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#Yes2RH: Selfies in support of the reproductive health law

Using the hashtag #Yes2RH, upload selfies on your Facebook and Twitter accounts from March 28 until April 8 in support of the reproductive health law

Rappler.com

Published 5:26 PM, March 27, 2014
Updated 5:26 PM, March 27, 2014

[pic]

MANILA, Philippines – A social media campaign is underway to raise awareness in support of the reproductive health (RH) law, whose implementation has been put on hold by the Supreme Court for a year a now.

Republic Act 10354, which would provide information on and access to reproductive health services, is under status quo ante order “until further orders” by the Supreme Court (SC). The law – probably the most polarizing national issue today – was passed on December 18, 2012, after 13 years in Congress. Anti-RH advocates immediately questioned the constitutionality of the law before the SC.
The high court is expected to decide on the case in April, with insiders predicting the law could be headed for defeat in the Supreme Court.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr has said that declaring the RH law as unconstitutional would be "a veto against the will of majority of our people."
As decision time nears, frustrated reproductive health supporters are taking the fight to the social media world. The #Yes2RH campaign was initiated by Likhaan Center for Women's Health, in cooperation with several other pro-RH organization.It will run from March 28 until April 8.

Likhaan calls on other RH advocates to support the campaign, and hopefully influence the upcoming SC decision.

Using the hashtag #Yes2RH, they've started a campaign that asks citizens to upload selfies on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Here is the format:

Name, Designation 1, Designation 2 (optional)
Location
#Yes2RH

A few celebrities and citizens have already uploaded their #Yes2RH selfies. Check them out below:

[pic]
"Do a Selfie for RH Law!" Say #Yes2RH! Join our partners in the Philippines! @RHnow@ARROW_Women #srhr4all pic.twitter.com/UkyVIfjYEY

http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/54012-yes2rh-selfies-reproductive-health

PH Church 'right' despite Pope Francis' comments

'[The Pope] did not rebuff the strong opposition to contraception, abortion or homosexual marriage. He just set it on proper grounding'

Published 1:52 PM, September 24, 2013
Updated 1:52 PM, September 24, 2013

[pic]

'NO REBUFF' Catholic leaders say their stance against contraception, abortion and gay marriage stands. File photo of the Manila Cathedral. AFP/Noel Celis

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Catholic leaders are standing firm against contraception, abortion and homosexual marriage despite Pope Francis' comments urging a change of tone on those issues, the national Church said Tuesday, September 24.

About 80% of the country's 100 million population are Catholics, making the country the bastion of the faith in Asia, and Church leaders insisted that its dogma would remain in place.

"He is not saying that what the Church deemed before as wrong is now right. He is merely telling us to be more compassionate," Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Jose Palma said in reaction to the recent papal statement.

"He won't be saying contraceptives, and even abortion, are now okay. No! Do not expect that to happen," Archbishop Palma said in comments made Monday, September 23.

In an interview published last week, the Argentine pontiff urged a break with the Church's harsh "obsession" with divorce, gays, contraception and abortion.

Church leaders in the Philippines have led a decade-long campaign against a birth control law that required the state to hand out free condoms and birth control pills, and provide post-abortion medical care.

The Supreme Court suspended the law in March so that judges could hear formal petitions from a range of Church-backed groups arguing that it was unconstitutional.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the vice president of the bishops' group, said: "He (the pope) did not rebuff the strong opposition to contraception, abortion or homosexual marriage. He just set it on proper grounding."

The transcripts of Palma's and Villegas' comments were made available by the bishops' organization to Agence France-Presse on Tuesday.

Former representative Edcel Lagman, who authored the Reproductive Health law, told Agence France-Presse the pope's comments had put the Filipino Church leaders on the defensive, saying they belonged to its "ultra-conservative wing."

"I think they will have to reconcile their doctrines and make themselves attuned to the liberal thinking of the new pope. There is no way to go but to follow the pope," he said.

Lagman said the Filipino Church's conservative activism was rooted in its key role converting locals to Christianity as part of the Asian islands' 17th-century colonization by Spain.

