Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On the 14 Ateneo professors (3)

(my further comments over at FV)

ODD SITUATION

I think there are many ways that the 14 professors could have expressed their personal opinions without dragging the Ateneo name with it. In the light of Fr Nebres assertion on point #5 — It is also the responsibility of the Ateneo de Manila as a Jesuit and Catholic university to ensure that, in our classes and other fora, we teach Catholic faith and morals in their integrity., these professors must realize that they find themselves in an odd situation (specially the Theology professor) where they may be required to teach something in class that do not conform to their "well-formed conscience". Their position is simply not compatible with the institution they work for. As they search their "well-formed conscience" on how to act in this tricky situation that poses a dilemma to their professional integrity, it certainly must lead them to seriously think of teaching elsewhere, where they won’t cause an embarrassment to themselves and to the school officials.

EMBARRASSMENT

Put yourself in the shoes of the theology professor. Just look at a likely situation where you are directed by the University to read and explain to your class an official statement that upholds the Church’s opposition to the bill. Refer to item #5 above in Fr Nebres’ statement again. The statement you are supposed to explain and uphold happens to run counter to your "well-formed conscience". Your class is aware about your contrary position. If you read and explain the official position, you compromise your moral and professional integrity. On the other hand if you refuse, you open yourself to a reasonable charge of insubordination, as you realize that you are being paid by the University to teach according to its standards. And before you invoke academic freedom, it must be made clear here that a professor is also an employee. There is a substantial difference between a secular university and a Catholic university. A theology professor in a Catholic school cannot take a position in faith or ethics that is contrary to the magisterial teaching any more than you could espouse as fact in a secular university that one and one is three. Check out Fr Charles Curran’s celebrated case here. Either way, it is embarrassing for the dissenting professors, not because of the opinions they took, but because of the tight fix they put themselves into.

17 comments:

John-D Borra said...

Hi WillyJ! I host a live TV talkshow on ZOE TV (Sky channel 5, UHF channel 33) entitled Juan on Juan. It runs from 10 to 11 pm every Monday. I would love to have you on it next Monday to discuss (not debate, really) the layman's concerns regarding the RH bill with other similarly impassioned laymen. Please let me know if you're interested, or if your employers (is your wise old boss still around?) will allow you to guest.

You may reach me at 09176306154, or through my blog. Thanks a lot!

Alex said...

You make it sound like having a "well-formed conscience" is some kind of disease that teachers should run away from if they are to do their jobs the way you want them to. What you want are robots who spew out unthinking garbage, not thinking people. And if its the magisterial teaching that concerns you, don't you ever think that it MIGHT be wrong? I remember a great guy from 2000 years ago when he was asked by high priests of his time about how he shouldn't go around violating religious law especially about respecting the Sabbath. He said to the priests and his disciples, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath". Look up this cool guy and the kind of "well formed conscience" that he has. But I guess thinking is also disease in your book...

WillyJ said...

Alex,
Thank you for dropping by and posting a comment.

I never questioned the professors' right to think and act according to their internal disposition.
What I am questioning are their conclusions and premises that led to those conclusions. No need to worry about these professors. I have no doubt these people are highly educated, intelligent, and to my mind sincere Catholics who should be ready and willing to defend their positions. That does not guarantee however, that they are incapable of coming to erroneous conclusions. Check my separate post on the subject here. Let them roll with the punches and give some in return. It's part of their job, and since they came out
publicly with their position, it is a fair target for any reasoned criticism , as I would expect: "to whom much is given, much is expected in return".

Just in case you have not read their position paper in full, you may download it here. (H/T politekon)

You ask: And if its the magisterial teaching that concerns you, don't you ever think that it MIGHT be wrong?

Indeed magisterial teaching might be wrong strictly speaking, but not when such teaching is considered infallible by the Church. There leaves no room for doubt, even as some misinformed parties consider otherwise, that the magisterial teaching: "contraception is intrinsically evil", is and has always been considered infallible by Sacred Tradition. I have articulated that as much in a separate post here.

If you read the professors' position paper in full, the professors have cited Church documents to support their position such as Pacem in Terris, Gaudium et Spes, Cristifidelis Laici, and Populorum Progressio. However, they mentioned Humane Vitae only in passing, and conveniently skipped addressing its key pronouncement on the intrinsic evil of contraception. They also skipped Castii Conubii andEvangelium Vitae - all landmark encyclicals on the moral issue at hand. As to the reigning Pope Benedict who affirms Humane Vitae in no certain terms, you cannot find any reference to his assertion at all in the entire position paper. Can anyone thus be faulted for saying that the position paper reflects a selective reading of Catholic teaching?

