MANILA, Dec. 7, 2010â€”The Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, an association of 48 national lay organizations and 49 diocesan and archdiocesan councils registered its â€œvehement objectionâ€ to the Reproductive Health Bill citing its provisions as anti-life and violative of human rights.
Laiko national president Edgardo J. T. Tirona, in a statement released on December 1, said the reproductive health and services defined by the United Nations â€œand to which definition the Republic of the Philippines has agreed to bind itself, includes the services of abortion which, we believe, the RH Bill tacitly approves and which we find unacceptable as inhumane.â€
The Catholic church-based group said the controversial bill would make legal the official funding for population control measures and devices which were found scientifically harmful and hazardous to womenâ€™s health by the World Health Organization.
They also expressed concern for the governmentâ€™s classification of contraceptives as essential medicines and allows its purchase and distribution by all national and local hospitals and other government health units thereby â€œmaking pregnancy appear like a disease that must be treated.
The group also condemned the mandatory education of Grade 5 pupils on sexuality and family planning â€œas recommended among the RH bill provisionsâ€ which they believe unnecessarily exposes minors to sex education. They also find the provision violative of the parentsâ€™ constitutional rights to educate their children in accordance with their moral and religious beliefs.
Laiko, also known as Council of the Laity of the Philippines, believes the â€œmain cause of poverty in the country is corruption, abetted by sub-standard dispensation of justice due to inefficient governance.â€
They also found the bill violative of the health workersâ€™ rights to decide according to oneâ€™s conscience by requiring them to be part of certain procedures including those leading to abortion, forcing them, to be â€œunwilling accomplices to an act they believe as immoral and unacceptable.â€
They called on the government to increase the budget for more efficient operation of existing government hospitals and health centers and providing the necessary medicines and equipment for indigent patients, construction of more government hospitals and health centers in the rural areas and training a work force in the barangay level for health care and sanitation services and the increase of salaries and benefits of government health care workers, specifically doctors, nurses and caregivers and providing the necessary security of tenure. (Melo M. Acuna)