MANILA, Oct. 30, 2012— How much “help” can a few billion pesos give the country?
A lot in terms of birth control supplies and services, according to supporters of the reproductive health (RH) bill, who deem the measure necessary to address the country’s poverty problem.
But a representative of Doctors for Life, after discussing the health aspects of the bill, pointed out that the P3 billion earmarked by House Bill 4244 can be used for more important things that will benefit the poor on a long-term basis.
Admitting that an RH law will prevent him and his companions from speaking up about the bill, Rey Echavez M.D. in an RH forum in Pasay City said that billions are being poured into the purchase and distribution of contraceptives, many of which have been proven harmful to women.
Rather than using the budget on birth control, “it ought to be used for other purposes like subsidizing poor farmers by giving them seeds and fertilizers for their crops. Then give fingerlings of bangus and tilapia or other fish to the fishermen… or even fishponds,” Echavez said during the forum organized by the Knights of Columbus Council 4267 and held at Sta. Clara de Montefalco Parish in Pasay.
Hundreds of Pasay City residents took part in the Oct. 27 event.
Among the other speakers was Defensores Fidei Foundation staff apologist Atty. Marwil Llasos, who tackled the legal aspect of the RH bill.
Llasos, a senatorial candidate under the Ang Kapatiran Party, pointed out that there is no substantial change in the substitute bill proposed by HB 4244 sponsor Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.
“Walang substantial change sa substitute RH bill. The objectionable provisions are actually still there,” he said.
The lawyer also expressed concern for the power granted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the measure to approve contraceptives and to determine which are to be considered “essential medicines.” The FDA counterpart in the US has given its stamp of approval to harmful medicines and devices, including some that have been shown to cause death even before such medicines and devices were given FDA approval.
“This power given to the FDA to approve contraceptives is dangerous,” Llasos said.Jose Descallar, pro-life advocacy staff of Ang Buhay Partylist, was among the speakers who explained the population issues that showed even more clearly why the RH bill ought not to be enacted into law. (CBCP for Life)