No, thinking by itself is not a disease, but without revelation, even those of good will and right reason are prone to self-deception, a much graver illness which Pope John Paul II expounds upon in Fides et Ratio.

As to the Sabbath being made for man, it was all about man-made additions to the law, something which is quickly lost on HB 5043 proponents who want to put their own man-made law above natural and divine law.

WillyJ said...

should read: As to the reigning Pope Benedict who affirms Humane Vitae in no UNCERTAIN terms, you cannot find any reference to his assertion at all in the entire position paper

WillyJ said...

John-D,
I'd be glad to, and thanks for the invite. Congrats on your new show. See you. Till then, best regards.

Alex said...

...and now there are 69 of them...

More Ateneo profs defy Church on birth control

http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=news1_oct29_2008

"That does not guarantee however, that they are incapable of coming to erroneous conclusions."

And what makes you think that the church's stance is not erroneous? Because they said its "infallible"? The faculty members supported everything they said with proof. And the only thing you are telling me is that the church is right because they claim exclusive, all seeing, all knowing insight into the mind of god and how god thinks on this issue. Doesn't this ring any alarm bells in your head?

"any reasoned criticism" is fair and just, (RH cannot solve poverty alone, you need wealth redistribution, for example, this is a reasonable criticism)saying that they are wrong because they bumped up against church teaching, that don't sound reasonable to me at all.

"to whom much is given, much is expected in return" and that is why they came out with their position. despite the prejudice they know they will face, the burden, the duty, the calling that they are answering as teachers, as researchers, as scientists, and as caring loving human beings who are trying to address the unjust and unrealistic position of the church vis a vis poor women, children, and their families. they are living up this bible verse, too bad I cannot say for many people on the so-called "pro-life" side. what have they done to alleviate the suffering of the people who would benefit from this law?

technically speaking, look up "papal infallibility" and you will see that it is a power that the pope rarely uses, and that strictly speaking, all the documents of the church on sex and reproductive health are NOT labeled "ex cathedra."

If you are concerned about Humanae Vitae, maybe you should look up how the pope of the time decided to push his own view over the council he had formed to advise him on writing humanae vitae, how even after he had stacked the council with people he thought would tow his conservative line, decided to not to endorse the pope's view. he just went ahead with ahead with his infallible self, which by the way, he didn't specifically label his idea on this as "ex cathedra".

the "revelation" here perhaps isn't in church's teaching, maybe it lies somewhere else, as one great guy from 2000 years ago tried to warn the people of his time whenever the religious authority of his day tried to assert their infabilitiness at the expense of love, sensibleness, and compassion. the church is human, made by humans, and therefore, fallible. when in doubt, the great man from 2000 years ago left two fundamental commandments; love God and love your neighbor. the people labeling others as "anti-life" when they are clearly not, where is the love in that position? denying sensible reproductive health and denying the poor and to the young top make a sensible choice on their reproductive health, where is the love in that position? does god really care so much about a rubber thing at the end of one's cock? doesn't god care more about making god's people as happy and as content with their lives as they can be? how does any of this that church is trying to ban "killing" anyone?

but, if you are happy just saying yes to anything labeled infallible by the church, i am in no position to get in the way of your happiness.

WillyJ said...

Alex,

Thanks again for the insightful rejoinder.

First off, you shouldn't be surprised that their position gets to be critiqued based on the accepted norms of Catholic
doctrine and tradition. They are professors/employees in a Catholic University, some of them from the Department of Theology even, and it is a fair expectation to criticize their stand from the normative Catholic viewpoint. That being the case, it is a perfectly normal assumption to expect that that their position is guided by the official Church stance. Under different circumstances, I would have critiqued their position based on secular arguments. Note that the professors never said anything about having problems with the dogma of infallibility, or that the infallibility clause can only be derived from ex-cathedra statements. The theology professors in the group must be undoubtedly aware that infallibility is also accorded to the Ordinary and Universal Magesterium (which requires full assent of faith), not only to the Extraordinary Magesterium which pronounces ex-cathedra statements. If we limit infallibility to explicit ex-cathedra statements, then we absurdly reduce all of the Church's unquestionable teachings to only 2 items: the Assumption of Mary, and Vatican I's ex-cathedra pronouncement of the infallibility doctrine itself.

