Tuesday, March 15, 2011


(posted for the FB group FilipinosForLife)

Monday, March 14 · 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Leong Hall Auditorium, Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights
Quezon City

I was able to attend this forum today at the Leong auditorium in Ateneo. My son is a 3rd yr Psych major who knew the organizers so I was able to get in :-). The audience were basically PoliSci and Psych majors. Anyway, while waiting for the forum to begin, I had a small chat with Atty Jo Imbong. I learned from her that Risa Hontiveros backed out (what a shame) but the forum would proceed with her one-on-one with Dr Mary Racelis on the other side. Dr Mary Racelis is a senior professor at the Dept of Anthropology at Ateneo. It also turns out later that she was a part of the (in)famous 14 Ateneo Professors. She was also connected for many years with UNICEF (hmm). Atty Jo Imbong needs no introduction for you folks. I will just cover it with some bullet type information which I jotted out in my notes. Dr Racelis goes first. It started at close to 5pm. Be forewarned that the following is not written as a journalistic report, because I have peppered it liberally with my unjournalistic :-) comments [in brackets] . Here goes.

Dr Mary Racelis:

- RH bill is all about the right of couples to make conscience-driven choices [as if choice is inexistent without the bill]
- Many have not read or understood the bill [you are so right here]
- It is now on the 13th year that this bill or its variants is being pushed in Congress [so what]
- To promote the right to health, especially of the poor and marginalized [as if the anti-RH side is against this]
- The right to plan number of children and spacing using medically safe and legal contraceptives [safe? for whom?]
- Decrease maternal deaths [here we go again. this canard has got to stop]
- Provide maternal health care [redundant, redundant]
- full range of FP "essential medicines" [as if pregnancy is a disease]
- mandatory age-appropriate sex education [age-appropriate says who?]
- so that national budget appropriation would be mandated [congrats to the manufacturers and bukol tongpats]
- Surveys says so [so what]
- 1 in 2 women rely on the government for their source of contraception [Really? 2 in 2 rely on the gov't to provide a level playing field for livelihood]
- Maternal deaths [ho-hum]
- Infant mortality [ho-hum]
- Help couples achieve desired number and spacing [in short spend billions upon billions of taxpayer's money to ensure couples get their sex on demand]
- prevent induced abortions [see maternal and infant morality above]
- provide compassionate and life-saving treatment to women needing care for post-abortion complications [redundant, redundant. how many times do we have to say this]
- blah, blah [basically repeats 'salient provisions']
- comply with local regulations [no it doesn't. you need to enrol in Constitution 101 and Republic Acts 101 to know why]
- comply with international laws [whose laws? WHO? UNDFP? USA? last time I checked, the Philippines is an independent country]

Atty Jo Imbong:

Asks for a show of hand: who among you have read the bill?
- I raise my hand, and I notice only one other hand in a room of about 200 in the audience [ugh!]
Debunks Overpopulation Myth
- Cites charts showing demographic patterns [you know, the inverted pyramid, the evidence of aging populations in industrialized countries]
Exposes NSSM 200
- Yes, that sneaky, scheming foreign policy that was never, repeat, NEVER denied by the US [you all know what it contains. Devious diba?]
Shows trend of decreasing population growths and TFRs [ooorah!]
Side effects of pills [no one can deny this]
Essential Medicines?
- Nowhere in the top 7 mortality causes is childbirth a leading cause of mortality
Condoms ineffective
- Shows historical chart comparing Philippines and Thailand
- Cites that thing about the AIDS virus being smaller than condom pores
Asks for a show of hand: who here is a third child? 4th child? Fifth?....
- Tell me, are you all unwanted? [ooorah!]
Exposes Sex-ed modules [if you have seen Dr Ligaya Acosta's presentation, basically that is the material]
Clarifies that conception is equal to fertilization, as the PMA also confirms officially
- Notes that Lagman in a congressional hearing, stated that the embryo is not a child until it is born [whoah!]
Takes exception to "malicious disinformation"
Cites redundancy of RH bill in many respects
[Bias aside, all in all, I thought Atty Imbong presented the more compelling presentation, and in a very lively and interactive manner at that. Bravo m'am!]


There were four students who rose up to raise their questions. All of them were directed to Atty Imbong and the tone of the questions were like they were interpellating Jo Imbong [my gosh!]. Atty Imbong answered them gamely and decisively [I thought so] But there was this last student, quite a matured-looking (for a student) lady from Netherlands, who questioned the authenticity of Atty Jo Imbongs's figures. She seemed to imply that Jo was lying! Jo Imbong obliged but I could see the clear irritation in her demeanor. [the nerve of that foreigner!!! gusto kong sabunutan eh]

Anyways, the forum ended at around 6:45pm. btw, one interesting thing is that the emcee called out the numbers of the Pros and Antis in the audience at the start of the program. Everyone registering in would have to state what side he/she is on. The results: 115 PRO-RH, 16 ANTI-RH, 35 UNDECIDED.
Which makes me wonder... this is a Catholic university? Oh...Jesuits.


ForzaMillan said...

I must admit I only just now got to reading your post Willy. This is par for the course at AdMU and in other Jesuit schools. I know, I was in AdMU for four years. All the best to your son though, sheep in the den of wolves. I was fortunate that I had some of the best (meaning, orthodox, and old, which probably made them orthodox) Jesuit teachers, most of whom have passed on. I may not, nay, cannot, say the same for some of the other lay teachers I had (not including the teachers in my major subjects). I pray for them always, but I also get in some "nasty" comments in some places.

WillyJ said...

An apologist pointed out to me that there are a great number of orthodox Jesuits who are doing a great job in defending the Church. My son talks often of a certain Fr Dacanay and seems to admire him. You know that priest?

ForzaMillan said...

I do not know Fr Dacanay. I did not coincide with him, but heard good feedback. I believe your son is right to admire him. My SJ professors whom I admired then were Fr. Antonio Bautista, Fr Patrick Riordan (visiting Irish from King's College) and another I forget at the moment.

Manny said...

If I read it correctly, the "votes" reflected the opinions of the audience before the presentations. I wonder if the balance changed after Jo Imbong's presentation.

WillyJ said...

Undoubtedly, Jo Imbong made a huge impact which at least made most reconsider their position. My son says a lot of students are now actually reading the bill. It appears that their initial positions were influenced by the manipulative media and of course some biased Ateneo profs.