Hogging the headlines now are recent developments surrounding the yet to be approved Reproductive Health Bill 5043. The latest controversies being the alleged threat of being excommunicated from the Catholic church hurled at PNoy by Bishop Odchimar, CBCP President, should he not change his stance on the bill; and Carlos Celdran’s “Damaso” and “Stop involving in politics” stunts at an ecumenical prayer service at the Manila Cathedral and his eventual imprisonment for disrespecting a religious activity. And naturally, these created even more sparks as people sitting on different sides of the fence make known their impassioned stand on the matter. As far as I know, there are “Free Carlos Celdran” as well as “Keep Carlos Celdran in Prison” Facebook pages now. I myself drowned in the raging debate.
On one hand, I am still thankful because this is democracy at work. I am thankful because, unlike some societies, Filipinos still have that opportunity to make their voices heard, especially in crafting policies that would ultimately affect them.
On the other hand, hearing what some people got to say appalls me. I mean, it’s good to let your opinion be heard but when other things not at all connected to the issue at hand get dragged into the picture, it doesn’t make for a healthy discussion. You should try to watch TV and browse through Facebook, Twitter, and other online forums for you to know what I mean.
What has the Church’s record of sexual abuses got to do with the bill? Or Cory’s disapproval of the same? Why change religious affiliation amidst the controversies? Equating the RH bill to abortion is myopic. Questioning the bishops’ silence on GMA’s evil deeds is worthy of discussion but not in the context of the bill. Using excommunication as a threat seems childish. I may be wrong but I think these plus a multitude of other non-issues won’t help at all.
Fact is both sides, pro and against, are spreading misinformation to discredit each other and that those who were misinformed did not verify by reading the bill itself and the official statements issued by different groups lobbying for both sides. Do not rely on second hand information and, I am quoting a tweet from Fr. Jboy Gonzales, SJ here but parenthetical inclusions are mine, learn to “distinguish between a person/priest/bishop’s opinion from what the Church (or any legitimate institution) actually teaches (or upholds) and what degree of assent is asked.”
Fact is RH Bill 5043 is aimed to promote sustainable human development through responsible parenthood, family planning, reproductive health, and engagement of key players. Click the following to read the full text of the bill: 14th Congress – Bill 5043.
Fact is the Catholic Church, mother and teacher of the members of its fold, agrees with some salient points of the bill but also points out “fatal flaws”. Of course, we need to keep in mind that what the Church sees as fatal flaws is in the context of its age-old traditions and its interpretation of the teachings in the Bible. Click the following link for the full text of the CBCP statement: Standing up for the Gospel of Life.
Fact is President Aquino favors responsible parenthood and open options for parents on how they want to plan their families.
Fact is that groups for or against the bill issued position statements to the public. This is supposed to help craft public opinion and aid as talking points between congressmen and their constituents before a vote is placed in the congress. These groups include Couples for Christ, Likhaan, Ateneo de Manila University faculty members, among others. Just Google these groups to know their stand.
Fact is, your own informed opinion should also matter, so please let it be heard in whatever form you deem appropriate.
As I was about to leave the house for my early morning jog, I heard mama say, “wag ka nang tumuloy, mukhang masama ang panahon.” It was 6 in the morning, the sky was still unusually dark, almost overcast. It rained the previous night and PAGASA warned of a wet weekend.
“Di naman po siguro. Sige po takbo muna po ako,” I countered. And so, I hit the road and was back at home some one and a half hours later. The air was cool, the road around SM MoA was dry, the sun remained hidden behind the clouds, and I beat Thursday’s record. It turned out to be a good run.
Going for a run despite my mother’s casual warning wasn’t an act of defiance. I have been running outdoors (around SM MoA and CCP complex to be exact) for more than a decade now and that length of time has accorded me a fair amount of skill in terms of reading the early morning weather in our spot of the world. I was 75% sure that it wouldn’t rain and I leave the other 25% to God. And if in case it rains, my experience also taught me that I should have alternative routes that would allow me to seek shelter in one of the nearest buildings around.
Just like in the issue of the RH bill, it would help us a lot if we get our facts straight. Listening to what our institutions got to say is also helpful. But in the end, our own judgment that is based on our reality, experience, conscience, and careful reflection should help us form our opinion and guide us in our decisions as to how we want live our life.
And as a last reminder, let us please stick to bthe issue. Had I thought that my mother’s warning this morning is just because she doesn’t want to be left by herself in the house or something, we could’ve started the day in a bad mood. Of course, what went to my mind is that her warning is valid and is not in any way selfish and restrictive. And for the life of me, I’ll be turning 31 soon, I can also start knowing better. 😀