moral relativism from the Roman Catholic perspective can be found in Veritatis Splendor, an encyclical by Pope John Paul II. Many of the main criticisms of moral relativism by the Catholic Church relate largely to modern controversies, such as elective abortion.”

    1. A “belief that can’t be obsoleted”? Is there such a thing? See, in case you hadn’t noticed I just played the same game you were playing just then Trosp.

      Why don’t you come up with something of substance from your own mind organically and articulate it coherently instead of lazily lifting quotes to prop up your half-arsed assertions about belief systems.

      And by the way, progress in knowledge necessitates “obsoletion” of some ideas as more sound ones are formulated and flawed ones superseded. Of course a guy like you whose mind is imprisoned by dogma wouldn’t understand that.

      1. @ benignO

        Is there anything wrong with the word “obsoleted” as expressed correctly by @ Trosp? It is a transitive verb meaning “to fall into disuse”. It is also an adjective.

        I don’t see @ Trosp’s arguments off topic, so what is your problem? I don’t see his investigative detail oriented journalistic style a nuisance? If you think it is, I think you have a problem?

        1. My answer is a “no” to all of your questions above. Rather than quibble over the surface meaning in my comment above, look into deeper point I try to make — if you can, that is.

        2. Once dogma is involved, either the exchange becomes endless or it just stops abruptly.

          This should be fun.

      2. Just look at my exchange with Trosp under my recent article to see his problem. All I was doing was sharing my opinion and somebody finds something wrong with it.

        1. Not wrong in itself… but you accused me of having a hidden agenda. Though I guess you have to prove that still. 😉

      3. benign0

        I’m a Catholic and just like what I’ve commented, one of the pillars of of Catholic’s dogma is the moral absolutism. And that is my belief that can’t be obsoleted.

        From Wiki –

        Moral relativism

        “The philosophized notion that right and wrong are not absolute values, but are personalized according to the individual and his or her circumstances or cultural orientation. It can be used positively to effect change in the law (e.g., promoting tolerance for other customs or lifestyles) or negatively as a means to attempt justification for wrongdoing or lawbreaking. The opposite of moral relativism is moral absolutism, which espouses a fundamental, Natural Law of constant values and rules, and which judges all persons equally, irrespective of individual circumstances or cultural differences.”

        You may have your quarter arsed assertion but you can’t change my Catholic dogma.

        We have a different approach in making arguments. So just refute my argument.

        Not unless of course you’re grasping at straw.

        1. Lol! I like it when people call me arrogant. It just simply feeds my arrogance further and makes me even more arrogant. It’s me you’re talking to dude. Deal with it. 😀

          Well see that’s the thing. You use “Catholic’s dogma” [sic] as the foundation of your arguments. Is Catholic dogma subject to critical review and modification on the basis of said review? It isn’t. So that makes it a necessarily flawed body of ideas as it is rigidly designed/administered from the top-down rather than crystallised and evolved from the bottom-up.

          If the starting point of ALL your arguments is “Catholic’s dogma” then your entire thesis is a house of cards held up by a single flawed card that can easily be yanked out.

        2. Benigno

          Yes I’m dealing with your arrogance and I’m having fun with it.

          I’m having my fun when I feel how your head exploded every time you read the word Catholic in my comments.

          I love it when self-aggrandizement is taking over your ego.

          LOL…enjoy your arrogance.

        3. Benigs


          As you have commented –

          “You merely highlight the point I make.”

          You still don’t get it arrogant dude.

          I’m dosing you with your own medicine.

          You might get lucky next time.

          Next topic!

    2. “As a result, currently the population vacuum in Europe is filled by immigrants, often from Islamic countries, who attempt to reestablish absolute values which stand at odds with moral relativism.[19]”

      I can only speak for my country (the Netherlands). Almost all islamic immigrants come from (very) poor back grounds (rural areas) where they still enforce and encourage conservative, old-fashioned traditions, behaviors and minds. Here you can see islamic women walking in burqas. Hence they will not adapt, not adopt, not blend in with/to the dutch modern way of thinking. They re-establish nothing, they just live here as if they lived in their own home town rural areas. The first generation of islamic immigrants are low educated, have big families and live in small tiny houses. They cant handle the dutch open society and the young adoloscent boys/guys harrass dutch girls bec the dutch girls display/show too much skin (cleavages, bikinis and all that).

      1. Robert,

        Have you heard of Islamization of Europe. I have this link –


        Snippet –

        “Some writers, notably Christopher Caldwell and Mark Steyn, have gone into considerable detail about the now widely recognized fact that the low birth rate among ethnic Europeans, the high birth rate among European Muslims, and the steady arrival of new Muslim immigrants on the continent will mean an increasingly Muslim Europe in the decades to come and, ultimately, a majority Muslim population in one country after another.”

        1. @Trosp,

          Thanks for the link. I know the situation in my own country. And I can say on behalf of a lot of dutch people those islamic immigrants are NOT liked and NOT loved. The only body that can do something about this migration is the dutch national government by setting tougher, higher restrictions for them to enter the Netherlands.

          My personal view on this: Everybody is welcome as long as he/she contributes to the economy, adapt to the open dutch culture and preaches his own religion behind his own front door. In case they want to apply for dutch citizenship they will only get it if and when they meet some certain requirements during their first 5 or 10 years in the Netherlands.
          You know what will happen if I migrate to an islamic country? Can my partner/wife roam the streets there in a T-shirt and jeans?

        2. As you probably may know Turkey wants to join the EU as a member. But the EU is reluctant and hesitant to give them their membership. Go figure why.

  3. The RH Bill discussion denigrated into an “Us-Them” thing. So people like me, ambivalent, who doesn’t care whether it passes or fails, because other issues are more important, may also pigeon-holed as “bad” or “uncaring,” in the typical Da Pinoy Emo style.

  4. because other filipinos are not discussing the rh bill the way the author wants it to be discussed, he is labeling the debate “droll, unintelligent, petty, and pathetic”. is there a name for this type of fallacy? i guess we have to debate issues in the way other countries (like grp’s idols australia and singapore) debate them so we seem “enlightened” pwe! i think that the rh bill issue has been both informative and lively/entertaining so its a win win

  5. This type of discourse appears in various countries. See, for example, some of the points raised regarding gun control in the U.S.

  6. perhaps the idea should be, if you’re a religious group, then you shouldn’t be involved in any political activity…

  7. Nice information, many thanks to the author. It’s helpful to me now, but in general, the effectiveness and significance is overpowering. Thanks again and all the best!

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