"The Church feels it should meddle in the affairs of the State," he added. –Rappler.com

http://www.rappler.com/nation/39717-ph-church-right-despite-pope-francis-comments

Pro, anti-RH groups in show of force

Pro and anti-RH law groups hold separate rallies in front of the Supreme Court before oral arguments

Rappler.com

Published 2:15 PM, July 09, 2013
Updated 4:55 PM, July 09, 2013

[pic]

A LOUD NO. Catholic groups hold a rally in front of the Supreme Court. Photo by Ace Tamayo/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Outside the Supreme Court in Padre Faura, Manila, critics and supporters of the Reproductive Health law held their own show of force on Tuesday, July 9, as Justices open oral arguments on the consitutionality of the law.

The Catholic Church, which has threatened President Benigno Aquino III and other supporters of the law with excommunication, held prayer vigils and masses on Tuesday morning ahead of the Court hearing.

"We ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten and inspire the lawyers who would be arguing for our position... and enlighten the justices of the Supreme Court," Bishop Gabriel Reyes told a mass in Manila held ahead of the opening of proceedings.

Wearing red shirts, Anti-RH law groups marched to Padre Faura hours and held a prayer vigil for lawyers who are representing 15 petitioners against the law.

Filipinos For Life movement President Anthony Perez said they were staging the rally to “celebrate life.”

The law requires government health centers to hand out free condoms and birth control pills, benefiting tens of millions of the country's poor who would not otherwise be able to afford or have access to them.

According to Perez, student volunteers from St. Paul Manila, University of Sto. Tomas, Don Bosco Mandaluyong, San Sebastian Cavite, and Siena College also came to support the anti-RH law groups.

Sienna College Academic Coordinator Tito Doroja said the college did not force their students to join the rally. “We still stand by the side of the Catholic Church that these teachings, although legal, are immoral,” Doroja said.

[pic]

REMEMBER THE WOMEN. Groups supporting the RH law in front of the Supreme Court. Photo by Leanne Jazul/Rappler

Think of the moms
Supporters of the law that took 13 years and 14 months to pass also held their own rally. Mostly women, they wore purple and carried purple umbrellas.

Proponents say the law will slow the country's population growth, which is one of the fastest in the world, and reduce the number of mothers dying at child birth.

"In the Philippines we lose 14 to 15 mothers a day due to pregnancy-related complications," international medical charity Merlin and its Philippine partner Likhaan said in a statement.

"But with this law, we are closer than ever before to being able to provide a low-cost solution which will directly save the lives of women and their babies, whose loss to their families and communities cannot be quantified."

The Supreme Court suspended the law in March so that the Justices could hear the 15 formal petitions from a range of Church-backed groups arguing that it was unconstitutional.

The opponents argue the law erodes a section of the constitution that protects the "right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions."

“For so many years we have been fighting to have a law that would ensure the reproductive rights of the women, especially women workers, and it is a sad day today that the implementation of the law is long delayed,” Partido ng Manggagawa secretary-general Judy Ann Miranda said.

Miranda added that the delay in the implementation of the RH law has only increased the rate of women dying from pregnancy and childbirth complications.

“This is the tragedy of the Catholic Church’s unscientific and false allegations against proven safe and effective contraception. This is the injustice that the Catholic Church is promoting by consistently imposing its anti-women beliefs to our society,” Miranda said.

RH law advocate Sen Pia Cayetano, one of the interveners for the RH law said that she is confident they have a strong case. “To deny RH services from our people would be a denial of human rights and a grave social injustice, especially against women and the poor,” Cayetano said adding that she welcomes the opportunity for them to present before the High Court their arguments on its constitutionality and legality.

