Thursday, May 20, 2010

Popcom official urges Aquino to act on RH program

Popcom official urges Aquino to act on RH program

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippines -- A Commission on Population (Popcom) official in Eastern Visayas expressed hope that the reproductive health program would be given more attention under the administration of presumed President-elect Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

"We are really hoping that he will give more focus or emphasis on the issue concerning reproductive health. He's been open about it," Popcom-8 regional director Elnora Pulma said on Tuesday.

Sure Noynoy is open, and that is better than having a closed mind on the issue. In fact, in a recent forum prior to the elections, Aquino said he now believes that the pending RH bill must be amended. “There are provisions that I cannot support,” Aquino said. “I was mistakenly labeled as co-author [of the bill]. Actually, I’m listed as interpellator, and I’m waiting for my opportunity." On the other hand RH bill sponsor Lagman has previously maintained: "We will not entertain killer amendments like limiting family planning options to natural family planning methods; deleting or reducing the appropriations for reproductive health and family planning; altogether discarding reproductive health and sexuality education; and removing the provision on humane and non-judgmental medical care to women suffering from post-abortion complications, among others,". His statement actually looks like a summary of the entire bill, deliberately couched in mystifying language that no one can find fault with. The devil however, lurks in the details. In other words, Lagman and his cohorts insist on the bill "as-is", while they continue to market it with bleeding-heart statements. It would be safe to say that the president-elect's position is now at odds with those of the RH-bill proponents. Good for now.

Pulma has emphasized that the issue on reproductive health is not just about family planning or population control. "There are several elements concerning reproductive health, like maternal and child health, and responsible parenthood," she pointed out.

Sure, but she makes it sound as if responsible parenthood can be legislated. How is the bill going to do that? Who is against responsible parenthood anyway? And maternal and child health - again. Who can argue with a proposal that will promote maternal and child health? In reality, the argument goes for the canard that promoting contraceptives would cut maternal deaths. Otherwise, it is just plain dishonesty on their part because maternal and child health is already under the purview and mandate of the Department of Health - no need to enact a redundant law. The Family Health Office under the DOH is already tasked to promote maternal and child health, so it follows that the existing line agency should just be strengthened. It says so right there in black and white. I have no problem with part of my taxes going there. I would have a problem though, with my taxes being used to pay for other people's condoms.

Finally, director Elnora Pulma further emphasized that PopCom really stands for Popular Comedy.

Well, that last one was a joke. Hard to tell, really.

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