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Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Friday, August 17, 2012

P-Noy should not forget that his father, then a prisoner convicted, albeit, by a kangaroo court, was allowed by Ferdinand Marcos to leave for his Texas by-pass. GMA should be allowed to leave for treatment abroad. Sotto exposes international tentacles of pro-RH advocates. No need for a divisive RH Law that's hazy on use of abortifacient contraceptives.






Palace Spokesperson Abigail Valte had earlier said the Palace is leaving to the Pasay RTC and the Sandiganbayan the issue of whether to allow former President Macapagal Arroyo to leave the country for medical treatment. But from past experience it's evident that the Palace does weigh in on GMA’s fate; hence, those of us who believe she should be allowed to seek medical treatment in New York City, as her attending doctor at Makati Medical Center, Dr. Roberto Anastacio, has recommended, have to address this humanitarian appeal directly to President Aquino. A signature campaign is currently going on in support of this appeal.



Dr. Anastacio has pointed out that the displacement of the titanium plate in GMA's spine and a blocked right artery could be life threatening; and since he is one of the country’s foremost cardiologists, we cannot think he’d allow himself to articulate something he doesn’t believe in.



XXX



P-Noy must remember that Ferdinand Marcos allowed his father Ninoy, then a convicted prisoner (albeit by a kangaroo court), to leave for a heart bypass in Texas. The hold-order against GMA still has no basis as her PCSO plunder case is still in the investigative stage. If the administration were worried that GMA would not return, it could send security personnel with her; but she should be allowed to leave for medical treatment in NYC, as even the worst dictatorships abroad have shown humanitarian considerations to their opponents.



XXX



Sen. Tito Sotto is being accused by pro-RH advocates of having plagiarized US-based blogger Sarah Pope in his recent Senate speech against the bill. The pro-RH people have found a new issue, now that they are running out of arguments and with the pro-Life people exhibiting incredible strength of purpose. Last night Sotto insisted that he and his researchers accessed only the works of Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride and not any blogger.


It’s easy to believe Sotto as his knowledge of the Internet must be very limited; moreover, as in the case of the SC Justice and the UP Law professor whose researchers failed to properly credit lifted passages, Sotto must be totally dependent on his own researcher’s responsible write-up. Today, however, after some investigation, his Chief of Staff admitted the error in the senator’s speech as the failure of the researcher, and he apologized to Pope who is, of course, not mollified.


XXX


But to me the really significant issue Sotto raised was the terrifying plan of international organizations and a foreign government to push population control through the widespread use of contraceptives---some of them plainly abortifacient and therefore violative of our Constitution. Sotto asserted that these organizations, together with their allies in the international pharmaceutical industry, seek to tighten their grip on our country and people---through the flow of unlimited funds for a supremely well-oiled media campaign.  Their control strategy has been discredited in the developed countries that are now plagued by a “demographic winter,” and so they wish to export it to poor and helpless Third World countries, especially in Africa, but to include the Philippines.



In his recent speech Sen. Sotto succeeded in focusing on the nature of contraceptives, which has been at the heart of the RH controversy over the decade. He tearfully alleged that his five-month old son died of complications when his wife, actress Helen Gamboa, got pregnant despite the contraceptives she was taking. Sotto cited that Ms. Gamboa’s late attending physician, the famed Dr. Carmen Enverga Santos, had ascribed the infant’s death to the contraceptives; but this was immediately disputed by pro-RH advocates, including the former Health Secretary and director of the Philippine Heart Center, Dr. Esperanza Cabral, who demanded that Sotto produce his son’s death certificate, so his claim could be verified. 


XXX


There is little question, however, that there’s a lot of suspicion among people, especially in the poorer sectors of society, about the abortifacient nature of certain contraceptives. There’s a lot of studies to back up this fear, especially about the use of the IUD, which induces bleeding, and certain pills such as the so-called “morning after” pills (officially known as “post-coital contraceptive” or PCC). A young woman, mother of one boy, who works as supervisor in my son’s food outlet, is not pregnant but her stomach has been bloating.  Ultrasound found a big tumor and her OB-Gyn flatly opined that it’s due to her long use of contraceptives.


XXX


Fear of the ill-effects of contraceptives---and the fact that it goes against the morals of the Catholic faith and are expensive---have made the natural family planning method increasingly popular. 

Not long ago I was invited to sit in at a seminar on NFPM being pushed at the grassroots in various parts of the country by the dedicated group of Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma. The lady conducting it, former DSWD official Mila Rivera, explained a woman’s monthly reproductive cycle and indicated which are the safe and the unsafe days for sexual intercourse---by using two kinds of colored beads very similar to a rosary given to the attendees. Its success can be attributed to the fact that many husbands join their wives at these seminar. Mila explained that among the reasons why the men are eager to learn this method are their fear of the ill-effects of contraceptives and their high costs.


One drawback, of course, for some couples is that the natural method works only for those women with a regular cycle.


XXX


The RH bill puts so much emphasis on contraceptives, but critics point out that it’s vague and hazy about those that could lead to abortion. To that great communicator, the late US President Ronald Reagan, however, “Economic growth is the best contraceptive” and he’s right. If our economy is being touted now by the P-Noy administration as the strongest in Southeast Asia, it leads anti-RH folks to ask, why the need for a law that proposes a drastic cut on population growth?


In the first place, Ph population growth has already vastly declined---from 2.6 percent in the ‘80s to only 1.9 percent at present, as per NSO statistics; the UN even says it’s now only 1.8%.


Pro-RH people also lament that daily some 11 to 15 mothers die from childbirth complications, but how true is this? Sen. Sotto said he sent his staff to survey government hospitals around the country and in Northern, Central and Southern Luzon, for instance, he asserted that the highest toll recorded for the entire 2011 was seven deaths out of 2,584 deliveries in the Batangas Regional Hospital. In other hospitals it was far lower.


XXX


Pro-RH advocates argue that they’re pushing the RH bill so that couples can have an “informed choice” about options open to them. I have no quarrel with this, but why do we need to pass a law to this effect in our day and age of UNLIMITED INFORMATION ACCESS (yes, even to bloggers)? It’s a fact that a good number of private organizations and UN agencies devoted to population management (euphemism for control) have been operating in our country and disseminating their information campaign, e.g., the Planned Parenthood of the Philippines and the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines. All of them enjoy enormous funding from the US-AID, some UN agencies and private organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


XXX


Why do we still need this law that has divided the country so badly? A legislator has admitted that even the leadership of the House (but apparently not that of the Senate which is anti-RH) is badly divided over this issue.  


The only reason I can think why pro-RH advocates are pushing the bill is the prospect of more and bigger funding for their cause. But our legislators should question what the real motives of these “donors” are.


There’s no need for a law on RH that has become so divisive. There is need only for growth opportunities that can train our young population---which is the envy of our graying neighbors in the region and the world--- and provide them gainful employment. Indeed, economic growth remains the best contraceptive.      






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