EMIL JURADO: THE PRESIDENT'S  IGNORANCE

MANILA,
AUGUST 7, 2012 (STANDARD) By Emil Jurado - The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and all the pro-life non-government organizations have scheduled an anti-reproductive health bill protest rally last weekend, ahead of the scheduled plenary session on the bill next week at the House of Representatives.

The anti-life advocates in Congress have been emboldened because President Benigno Aquino III mentioned “responsible parenthood” during his State of the Nation Address.

This is a euphemism, of course. Reponsible parenthood sounds nice, but it is the same reproductive health bill. It’s the same dog with a different collar.

I have written against this bill so many times. The bill raises so many issues: Maternal deaths, unwanted pregnancies, family planning—supposedly to give families the opportunity to space their children for a better future.

The bottom line is that it is still population control. Maybe Aquino thought that as long as he did not use the term “reproductive health,” he would not be taken to task. Baloney, no matter how thinly you slice it, is still baloney.

Actually, the RH advocates among us are the products of a well-funded American lobby of not only of the multinational pharmaceutical giants that push for the sales of condoms and other artificial family planning devices. This lobby coincides with the policy of the United States government to control the population in many underdeveloped countries—including the Philippines—to protect and promote Washington’s own interests.

The US wishes to monopolize the natural resources of the these countries. If these countries have big populations, it would be hard for the Americans to be in control. A nation of a big, young population is so much more difficult to control than a graying one.

In exchange, there are many ways to entice these countries’ participation, because they are dependent on aids and grants.

We may not know it, but there’s plenty of money—and dollar denominated, no less!—being passed around to have the bill enacted.

People should not take the stand of the Catholic Church for granted, even though surveys say 70 percent of Filipinos want the bill passed.

I do not like the idea that I, as a Catholic, would be paying my taxes to be used for something I do not believe in. If I do not practice what I believe, or do not believe what my religion tells me, I better stop calling myself a Catholic.

The same is true for members of Congress who call themselves Catholics yet advocate contraception. My gulay, that’s plain hypocrisy!

Yes, there’s no such thing as a Catholic vote during elections. But there is such a thing as a negative Catholic vote. Bishops and priests use their pulpits to campaign against a certain candidate they believe unfit to be a public servant.

And many Catholics still listen to the advice of their religious leaders especially when it comes to the moral fitness of candidates. They will not vote for somebody who they believe is not fit to govern.

***

There’s something basically wrong with what President Aquino said during the 25th anniversary of ABS-CBN’s “TV Patrol”. It is clear he does not understand what press freedom, or even freedom, means. He gave a sermon that media should avoid reporting the bad news.

The President added that there must be more good news in order to present the Philippines in a better light in the international community. This way, foreign investors and tourists will be enticed to come here.

In the United States and the United Kingdom, pornographic magazines are allowed because publishers are free to sell them to the people. Why do you think tabloids outsell other newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times? It’s because people read them, and that’s their choice.

Here, tabloids also fare better than broad sheets. This is because Filipinos are free to choose what they want to read.

The President does not have the power to tell us in media what should and should not be done. Unless he wants to suppress freedom of the press.

An exception to this is broadcast. Networks must have a congressional franchise and permit to operate. As such, broadcast is bound by the guidelines and parameters of their franchise.

But this does not include controlling what newscasters and anchor people say—unless they commit libel and go out of bounds.

I get scared when the President tells media what to do. Shades of dictatorship!

The President reminds me of his mother, who was averse to criticism. In contrast, his father, the late senator Ninoy Aquino, thrived on criticism because they provided him the opportunity to explain himself and prove his critics wrong.

My gulay, the President truly is his mother’s son!


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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