Having said that, I will thus position my critique based on secular grounds.

Having read their position paper in full, I maintain here that the authors need further justifications/clarifications of their stand on the following major points at least:

1. Abortifacient nature of some artificial methods like IUD, pills and injectibles. Check out my related post here.
In direct relation to this, they will have to unequivocally state their position as to when life begins. Check related post here. Requiring provisions for the full range of contraceptives includes abortifacient items as stated. This clearly runs counter to the
constitutional provision that life begins at conception. Article II Sec 12: "It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.".

2. Challenges on constitutionality (in view of penalty clause Sec 22)
2.1 Curtailment of the right to conscientious objection based on religious grounds due to the ff:
- requiring the conscienctious objector to make referrals (sec 21 A-5)
- mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health Education.(sec 12)

3. Curtailment of Freedom of Speech (sec 21-e)

4. Questionable funding prioritization in view of limited taxpayers money funding the allocation.

There are more objections, but note that by these items alone, that there are substantial challenges to the RH bill and the professors' position, even if we do not cite doctrinal grounds. The professors must answer these squarely(each and every one), apart from what their position paper states, from which I found no countervailing positions with respect to the aforementioned.

PS.
I strongly disagree with people using the tag "anti-life", whichever side of advocacy they belong to.

WillyJ said...

Actually, I found it strange that the Ateneo professors refused to acknowledge those 4 items I enumerated in my recent comment. Considering that the title of their position paper is "CATHOLICS CAN SUPPORT THE RH BILL IN GOOD CONSCIENCE", they must realize that the very bill they endorse coerces Catholics into acting against their good conscience. That is the irony of it. I am also extremely disappointed that a position paper coming out of the academe lacks a critique of both the strengths and weaknesses of the bill. It is reasonably to be expected that even as it comes with an overall endorsement, it should have at least presented a balanced critique, by the nature of academic discipline. It is also the height of irony if the professors failed to see this contradiction, or refused to do so.

Anonymous said...

Hi Willy,

I was finally able to read the whole paper by the professors. The paper contains a statistic-heavy discussion on the women who had abortions. My understanding of the discussion was that the major cause was economic. Not knowing how to plan pregnancies seems to be a small contributing cause but the major reason is economic. They simply could not afford more children. However, the professors chose to make the conclusion that:

"Thus, for these women, abortion has become a family planning method, in the absence of information on and access to any reliable means to prevent an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. The fact is, our women are having more children than they desire, as seen in the gap between desired fertility (2.5 children) and actual fertility (3.5 children), implying a significant unmet need for reproductive health services (NSO and ORC Macro 2004, 2003 NDHS)."

It seems to me that the conclusion is not consistent with the discussion that went before it. It also seems to me that if we look at this whole thing as a process, abortion comes at the end of the process with pregnancy right before it. The implied solutions seems to focus on the results of the process rather than on the causes of it. The statistics they presented do not bear out the conclusion - they point to a cause much earlier in the process: economics and the faulty decision-making that allowed couples to choose to have sex in the first place. I can't help thinking that if families were economically well off, having more children than the national average would not be a problem, regardless of whether they have access to information and the means to do effective family planning.

In later pages, the professors repeat this in the following: "The inability of women in the poorest quintile to achieve the number of children they want stems from their high unmet need for family planning, which, at 26.7 percent, is more than twice as high as the unmet need of women in the richest quintile, at 12.3 percent (ibid.)." And again several pages later "In summary, poor households typically have more children than they aspired to have, as a result of a high unmet need for family planning."

I believe there is a danger here to simplify the problem and jump to an erroneous conclusion. It is all too easy to think that the problem is one of providing information and the know-how to planning. I believe a more fundamental issue lies in the individual value system and the way people make their decisions. You can't teach an old dog new tricks as the Americans would say. You can bombard people with family planning techniques and provide them with tons of information but if their value system, how they set priorities and how they make decisions are still the same, they will still make the same choices they did before. As Socrates said: "If you do what you always did, you get what always got." And the definition of insanity is when you do what always did, over and over, but expect different results.

Statistics-wise the program would look good - hospitals for every 500,000 people, mobile vans to spread the news, thousands of training programs. But the key to behavioural change remains the same: the internal value systems and decision makig process in people. How does the RH bill propose to legislate this? Punishing conscientious objectors will not do it.

A few pages later the professors came up with this: "the right to choose is meaningful only if women have real power to choose." They present a very good case for choice. And indeed, the right to choose is meaningful only when one has the power to do it. But does this mean the professors do not consider the unborn child to have any such rights because they obviously cannot voice their choice? In fact, the whole paper does not have a single sentence anywhere on the rights of the unborn.