In a text message to Rappler, SC spokesperson Theodore Te said that given the various issues at stake, only the petitioners against the RH law would likely be able to present their arguments Tuesday afternoon at the Supreme Court. The next hearing will be next week, on July 23. – with reports from Ace Tamayo and Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

http://www.rappler.com/nation/33279-pro-anti-rh-law-rally

Bacolod bishop: 'Uphill battle' in anti-RH campaign

BY GILBERT BAYORAN
POSTED ON 04/28/2013 10:53 AM | UPDATED 04/29/2013 6:31 PM
[pic]STILL NO TO RH LAW. Anti-RH rally participants chant "Junk the RH Law" at the Bacolod City public plaza Saturday, April 27. Rappler/Gilbert Bayoran
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines - Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra admitted that their campaign against the Reproductive Health law, which is now on its third year, is an uphill battle.
But the huge turnout of anti-RH rally Saturday, April 27, at the Bacolod City plaza, which was estimated by its organizers at 6,000, and joined by 3 senatorial aspirants, made him more "inspired," Navarra said.

"It is an uphill battle but let us encourage one another to continue this fight because we are doing what Christ would have done in obedience to His Father's commandment," Navarra said in a statement.

The Diocese of Bacolod reiterated its stand that the RH Law was anti-life, anti-morals, anti-family, anti-marriage and contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Describing the RH law as the "most evil law," Navarra stressed that it should be repealed.
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial candidates Gregorio Honasan and Mitos Magsaysay, and Ang Kapatiran bet John Carlos de los Reyes attended the rally, and assured Navarra of their support to repeal the law once they get elected into the Senate.
Honasan, in a press conference before the start of the anti-RH rally, said he is praying and encouraging the laity to continue the battle against the RH Law because the right to life is primary in the Constitution.

"It has to be continuing advocacy to preserve and repair our damage institutions beyond the 2013 polls for national survival," he said.

Magsaysay said she opposed the RH law because it was not necessary, as its provisions were already in the Magna Carta for Women.

Honasan and Magsaysay are included in the "Team Buhay" list of the Diocese of Bacolod for their stand against the RH law.

De Los Reyes, a presidential candidate in the 2010 elections, said he had relentlessly campaigned against the RH bill. His presidential bid 3 years ago was endorsed by Navarra.

The RH law must be repealed because "it will destroy the family and the morals of the Filipino people," de los Reyes said.

A huge tarpaulin calling for "Team Buhay Forever, Team Patay Never, Ibasura ang RH Law" was displayed at the Bacolod City plaza, minus the names of candidates.

However, the "Team Patay, Team Buhay" tarpaulin displayed in front of the Bacolod San Sebastian Cathedral still have the names of candidates, including party-list groups.
Majority of the anti-RH rally participants wore red T-shirts. - Rappler.com

http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections-2013/27686-bishop-uphill-battle-in-anti-rh-campaign

Spiritually pro-RH

Humility demands that we know the limits of personal experiences and beliefs. And it is cruel to use the death and suffering of people to argue for your political cause.

Sylvia Estrada Claudio

Published 8:59 AM, January 24, 2013
Updated 9:26 AM, January 24, 2013
Sylvia Claudio

The struggle for and RH law has been long and difficult. A large part of the difficulty has been the opposition by one of the most powerful social institutions in our society: the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

When my organization, Likhaan, began advocating for an RH law, I had not thought that we were challenging the Church. Likhaan's core program is community organizing for health service delivery that addresses the needs of women and youth as well as men.

We were dragged into legislative advocacy when we met so many barriers to our work and massive violations of women's health rights. The ban by former Mayor Lito Atienza of reproductive health services in Manila is just one glaring example. That ban is still under investigation by international human rights agencies.

I was reluctant to engage in legislative advocacy because I found the population emphasis of earlier bills troubling. I began my involvement in reproductive rights as a critic of Marcos' population control program. I was also one of the many women who worked internationally to ban dangerous contraceptive technologies. This included the high dose oral contraceptive formulations that are no longer on the market. It is these contraceptives that are often referred to when those opposed to the RH law cite studies on cancerous and other bad side effects.

As one of the many women who worked on the Program of Action adopted by the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, I helped ensure that the concern with population growth would not become a rationale for population control. The ICPD also calls for the protection of women from unsafe contraceptive technologies. The ICPD remains the international standard for reproductive health and rights. Like the RH Law, many who criticize this document seem not to have read it.

