Without RH law, contraceptives will run out in Payatas
Articles by Category for ‘Philippines’
Swift decision on RH law sought
Manila, Philippines — Concerned about the country’s ballooning population, lawmakers are asking the Supreme Court to finally decide on the fate of the Reproductive Health (RH) law.
Teddy Brawner Baguilat made the appeal after Commission on Population (PopCom) executive director Juan Antonio Perez III disclosed that the country’s population is set to reach more than 100 million in the third or fourth quarter of 2014.
“For me, before the end of the first half of 2014, the SC should put to finish to this case, so that the policy issue addressed by Congress through the RH law should be put into life, implemented and its desired results be felt by our country. Half a year is ample time to arrive at a very sound and legal decision,” said Tugna.
Baguilat said there is a need for the SC to swiftly decide on the law, which does not only address increasing population growth but also high incidence of HIV infections and maternal deaths.
He said if the SC was able to immediately decide on the legality of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF), it should also “decisively” act on the RH law implementation.
“No more delay. We sink or swim with the SC decision. Not just to curb runaway fertility, but also to combat maternal deaths, teenage pregnancies and HIV infections,” he said.
To read the full article, please click here: http://www.freenewspos.com/news/article/d/319670/today/swift-decision-on-rh-law-sought
Experts: Man, nature share typhoon tragedy blame
By SETH BORENSTEIN
- Nov. 11, 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) – Nature and man together cooked up the disaster in the Philippines.
Geography, meteorology, poverty, shoddy construction, a booming population, and, to a much lesser degree, climate change combine to make the Philippines the nation most vulnerable to killer typhoons, according to several scientific studies.
And Typhoon Haiyan was one mighty storm.
Haiyan slammed the island nation with a storm surge two stories high and some of the highest winds ever measured in a tropical cyclone – 195 mph as clocked by U.S. satellites, or 147 mph based on local reports. An untold number of homes were blown away, and thousands of people are feared dead.
“You have a very intense event hitting a very susceptible part of the world. It’s that combination of nature and man,” said MIT tropical meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel. “If one of those ingredients were missing, you wouldn’t have a disaster.”
The 7,000 islands of the Philippines sit in the middle of the world’s most storm-prone region, which gets some of the biggest typhoons because of vast expanses of warm water that act as fuel and few pieces of land to slow storms down.
Half the storms on an informal list of the strongest ones to hit land in the 20th and 21st centuries ended up striking the Philippines, according to research by Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the Weather Underground.
Storms often hit after they’ve peaked in strength or before they get a chance to, but Haiyan struck when it was at its most powerful, based on U.S. satellite observations, Emanuel said.
Humans played a big role in this disaster, too – probably bigger than nature’s, meteorologists said. University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy figures that 75 to 80 percent of the devastation can be blamed on the human factor.
Meteorologists point to extreme poverty and huge growth in population – much of it in vulnerable coastal areas with poor construction, including storm shelters that didn’t hold up against Haiyan.
Click here to read the full AP story: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/experts-man-nature-share-typhoon-tragedy-blame
Opinion: Family planning pilot project in Philippines is a success story
The Philippines, roughly the size of Arizona, is home to 103 million people – compare that to the entire U.S. population of 313 million. The population of the Philippines is expected to double in size by 2080. Rice is the staple food, while fish provides most of the protein.
The Philippines has one of the highest birth rates in the world and the highest teen pregnancy rate in the Asian Pacific. To feed its people, the Philippines imports more rice than any other country on the planet and its oceans show severe signs of overfishing.
Something had to be done, which is why Philippine President Benigno Aquino late last year signed the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. To poor women in the Philippines, this means that government health centers will have to make reproductive health education, maternal health care and contraceptives available to everyone. It is a life-saving measure that will help end the cycle of poverty in this Southeast Asia island nation.
In the slums of its capital, Manila, it is not uncommon for women to have 12, 16 or even 22 pregnancies. However, many of the children die from treatable diseases, such as diarrhea. One woman, who had 22 pregnancies and has 17 surviving children, said, “Many times, we sleep without eating.” One of the reasons for enacting the reproductive health law is to help break the cycle of poverty and provide help to a woman and her 10 surviving children, for example, who comb toxic dump sites for a meager $7 a day to live on.
“The Philippines’ combination of high population growth and limited land area, nearly all of which is near the coast, makes the country extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Population growth, climate change and deforestation will only increase the severity of the disasters,” reports Hannah Marqusee in “Life on the Edge: Climate Change and Reproductive Health in the Philippines.”
To read the full article, please click here: http://www.nj.com/times-opinion/index.ssf/2013/02/opinion_family_planning_a_phil.html
Philippines president signs law easing access to contraceptives
By Kenneth R. Weiss and Sol VanziDecember 29, 2012, 1:18 p.m.