This next one struck me as a bit weird. I have highlighted the "offending phrase" below. "Poverty is a multi-faceted phenomenon caused by inter-related factors: the weak and boom-and-bust cycle of economic growth; inequities in the distribution of income and assets and in the access to social services; bad governance and corruption; the lack of priority accorded to agriculture including agrarian reform; the limited coverage of safety nets and targeted poverty reduction programs; and armed conflict." How does unequal access to social services cause poverty?

The professors proclaim their stand thus: "We therefore support the RH Bill because we believe that it will help the poor develop and expand their capabilities, so as to lead more worthwhile lives befitting their dignity and destiny as human beings...To recapitulate, the RH Bill does not only safeguard life by seeking to avert abortions and maternal and infant deaths. It also promotes quality of life, by enabling couples, especially the poor, to bring into the world only the number of children they believe they can care for and nurture to become healthy and productive members of our society." The highighting is mine. I do not discount the possibility that the thread of logic has completely escaped me but how does the bill DO all that? It seems to me that the capabilities to lead a more worthwhile life means more than just being able to plan families, use contraceptives and know a hell of a lot about sex, STIs and reproductive hygiene. It takes more than hospitals and vans and adult education. It also takes the cultivation of life-affirming values, discipline and a spiritually guided belief system. Or do they know something I don't?

Will the bill really enable couples to limit their children? My read of the whole thing is that the most the bill can do is help to create the conditions for couples to make an informed choice. The enablement comes from an internal change in priorities and values. It seems to me the sentences above claim benefits of the bill that MAY result IF the bill is effective. Given the government's record, I have grave doubts on how effectvive the bill will be implemented.

Serious professors they may be but I found a bit of humor in this one: "Comparatively, protection was higher among the males (27.5%) than the females (14.8%), rendering the latter extremely vulnerable to unplanned pregnancy (Raymundo and Cruz 2003, citing the 2002 YAFSS 3)." Do you any idea what kind of males they're talking about?

To be fair, I think parts of the bill are beneficial. I think the Church opposes only certain provisions of the bill NOT ALL of it. Problem is you can't pass some parts and not pass others. I also believe the bill proposes solutions that address the results while making only provisions to address the causes. It does not address at all the economic causes. It does not address the fundamental problem of values formation and the correction of internal process such as decision making and priority setting. I personally know some poor people, former tenant farmers, who did not go beyond the 3rd grade but were able to keep their family small. They didn't know whit what family planning is and haven't encountered the word contraceptive their entire lives. But they have good heads on their shoulders and exhibit a probably higher discipline. I suspect the method they used is simple abstinence and are now in their sixties with 2 grown children.

On the whole the professors did not convince me that as a Catholic I can support the bill in GOOD CONSCIENCE. There are open issues which still impinge on the conscience such the rights of the unborn, the curtailment of freedom and the discriminatory provisions regarding conscientious objectors. By giving their support the professors are saying they are accepting these limits on our freedoms. Given the track record of the government, they will probably be more effective in enforcing these limits than in implementing the "benificial" provisions of the bill. Values are ignored. The bill would rather train a couple how to avoid a pregnancy than to instill in them the values of discipline and responsibility. Its like closing the barn when all the horses have gone. This impinge on my conscience because I can see that the bill proposes for us to pay with our freedoms a solution that addresses an effect, a result while the causes are ignored. Would you sacrifice your freedom to pay for alleviating a symptom?

- TE

WillyJ said...

"Do you have any idea what kind of males they're talking about?" -TE

Rabbits, I suppose?

TE, after carefully reading and studying your comment, I have decided to publish it as part 4 in this series. That is, with your permission, knowledge and consent, and without any trace of conscientious objection on your part. My crystal clear conscience just impels me to do so. I have to make it unequivocally clear first that this is just my personal decision and my alma mater University of the Ph... has nothing to do with it, ok?

Anonymous said...

Willy,

Go ahead. No problem.

- TE

Anonymous said...

add a little dose of reality...

With the country being one of the leaders in corruption, we should probably throw into the equation how it affects the implementation of this bill, should it become law.

On page 4 of their position paper the professors wrote that Section 7 of the bill "instructs each province and city to seek to establish, for every 500,000 population, at least one (1) hospital for comprehensive emergency obstetric care and four (4) hospitals for basic emergency obstetric care." Note that please - 5 hospitals for every 500,000 people.

