01 October 2010

Bold Move Against Medieval Standards

Spanish Landing
President Benigno Aquino III made the boldest move in his first 100 days in office by declaring to everyone that his administration will be giving out assistance to Filipino couples that need contraceptives to curb their number of children.

Speaking before the Filipino community in the U.Ss during his first overseas travel, the President said:
"I think the government is obligated to inform everybody of their responsibilities. At the end of the day, government might provide assistance to those who are without means if they want to employ a particular method. But after saying that, I will not embark on a situation that forces couples to go one way or another."
The statement immediately invited an instant reaction from the Catholic Church hierarchy, which opposes artificial methods of family planning, such as the use of contraceptives and condoms. It favors the natural mode, such as the symptoms-based methods, the calendar-based methods, and the breastfeeding or lactational amenorrhea method.

Fr. Melvin Castro, executive director of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, described the president's stand came as a disappointment to and was particularly galling to the Church groups because he departed sharply from the so-called "pro-life" position of his mother, the pious late President Corazon Aquino. Castro said:
"It's just a small account compared to the moral values we are going to lose. Apparently for that measly sum of money in the name of fighting poverty, here we are again, selling out the Filipino soul. It is sad."
What bigotted nonsense.

For some, or more specifically less than 10 percent of the population, the statement of the Episcopal Commission is an absolute truth. But for more than 90 percent of the population who knows the basic distinction between truth and falsity, and plain common sense, President Aquino’s statement was not as "galling" as the Episcopal Commission may want to portray it. In fact, for those who are aware of the history of the Population Commission (POPCOM), the statement citing President Corazon Aquino is just another piece of puerile bullshit even by the Vatican’s usual fairy-tale standards.

When President Cory came into power in 1986, the Catholic Church wanted to put a devout churchgoer as the head of POPCOM in hopes that they can influence its Family Planning (FP) and Reproductive Health (RH) functions. Sensing that the move will undermine the true mandate of POPCOM, President Cory passed an executive order making DOH as the lead implementor of the FP-RH program in the guise of maternal and child health. POPCOM was relegated as an attached agency or bureau tasked to draft policy guidelines on FP and RH as well as developed evaluation and monitoring tools.

The statement of Episcopal Commission also showed that they don't have a full grasp of what is happening at the grassroots level. They are trying to antagonize public opinion by speaking without any clear evidence as if their words should not be questioned and followed blindly. They failed to recognized that majority of Filipinos are more sensible now compared to 100 years ago to recognize that the issue of FP and RH is directly connected to the number of mouths to feed and children to cloth and send to school. Taking one problem as a stand-alone issue has no resonance whatsoever with the poor. That's plain common sense.