Enemy of the Church

All of this is merely a backdrop for the very small part of my experience that I have managed to process since the RH bill has become the RH law. That is the idea that I have become an enemy of the Catholic Church because of my advocacy.

I had no idea that the differences with the hierarchy of the Philippine Catholic Church would get so fraught. The angry men (mostly) who continue to tweet and message me seem to know that I am agnostic and see in this an explanation of my alleged hatred of the Church.

Truth is, I had no idea what Catholicism is really like in Philippine society until the struggle for the RH law. Having been raised in an agnostic household, I was taught to respect all faiths and non-faiths. I realized the horrible history of the religious orders in the Philippines upon reading about the Philippine Revolution of 1896, but had no thought that these abuses were anything but matters of the past.

In short, I have no deep-seated angst against the Catholic Church.

However, like many others I have cause to be angry because of way the CBCP and some anti-RH advocates behaved. But my agnostic spirituality (yes Virginia, there is such a thing) keeps me from holding on to my anger. Thus, though I have the distinction of being called an “abortionist whore” in some anti-RH websites and being named by Sen. Sotto as an advocate for abortion in one of his speeches in the Senate, I remind myself that not everyone in the anti-RH camp resorts to name calling.

Some of the Catholics I work with are angrier at their Church. Some of them have left and are calling for the end of its influence. I suppose they are more emotional because they are hurt and disappointed. Others however, are angry for experiences I don't have---such as sexual abuse from the Catholic clergy.

The science that underpins the RH law is solid. Indeed, the representative for the Agham party, in explaining his “yes” vote, said he was voting for the side that had won the scientific argument. I have often urged my fellow advocates, however, to make both scientific and moral arguments.

So here, I present, 5 spiritual differences between me and anti-RH advocates.

1) It's immoral to deny scientific knowledge.

As someone who has doctorate degrees in both social science and natural science, I am aware of the limits of science. But the denial of scientific knowledge is unacceptable.

Understanding the compatibility of science and spirituality is one of those endeavors I would like to have another lifetime to undertake.

However, I will make only two arguments. First, science tells us much about what Catholics and other religious call “creation.” It tells us the nature of that creation and how that creation works.

If creation is, as the Catholics claim, a manifestation of and by God, then we have to study it with full acceptance and deep reverence. That is also what the best scientists do regardless of whether they profess a faith or not. Many find that accepting scientific data is not incompatible with faith.

Thus, it shocked me when during one of the debates on a TV show, a medical doctor who confronted with scientific data that contraceptives don't prevent implantation of the fertilized ovum, said that she would set aside any scientific study if it meant contravening the principles of the Church. It shocked me that she and I could be so profoundly different in how we approach medical practice and spirituality.

However, the second argument that I make for science is that it teaches me to value my profound spiritual differences with that anti-RH doctor. Nature emphasizes to us the value of diversity—in forms, in mechanisms, in interactions. It is diversity that underlies the stupendous beauty of creation.

This is why I don't treat an anti-RH individual as a known entity until I get to know them better.

2) Humility demands that we know the limits of personal experiences and beliefs.

At one time during the advocacy for the passage of the RH bill an observation/joke was going around among those of us who are medical doctors. “Why”, asked the joke, “does getting pregnant while on the pill happen to less than one percent of ordinary human beings while it happens to 100% of the celebrity wives of celebrity politicians?”

A long time ago, I was extremely relieved when one of my children decided against accepting a contract to work with one of the major TV networks. As a psychologist I was already bracing to give the support he would need to prevent the damage that comes from excessive attention.

So when Rep. Lani Mercado Revilla began her explanation of her “no” vote on the RH bill by citing her bad experiences with the pill, I tweeted, “with celebrities it is always about them.” My analysis was strengthened when Rep Lucy Torres made similar arguments based on her personal experience and her demand that her particular view on when life begins should be the view of everyone. (This latter argument, that all of us should believe as she believes, also falls under the category of religious authoritarianism which I discuss below.)

Under the reasoning of “it was bad for me therefore it must be bad for everyone else,” I should then ask that a bill banning Lamaze birthing be filed. I tried this for all my 3 pregnancies and it failed for me.