Now on page 2 they decry the fact that the government has an inconsistent national population policy, making the point that President Ramos lent presidential support to family planning but President Arroyo "relegates the responsibility of crafting, funding, and implementing population and reproductive health programs to local government units".

Yet all the bill does is instruct the very same local government units to implement its build-hospitals program.

How effective do you think this will be? Some LGUs are richer than others and some LGUs have a higher population density than others. I think it is inevitable that implementation will be uneven across the country. That means the poor will still suffer from lack of services in some areas.

Where do you think most of these hospitals will be? I'd say most of them will be in cities where funding and population density would be highest. What about those in the rural areas?

How many doctors, nurses and health care professionals do you think will be willing to work in the rural areas? Be realistic.

Now add to this the effect of corruption. It's a reality we all have to consider. If you have funding for say 10 hospitals, how many do you think will really be built? If you have funding for say 1000 mobile vans, how many do you think will actually be bought? Who benefits most - the poor or the senators and congressmen?

I apologize for being a bit cynical but the government's track record does not inspire me to trust it. But it's the only government we have. So we have to do the best we can. Still, the benefits that the bill and the professors claim will only be achieved after it is fully implemented - years and years into the future. For example, with a population of what, around 80 million (?), we're talking of 400 million hospitals.

In 2000, Pangasinan had a population of 2,434,086. They will have to build 25 hospitals there. Say a hospital will cost 50 million to build, staff and equip. Pangasinan would need more than a billion just to build them. Similary Cebu had 2,377,588, Bulacan 2,234,088, Negros Occidental 2,136,647, Cavite 2,063,161 and Laguna 1,965,872. Just these six provinces alone would require over 120 hospitals.

We can dream on but reality says this will take years and years, if not generations. Does congress really believe the country has the money to do all this? If we assume that corruption adds a factor of 50% to the budgets, how much would this whole thing cost? How much does a hospital cost to build, staff and equip? How much does it cost annually to operate them?

Add to this the eventual subsidies to PhilHealth insurance that the government has to shoulder (PhilHealth is supposed to cover these services fully according to the bill). You see? This could be big business for the congressmen. And where does all the money come from? Our taxes.

It will be years yet before the bill can achieve its claims. And because the root causes are not addressed, it probably never will. And in the meantime, the immediate effect would be that the Filipino would be just that less free and the conscientious Catholic is thrown into a never-ending quandary. And the abortions, the maternal deaths, and teenage pregnancies would still continue.

So the deal is: the bill asks us to pay NOW for benefits sometime in the future without any guarantees that they will, in fact, be achieved.

The government should concentrate first on cleaning up its act. It must show me first that it can be true to its word and can be trusted before it earns the right to ask me to give up a part of my freedom.

- TE

WillyJ said...

TE,
I have never done the math before but now that you have pointed it out, the result looks...staggering.
So much effort, logistics and taxpayers money, all for doubtful results and the price society has to pay, financially and morally.
Think about a cure that is worse than the supposed disease.

"The government should concentrate first on cleaning up its act. It must show me first that it can be true to its word and can be trusted"...

Hmm..that rings a bell, now that the return of JocJoc Bolante is all over the news. I think I just now coined a term for taxpayers' money being allocated for subsidizing contraceptives ---
"NON-FERTILIZER FUNDS"

Anonymous said...

actually, there's an error in my multiplication. At 5 hospitals per 500,000 people and a population of around 80 million, the result would be only 800 hospitals (not 400 million).

Well, we have a total of 81 provinces, this averages to about slightly less than 10 per province. Do you think that's enough?

- TE

WillyJ said...

I'm not sure myself, and I don't think the sponsors have thought of it that far. For example, who deserves subsidized "reproductive health services"? I have discussed in another post here that 25.4M filipinos live below the poverty line,
but how do that I prove I am so poor, hungry, homeless and yet so sexually active that I deserve contraceptives subsidy?
Married and non-married alike? Teenagers even? It is quite obvious that what the authors are
targetting is immoral, irresponsible sex that avoids the natural consequence of pregnancy and the attendant responsibilities, but just how much is the government willing to spend out of tax money?
What, for example, if the "males" demand condom for daily use? Is the supply unlimited? What if those contraceptives run short?
There are only two possible fallbacks when this happens: the government has no choice but to either promote abstention to a certain extent, or promote abortion. Shall we make a guess? The more we think about implementation, the more it gets sillier and more absurd, especially when you think about the bill treating artificial contraceptives as "essential medicines" - as if pregnancy is a disease. Speaking about diseases, there are a lot of serious ones that really need to be "cured": greed, apathy, social inequity and injustice.

