Monday, October 11, 2010

My Two Cents: The Reproductive Health Bill

I've been wondering. People are agreeing and disagreeing left and right. Debates are all fired up and it looks as if the nation is on the verge of splitting into two. Or make that three actually, as others seem to be lost in confusion while others simply do not care. Some politicians are using the issue to gain exposure, taking advantage of media's hunger for sound bite worthy lines. Others see it as an opportunity to attack the opposing camp. Really, where are we amidst all these? Where am I?

First question: am I pro or anti RH Bill? Honestly, I don't know how to answer that question. For one, I would have to ask you which RH Bill are you talking about. There are about six or seven pending RH Bill in the Lower House as of this writing. Now, the most popular, and I guess what you would be picking is Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman's bill, which sadly leads me to few questions and doubts.

The House Minority Floor Leader's authored bill, for me, is too vague. It needs to be trimmed down to arrive at a concrete point which would tell what the bill really wants to point out. I fear that its lack of precision would lead to same demises that our current Charter imposes and is still imposing on us. Being too wordy would lead to many interpretations which sadly can be easily twisted by well trained debaters [lawyers]. Take for example the confusion on whether Mrs. Arroyo should be allowed to seek electoral office and the subject of whether her nomination for now Chief Justice Renato Corona is allowable, all prior to the expiration of her term. My point is simple and is one of the basic rule I've learned from political science --laws must be written clearly, definite and deliberately in detail.

Another point, which I would divulge anyway even on the verge of being called a cynic, are the rumors as to a certain company that is already behind the gentleman from Albay if ever the bill would be enacted as law. Here we go again with a third party involvement on government initiated projects. I am talking about the future suppliers of contraceptives and other parallel stuffs. Although there has been a number of senate probe relevant to this issue, there's still no solid bill [law] that would address this issue. If our lawmakers would not resolve this first, we might have many other NBN-ZTE-Deal-esque scandals. RH Bill could definitely not bse spared from it.

Third, and this time on the risk of being called prude, is the social implications of some radical moves that would sprout from the enactment of this bill. I must admit, former Secretary Esperanza Cabral on the street handing out condoms to passersby did send a chilling message on me. I mean, it is way different when me, a civilian, would hand out condoms on the streets of Malate, and her, a State figure, someone who speaks out for a larger scale would delve on something so severe that not all people might agree for. It is okay to promote safe sex but giving away condoms on the street is way different from telling people you can get condoms from registered health workers at Centers if you want a planned parenthood [or responsible sexual engagements].

Lastly, do I agree with the Church "meddling" over government issues? Yes. The same way that I agree that people can voice out their disagreements, hate and disgust with the Church. Calling the priests pedophiles and sexual offenders on the streets and different internet sites are practices of democracy. But raising an offensive placard in the midst of an interfaith gathering inside a place considered by others as holy defies freedom of religion. It tramples upon others Faith for that matter.

Back to the first question: am I pro or anti RH Bill? I am in favor of our government's effort in promoting Reproductive Health on its people. Mentioning 'people' includes all sector, religious, media, public --everyone! Therefore we are the ones who should decide on this. Instead of throwing tomatoes at one another why don't we start accepting that we have different takes on this matter? Maybe if we begin doing that, we may probably arrive at certain point where we can all agree and at the same time accept the fact that we can't force every bit of our beliefs because this matter is larger than any of us. After all, you're probably just like me, someone who desires nothing but the betterment of this derailed nation.

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