MANILA – Philippines President Benigno Aquino III has signed legislation that will provide modern contraceptives to the nation’s poorest people and mandate sex education in public schools, a spokeswoman announced Saturday.
Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines immediately vowed to challenge the new law in the nation’s Supreme Court and rally demonstrations in the streets, alluding to the bishops’ role in inspiring the “People Power” revolution in 1986 that helped topple former President Ferdinand Marcos.
“The fight is far from over,” said Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, a vice chairman of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, in a radio interview Saturday. “The church will continue to protect and defend life. The church will not stop.”
The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act was passed by the Philippines Congress this month after the bishops and their supporters had successfully blocked it for 14 years.
To read the full article, please click here: http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-philippines-law-contraceptives-20121229,0,6905291.story
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives made history last night with its approval of the controversial reproductive health bill that preceded two months of highly emotional debates and acted upon after 14 years of attempts by various proponents to pass the measure but foiled each time by the strong lobby of the Catholic Church.
Under the watchful eyes of at least a dozen top church leaders seated at the gallery, congressmen voted 113 for and 104 against, with 3 abstentions, to approve the measure on second reading.
Nominal voting was taken after congressmen opposed to House Bill 4244 moved for this procedure, insisting that the viva voce vote was determined to be unclear with the presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, complaining that the crowd in the gallery joined in the shouting of vote.
However, witnesses accused Tañada of bias toward approval of the bill as they noted that the gallery crowd was silent and merely keenly observed the proceedings.
At the gallery were Catholic Church Archbishops Ramon Arguelles of Lipa City; Bishop Teodoro Bacani; Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderic Pabillo; Bishop Jesse Mercado; Archbishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao; Bishop Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo City; and Msgr. Clemente Ignacio, rector of Quiapo Church. Also seen at the gallery were Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, among others.
Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, a staunch supporter of HB 4244, said the bill will be sent to another plenary vote next week, this time for third reading approval.
To read the full report, please click here: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/385515/house-oks-rh-bill#.
Catholics Herald Passage of Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines
The Philippines House of Representatives has voted to pass the Reproductive Health Bill (commonly known as the RH Bill), which will give millions of women access to contraception that was, in many cases, out of their reach. Despite widespread support for the move, and the fact that almost a third of Filipino women have an unmet need for contraception, the bill languished in Congress for almost 15 years.
Magdalena Lopez, Director of International Programs at Catholics for Choice, said, “Today is a victory for those in the Philippines who want to save lives and improve families’ well-being, an achievement that could not have come about without the pro-RH champions in Congress and the advocates who fought for it over a decade. I applaud the legislators who stood up to the bishops and for the will of the people, and the citizens-both Catholic and not Catholic-who refused to be intimidated by the hierarchy’s no-holds-barred campaign against the bill.”
The Catholic hierarchy has a lot to answer for in the delay. Rina Jimenez-David, a journalist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, wrote in Conscience magazine in 2010 about a call from two bishops asking the president to “slow down” on the RH Bill-only one among many examples of the hierarchy’s aggressive lobbying. Whether it’s been a show of force in the House of Representatives or pointed sermons against reproductive health from the pulpit, the Catholic hierarchy has consistently pressured the faithful in the pews and in Congress to sink the RH legislation. But just as consistently, opinion polls have shown a majority of citizens and Catholics in the Philippines support the government making contraception more available.
Lopez continued, “Today is also a defeat-for the bishops and their myopic point of view, which tries to override individual conscience and the rights of the women who have no means to decide whether or when to have children, and whose health and lives may be at risk without contraception.
“While far from perfect, the Reproductive Health Bill addresses some of the health disparities-including maternal mortality- disproportionately affecting the poorest women, and may help check the rising HIV infection rate in a country where condoms are too expensive for many people.”
The Senate is due to vote on an RH measure as early as next week.
Thanks to Kathy Schwarz for sending in this NY Times article, which serves as an update to the situation in the Philippines. Many of you are familiar with this epic political struggle, which pits a conservatism emanating largely from the infrastructures of the Catholic Church against more progressive interests, including President Benigno S. Aquino III, who has made the Reproductive Health Bill a priority of his two-year-old administration.
Manila Hospital, No Stranger to Stork, Awaits Reproductive Health Bill’s Fate
MANILA – In the main ward at Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, 171 women and nearly as many newborns share fewer than 100 beds. Dozens more expectant mothers line the street outside, some sleeping on the sidewalk while waiting to get in.
The women, most of whom cannot afford to give birth at a private hospital, move through a type of controlled chaos from the street, to the labor room, to the delivery room, to the maternity ward and back out the door, usually in less than 48 hours.
