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The Philippines is now in a state of conflict. A rift has been formed between our fellow countrymen and the mature Catholics that reside in this country.
We believe that the government’s insistence on the RH Bill has a story many of us don’t know. The bill itself is vague to begin with; its words sugarcoated to mask the underlying truth of what this will all bring to the country. It’s not enough to read and accept the bill at face value; you have to read between the lines to truly understand what the government is promising.
In fact, the RH Bill is not what the country needs because population is not the problem. We should work on finding ways to give the people proper education and well-paying jobs, instead of decreasing the growth of our population in order to reduce poverty.
The bill can be very deceiving, especially when it comes to Section 10, (Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines) which talks about contraception. Concealed in all the lies about the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is the truth about contraception’s bad side effects. Obviously, they will not explicitly mention the mild side effects of contraception usage, such as nausea and abdominal pain, nor will they mention the malignant side effects such as cancer, HIV, and AIDS. As mentioned, the bill is very vague and made to sound promising. The side effects are only a small portion of the things that were omitted from the RH Bill.
It has also been said that the separation of the Church and state is the key to a harmonious relationship between the government and the religious sector. But in our country, this has become more of an exception than a rule – being the third largest Catholic state in the world, often times this cannot be avoided. Our Catholic upbringing has made us stay away from legalizing divorce, abortion and the like, that are characteristics of so-called “developed” or “industrialized” countries.
Lately, however, our lawmakers have come up with the RH Bill, which is to reportedly manage population growth and Economic development. It gives reference to the Freedom of Choice, a citizen’s prerogative to do what is right as one’s beliefs and, more importantly, morality dictates. Yet how can there be Freedom of Choice in the RH Bill when there are conditions and penalties imposed?
For example, in Section 16, students should attend mandatory reproductive health and sexual education once they enter fourth grade. This curriculum requires the teachers to use different methods of educating their pupils on topics such as Family Planning as well as have access to supplies needed for these processes and other reproductive health needs.
Alas, this is not the only section in the RH Bill that requires mandatory services from people in the working class. In Section 22, it is stated that reproductive health service providers, such as gynecologists and obstetricians, are mandated to provide at least 48 hours of reproductive health services; these services include providing adolescents with information and education on reproductive health and sexuality, and may even reach the point where these employed individuals would be required to prescribe or give their patients contraceptives during the 48 hours in which they must provide health care services. Although, what will happen if these reproductive health service providers feel that doing this, or abiding by this bill is against their beliefs, their principles, and who they are as people?
The answer to this question is seen further in the RH Bill, in section 28 that states that if anyone refuses to deliver health care services, then this act of defiance can and will be punished by law through imprisonment, or paying of fines. Standing for what you believe is right, as well as acting on your stand, will be considered a crime worth a term in jail if this bill is passed, and this is pretty ironic considering the fact that one of the very first guiding principles that they stated in Section 3 is the government’s guarantee to the “Freedom of Choice” of the people. The people should understand that once this bill becomes a law, there will be no choice. This whole bill is a set of rules for us to follow that completely disregards the true meaning of freedom, which is to do what is right and moral, as these are the two factors that can be applied to the lives of all men, regardless of their race, religion, and status.
The government is going through such lengths to spread Health care and education through the state that they are even borrowing money from the United States. It’s as if our country isn’t already indebted enough. We are aiming to achieve Economic development when this bill only hinders our progression. We are loaning close to 14 billion pesos merely just to fund the projects’ supplies and facilities, things that we don’t even need.
Our country is not in desperate need of this bill. If the government is so adamant about the spread of awareness and knowledge among the nation, then the 14 billion pesos loaned would be of better use allocated to the Department of Education for education; not reproductive education, but actual education – elementary to high school level teachings – that the government should’ve prioritized from the beginning. Filipinos need to learn how to read and write, more than they need to learn how to plan their families. If only more Filipinos had the opportunity to go to school, then more Filipinos would exert time and energy studying, rather than wasting their lives and time elsewhere. They won’t be stupid enough to do irresponsible and reckless things had they been well-educated.
We would like to end this letter by reminding you of the cultural consequences of passing the RH Bill. Senator Hillary Clinton once said that, “Reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.” Though the RH Bill states that it is anti-abortion, it is apparent that somewhere down this road, abortion will be the next step we will take as a country. Abortion is outright murder, of the innocent children, no less. Is this what future you want to leave your descendants with? Do you want to leave them with blood on their hands?
-Tippie Co, Janelle Cruz, Bianca Datingaling, Kitkat Elane, Gabbie Lombos, and Angela Runes