Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekend Buzz: Good omens for RH Bill?

I got the shock of my life when Jim Paredes posted this on Twitter a few minutes ago:

This tweet was preceded by a link to Time's What the Pope Really Said About the Condoms. In the article, the Pope expressed that the Catholic Church has reversed its stand on the use of condoms - a good news to AIDS workers but not necessarily to RH Bill advocates.

The Pope says that the use of condoms as a means to prevent the spread of HIV is consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church -- even using the example of a male prostitute who chooses to use a condom as a conscious effort to prevent the spread of STD. However, he maintains the Church's stand against the use of condoms as contraceptives for fear that "the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality... the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love." (Time)

This brings me back to Still on Reproductive Health, an article written by Ateneo School of Government Dean Tony La ViƱa, with whom I had the chance to discuss the RH Bill with during iBoP Asia's Innovations Forum at the Ateneo a few weeks back. I appreciate that the Jesuits seem to take a moderate stand on the issue; that they see the good side of The Many Faces of the RH Bill. This is why it saddens me that many of the so-called enlightened RH Bill advocates continue to attack the Catholic Church as an institution. (Which may also be because of what Vatican maintains.) At the same time, it's no longer a surprise that people would approach me to say nasty things about the RH Bill that I can't seem to validate a n y w h e r e in the Full Text of the RH Bill.

It is interesting to note as well that Cong. Edcel Lagman's RH Bill is just 1 of the 6 bills on reproductive health and family planning that have been filed at Congress. (I hope to read the others.) Likewise, a 'Consensus' bill is being presented by former Sen. Vicente Paterno which, by its name, seeks a consensus among the conflicting views of the RH Bill advocates and the Catholic Church. (Info Source: Inquirer)

It is indeed time that crucial stakeholders stop bickering and for once, be objective and constructive with their ideas. Reproductive Health (RH) is a serious issue and so are HIV/AIDS and the exponential population growth. (Last Friday, these were some of the issues that were identified in the Stakeholders' Consultation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) for 2010-2016.)

The Pope's press release is timely since the Congress will start the RH debate this coming week. As they say, when something's meant to happen, everything falls into place.

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