People have also argued that what is good for them must be good for everyone else. This argument was repeated by more representatives then I care to remember. (Politicians suffer from similar ego problems as celebrities.) The most common argument that falls under this category is the one that says, “my parents never practiced family planning and I am fine/wonderful/successful.

Apart from the lack of insight in that claim (many Filipinos think very poorly of politicians), they fail to see that many children born to big families die early or that many families are motherless because of the high rates of maternal mortality associated with ill-timed and numerous births.

Without claiming any wonderfulness, I am grateful to have been born. Nonetheless my deep joy in existing does not allow me to make the self-centered proposal that it is good for all women to have as many children as possible so that more people can be as joyfully alive.

My last point for this section, is an added one about the spiritual benefits of listening to science. As I replied to one young woman who kept debating me about how she would not use oral contraceptives because she believed them to be dangerous, “your choice works for you. It should be everyone else's? Science tames our egos and tells us what is generalizable.”

Despite what this young woman, Lani and Lucy believe, oral contraceptives have been shown to be so safe that the American Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends they be sold without a prescription.

3) Moral differences are not a reason to bully anyone.

During certain periods, I would get tweets castigating me about something I wrote or did to help pass the RH bill.

Often these people were angry about something I did not say such as “the unborn is not a child”. I understand from the person who tweeted this that it is what some other RH advocate said. I know I would not have said this because I do not use the term “unborn” often. I prefer the terms, fertilized ovum, zygote, embryo or fetus.

In any case the tweets are quite hostile if not outright libelous. (Don't worry sirs, I won't sue under the reprehensible cybercrime law. I am spiritual that way.)

Further exchanges lead to accusations that I am attacking the Church/Jesus/God and that they will defend the Church/Jesus/God at all costs.

I am reminded of the schoolyard bully who used to watch nerds like me walk across his domain. Stay away from him and he would say, “why, you think I stink that you walk so far from me?” Walk a little closer and he will say, “give me a little space here.” In other words, he just wanted to to pick on me, period. Being so much bigger than me, he never needed to say what he would say to others less powerful, “be careful, my grandma is the school principal.”

From the tweets of these men, I noticed that like the schoolyard bully, they monitor my movements—that is, my FB status, tweets and organizational affiliations. I should add that I don't start these debates, I just feel compelled to answer when they tag me.

Unlike the nemesis of my childhood however, these defenders of Jesus have the advantage of claiming the much bigger turf of Philippine society and not just a schoolyard. They also have Jesus or God or the Church as bigger backers than their grandma. Lastly, they can pick a fight with me not just for anything that I did, but what other RH advocates have done as well. That makes me and a lot of people who disagree with them easy pickings for a fight. My old nemesis would be green with envy.

A variant of this is, “I have a personal relationship with Jesus whom I love even more than my earthly father. How would you feel if I insulted your father?” This frightens me. I have sometimes dealt with people who invoked the superior social position of their father when they disagreed with me. But I don't quite know how I might approach Jesus and convince him to control his sons. Is he like other fathers who can sometimes be unreasonable? What about his being a father is similar or dissimilar to a biological father? Is it ok for me to ask why such a powerful father would need defending from a UP teacher or is that also offensive to his sons and Him?

Unlike the bully, I certainly don't take differences as a personal assault. Indeed, I am often moved to ask the hostile men who tweet me if I have ever met them, seeing how their interest in what I have done seems so personal. I am often tempted to reassure them that I am not out to upset them and that my interest in them has to grow to become even cursory. But things they say make me think their egos cannot take this and they would see it as an insult rather than as a sign of civility.

4) I expect to debate on equal terms.

I have called the CBCP a liar for its claims that condoms do not protect against HIV infection. I would go further and condemn it for adding to the likelihood of deaths from AIDS because of its misinformation.

This is probably why some anti-RH think I hate/dislike/am an enemy of the Church.

Truth is, as an agnostic and law-abiding citizen, I will not contest whatever it is that the CBCP says in Churches. I don't have a stake in theological matters such as whether Catholics should only have sex for the purposes of procreation.