Anonymous said...

Based on the current population levels, implementing the bill would mean at least the following. This does not take into account future growth. This is just to hit par for the course.

1. The birth rate is around 25,3 per 1000 population. With a population of 80 million, this averages around 2.024 million per year. There are around 1610 municipalities in the country. This averages to around 1,257 births per year per municipality or 3.44 births a day.

The professors' paper, (page 4) says "Section 6 of the bill enjoins every city and minicipality to endeavor to employ adequate number of midwives or other skilled attendants to achieve a minimum ratio of one (1) for every hundred fifty (150) deliveries per year."

This averages to 10 midwives or skilled attendants for every municipality. I admit this would help employment levels but can each municipality afford it?

Note that the bill delegates implementation to the municipalities. Because of the differences in how much municipalities can afford, implementation is sure to be uneven. This is exactly what the professors decry in their paper - see page 3. Moreover the wording of the bill using the words "enjoin" and "endeavor" (see quote above) clearly implies that this is not mandatory. The cities and municipalities can opt not to do this at its own discretion. How effective do the lawmakers really want this to be?

BTW, while implementation seems clearly dicretionary, the curtailment of freedoms are clearly mandatory. Are we slowly moving towards a police state?

2. As we already calculated, at 5 hospitals per 500,000 (or 10 hospitals per million people), we would need to have a total of 800 hospitals or around 10 hospitals per province. The wording of the bill here, again also implies this is not mandatory - "instructs each province and city to seek to establish..."

In other words the bill is telling the provinces to try to come up with the needed hospitals and the municipalities to try to hire the personnel. And how should that work? The hospitals will be run by the provinces and the midwives will be employed by the municipalities. How do you get the health care services to be consistent? What if the provincial government builds the hospitals but the municipalities will not hire the staff?

But by constructing it this way, the complexity the authors of the bill built into it makes it easy for corruption to be practiced. I wonder how many millions the senators and congressmen will make out of this.

3. Playing some more with averages. 1610 municipalities, 81 provinces averages to 20 municipalities per province. At 10 midwives per municipality, that comes to 200 midwives per province. At 10 hospitals per province, that averages to 20 midwives per hospital.

Add doctors, nurses and administrative staff, it looks like the smallest such hospital could theoretically be a 40-staff hospital. My guess would be around a 20-bed hospital. At 3.44 births a day, the hospitals would have to operate at least 2 shifts a day plus on-call duties. Some of them would be operating 24x7. I'm estimating an operating budget of at least 12 million a year.

To build a hospital this size, I'd estimate around say 25 million to build. Equipment would be probably be another 5 million. These might be low, Willy, but each one of these could take 30 million to build and equip and another 12 million a year to run.

To build 800 hospitals would need around 24 billion pesos and another 9.6 billion a year to operate. If we add a 50% corruption factor it would require an expenditure of 36 billion or roughly 2.5% of GDP just to build the hospitals. According to FDC: "The proposed (2009) P1.415-trillion total budget obligations would be funded by P1.393 trillion worth of revenues thus creating a deficit of P21.66 billion. P302.650 billion will go for interest payments of outstanding debts.

However, the budget does not count the principal amortization for outstanding debt, which is pegged at P378.866 billion. In truth, this makes the real deficit to be at P400.53 billion pesos instead of P 21.66 billion, according to FDC.
Without this bill, the government is already planning to spend 130% of expected revenues next year!

If this bill passes, does the country really have the money to implement it? Shouldn't the lawmakers be concentrating on creating wealth instead?

- TE

WillyJ said...

does the country really have the money to implement it?

I take note that the 2008 DOH budget was already reduced by 4.3B. I also take note that the mortality rates are abnormally high, with heart/ vascular diseases, cancer, pneumonia, TB, topping the top half.
Check out the latest top 10 causes of mortality here. Basic health care itself is woefully inadequate, and it still beats me why they consider contraceptives as "essential medicines". It also beats me how the bill's proponents understand the concept of "priorities" in the face of scarce funds. It is not any secret that the economy keeps on growing, but at the same time the gini ratio (gap between rich and poor) gets even worse. We even think of "medical tourism" when we cannot even treat our own people. I hope our legislators begin thinking about treating the real diseases afflicting our nation.