“It’s a never-ending story, 24 hours a day, every day,” said Dr. Romeo Bituin, who added that the government-run maternity hospital was legally required to serve as a safety net for the poor. “We can’t reject patients. If we turn them away, where will they go?”
After years of discussion in the Philippine Congress, the House of Representatives finally decided in August to end debate on a reproductive health bill that would subsidize contraception and require sex education in the Philippines, a country with one of the highest birthrates in Asia. If it passes in the House, which returned to session on Monday, the bill will also need to be approved by the Senate.
The bill’s proponents, led by President Benigno S. Aquino III, who has made the issue a priority of his two-year-old administration, say the measure will give poor women a chance to have fewer children and rise out of poverty. Opponents, backed principally by the Roman Catholic Church, say the bill is out of step with the moral tenets of the overwhelmingly Catholic Philippines and argue that a high birthrate lessens poverty.
To read the full article, please click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/10/world/asia/10iht-manila10.html?emc=eta1
Here, we return to the Philippines, for an update on the struggle to pass the RH Bill in that country.
Philippines takes on Catholic church to push birth control, sex education
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Benigno Aquino is squaring off against his country’s powerful Catholic church in a bid to give people free access to the means to limit the size of their families. The predominately Catholic country has one of Asia’s fastest-growing populations together with significant levels of chronic poverty. While neighbors have accelerated towards prosperity, the Philippines has lagged.
Economists say high population growth is a primary factor for that, but the church disagrees. It says population growth is not a cause of poverty and that people need jobs, not contraception. Aquino, a Catholic like 80 percent of the population, has thrown his support behind a reproductive health bill that will, if passed by the two houses of Congress, guarantee access to free birth control and promote sex education.
That’s something that Liza Cabiya-an might have benefited from, if she’d had the opportunity. Cabiya-an, 39, has 14 children. The oldest is 22, the youngest just 11 months. Their home is a hut in a Manila slum.
“It’s tough when you have so many children,” said Cabiya-an, a shy smile revealing poor teeth. “I have to count them before I go to sleep to make sure no one’s missing.”
At one time Cabiya-an had access to contraception but Manila mayor Jose Atienza, a devout Catholic, swept contraceptives from the shelves of city-run clinics in 2000. After that, Cabiya-an’s efforts to limit the size of her family were patchy, restricted by her meager resources. She went on and off the pill and resorted to an illegal abortion more than once.
To read the full story, please click here: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/03/14194262-philippines-takes-on-catholic-church-to-push-birth-control-sex-education?lite
The following article, which argues in favor of the Filipino RH Bill, is authored by a consortium of 30 academic economists (representing nearly all members of the UP School of Economics faculty). As you may know, various forms of “An Act Providing For a National Policy on Reproductive Health and Population and Development” have been held in a sort of legislative purgatory/limbo for well over a decade in the Philippines, as highly motivated special interests on both sides of the issue wage relentless PR battles. With a daily net gain of 230,000 globally, we may wonder at the authors’ opening sentence; from there however, they proceed to build an overwhelming technical argument in favor of the bill.
Population, poverty, politics and RH bill
By: 30 University of the Philippines economists
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The population issue has long been dead and buried in developed and most developing countries, including historically Catholic countries.
That it continues to be debated heatedly in our country merely testifies to the lack of progress in policy and action. The Catholic Church hierarchy has maintained its traditional stance against modern family planning (FP) methods, particularly modern (also referred to as “artificial”) contraceptives.
On the other hand, the State acknowledges the difficulties posed for development by rapid population growth, especially among the poorest Filipinos. But it has been immobilized from effectively addressing the issue by the Catholic hierarchy’s hard-line position, as well as the tendency of some politicians to cater to the demands of well-organized and impassioned single-issue groups for the sake of expediency.
Caught between a hard Church and a soft State are the overwhelming majority of Filipinos who affirm the importance of helping women and couples control the size of their families and the responsibility of the government to provide budgetary support for modern FP services.
Renewed impetus to the debate has been given by the public and political interest in the decade-and-a-half old bill on “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development” (RH bill, for short). Unfortunately, serious discussion has been hampered by the lack of reliable information and the proclivity of some parties in the debate to use epithets that label the bill as “proabortion,” “antilife” and “immoral.”
There were a few aspects of the bill to which some groups have expressed objections, which the latest version has already addressed. In any case, the main thrust of the bill-”enabl(ing) couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information and means to carry out their decisions”-is something we strongly and unequivocally support. In what follows, we explain why.
The experience from across Asia indicates that population policy cum government-funded FP program has been a critical complement to sound economic policy and poverty reduction.
To read the full article, please click here: http://opinion.inquirer.net/33539/population-poverty-politics-and-rh-bill