Thus, when Catholic friends and relatives rail against the anti-RH sermons, I am sympathetic but non-argumentative. I wish for them that their Church could find a way to listen to their views because I like their interpretations of what Christianity (and Jesus) should mean to their own lives and society. But I am invested in such matters only because I love my friends and relatives.

But when the CBCP enters public space to make unscientific and dangerous statements, I do not feel obligated to treat it as anything else but an equal. I can call it a liar, without being disrespectful to Jesus.

When the CBCP insists that all of us (including agnostics) should have sex only for procreation, then I can accuse it of authoritarianism without implying that I believe Jesus is a fascist. (To repeat, theological questions about the nature of Jesus are not something I have an opinion about.)

There is intellectual duplicity here. The Church makes public statements that people may find offensive. Its defenders stop us from criticizing under the principle of respect for religion. That is really not a call for religious respect. It is a call to privilege the views of one religion by preventing it from being analyzed and criticized.

5) It is cruel to use the death and suffering of people to argue for your political cause.

At the start of the Habagat floods, which was also when the House of Representatives voted to end the plenary debates on RH, I tweeted, “please no one use the suffering of Metro Manila now to claim God's endorsement of their cause. If there is a God, s/he can't be that slimy.”

True enough, anti-RH politician, Mitos Magsaysay, tweeted, “Heaven must be crying, we should undo what has been done.” Magsaysay denied the newspaper report on this later, saying that she was talking about the environment. So let me recalibrate my rating of her from “cruel” to “insensitive.”

After her, there are newspaper reports of similar statements from the fathers of the Church. Bishop Pabillo claimed that the massive destruction, misery, and death caused by typhoon Pablo is related to the discussions on the RH bill. Bishop Arguelles likens President Aquino to the killer of school children in Connecticut. Bishop Garcera sees overpopulation as a boon because it is the reason we have a large group of overseas Filipina domestic workers. Garcera sees in the poverty that causes people to seek overseas work, the homesickness and loneliness of our OFWs, the often difficult working conditions, the abuse and violence, “God's plan” for the Philippines and its women.

Respecting The Different Other

I think the main spiritual difference is that I value diversity in Philippine society and culture. I think it deeply wrong to deny data or opinions that contradict what I believe. Valuing difference allows me to change my clinical practice so that may patients may benefit from the latest scientific information. Valuing difference frees me from the impulse of demonizing others so that I may dismiss their beliefs.

It is my hope that when the Supreme Court takes up those petitions against the RH law, it takes cognizance of the views of those who find it culturally acceptable, ethically defensible and congruent with the Constitution. It is my hope that the Supreme Court listens to the scientists among us, to those of other faiths and non-faiths, and to those whose cultural practices differ from the petitioners.

I ask this not because the Supreme Court has to decide who among us is truly moral. It does not have to decide who among us are truly Filipino in our ways. It need not attempt to stop the divisiveness of the issue nor soothe the bitter disappointment of those who are against the law.

I hope that the Supreme Court decides that it cannot and must not arbitrate against diversity. It can only arbitrate respect for spiritual differences by upholding a law that at the end of a long and thorough national debate, gained the support of a majority of lawmakers and citizens. - Rappler.com

http://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/20312-spiritually-pro-rh

No to RH so 'we can Filipinize the world!'

Lawmakers used nominal voting as an opportunity to explain their votes on the RH bill

[pic]

Historic vote. The House of Representatives approves the RH Bill on 2nd reading. Photo by Egay G. Aguilar

MANILA, Philippines - After more than 5 hours of voting, the House of Representatives approved the Reproductive Health bill before dawn Thursday, December 13, first through viva voce voting, then a subsequent nominal vote.

To address each lawmaker seeking to explain his or her vote, presiding Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III asked a standard question: What is the pleasure of the gentleman/lady from, say, Quezon City? When it was the turn, for example, of Akbayan Rep Walden Bello, Tañada asked the same question: "What is the pleasure of the gentleman from Akbayan?"

Bello, who voted yes to the RH bill, quipped: “I hesitate to answer the question, because 'pleasure' has become a controversial word in this debate."

The lawmakers' explanation of their vote ranged from the boring to the outrageous.

Say what?

Davao Oriental Rep Thelma Almario said the Philippines is a migrant country and that's why she was voting against the bill.

“I wish that in my lifetime we will have enough Filipinos so we can 'Filipinize' the whole world," she said.

Pampanga Rep Dong Gonzales, who has 12 siblings, shared his life story. After a lengthy explanation, he voted no. “My parents told me to say no before they passed on,” he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

Citing the communist movement, Anad party-list Jun Alcover voted a "double no" to the RH Bill, saying that it will "destroy choice and divide the nation."

Association of Laborers and Employees (ALE) partylist Rep Catalina Bagasina invoked Typhoon "Pablo" when he voted against the bill.

“The recent natural calamities are a sign that the RH Bill is bad,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sarangani Rep Manny Pacquiao, fresh from his defeat to Mexican boxer Juan Miguel Marquez, said his resolve to vote no was strengthened by the Las Vegas fight.

"My wife cried. Some thought I was dead. Kung akala nila isang buhay na naman ang nawala, what happened in Vegas strengthened my already firm belief in the sanctitiy of lilfe," he said.
"Ang nangyari sa Vegas ang nagpaigting ng aking paniniwala na ang buhay ay sagrado." Pacquiao added.

No to RH Bill

Zamboanga City Rep Beng Climaco cited a familiar reason in explaining her no vote - that maternal care for women is already addressed by the Magna Carta of Women, a law she co-authored.

But the most overwhelming reason cited by those who voted no is religion.

Manila Rep Amado Bagatsing perhaps best summed up the anti-RH bloc's arguments in his speech: "The RH Bill is anti-Catholic, anti-poor, against life and against the family."

Cebu Rep Pablo Garcia, who, along with Cagayan Rep Rufus Rodriguez, led the charge against the measure during the period of amendments said, "God is the source and giver of life. The RH Bill seeks to prevent and constrain the law of God from giving that life by the use of condoms, contraceptives, IUDs, tubal ligation and what have you," he said.

Ilocos Norte Rep Imelda Marcos agreed. "Any law against natural law or the fundamental law of God is against God," she said.

Batangas Rep Tom Apacible offered his vote to Mother Mary: “I offer my vote to the Lady of Immaculate Conception and the Lady of Guadalupe.”

Iloilo Rep Augusto Boboy Syjuco recited the entire apostles creed:

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into the dead. On the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost. I believe in the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body. And the life everlasting. Amen.”

Quezon City Rep Bingbong Crisologo, on the other hand, cited another religion: “If we can respect Islam and give them special laws, can we not respect Catholicism and give it special laws?”

The yes votes

"I am not against life. I am against ignorance," Diwa party-list Rep Emmelyn Aglipay said in explaining her "yes" vote.

In explaining their votes, Ppo-RH solons addressed the misconceptions surrounding the bill.

Senior Deputy Majority Floor Leader Janette Garin said, "The RH bill is not about religion nor population control, this is about pure and simple responsible legislation," she said.

Bayan Muna Rep Teddy Casiño said he was a living testament that there's nothing wrong with sex education, which is part of the RH bill.

"I studied in a Catholic school. Gradeschool pa lang itinuro na sa amin ang sex education. Di ako lumaking manyak," he said.

RH Bill principal author Rep Edcel Lagman called on lawmakers to allow Filipinos to practice responsible parenthood.

“Let us have children by choice, not by chance.” he said.

Quezon City Rep Bolet Banal for his part revealed that there was indeed a "secret dialogue" between lawmakers and members of the Church. The consolidated bill that was approved in the House Thursday was the product of a technical working groups composed of opponents and proponents of the RH Bill that was convened in September.

"Ako po, Katoliko rin po ako. Ikinararangal ko pong bumoto ng yes," Banal said. -Rappler.com

http://www.rappler.com/nation/special-coverage/rh-bill-debate/17903-no-to-rh-so-we-can-filipinize-the-world

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