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Statement of Individual Faculty of UP & ADMU in support of HB 4244 (RH Bill)

Statement of Individual Faculty of UP & ADMU in support of HB 4244 (RH Bill)

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Published by Jaime G. Arejola
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Published by: Jaime G. Arejola on Mar 24, 2011
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Statement of Individual Faculty of UP &ADMU in Support of HB 4244 (RH Bill)
Statement of individual faculty of the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de ManilaUniversity in support of HB 4244, “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy onResponsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development, and for Other Purposes”We, the undersigned faculty of the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de ManilaUniversity, in our individual capacities as educators and scholars from various academicdisciplines, declare our strong support for the consolidated reproductive health bill (House Bill4244) and urge its immediate passage in Congress. We issue this statement because we see theneed for our active engagement in social issues, believing as we do that the academe has adistinct role to play in achieving social justice and national development.We have read House Bill 4244 on “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, andPopulation and Development” currently filed in the
House of Representatives
and have kept abreastof the ongoing debates. Many of us have been working on reproductive health and its relatedissues, some of us for decades. We have undertaken our own studies (literature reviews andanalysis, policy studies, empirical researches, etc.) on reproductive health. Many of us havealso participated in legislative processes such as public hearings and technical working groups.Our studied and collective opinion is that House Bill 4244 is a vital piece of legislation. Itspassage will mandate policies which will save women’s and men’s lives, improve infantsurvival, enhance young people’s health and well-being, and enable couples and individuals tomake responsible decisions in planning their families. We also endorse this bill as a necessaryelement to achieve the goals of social equity,poverty reduction, and national development.There is overwhelming scientific evidence that these goals can be achieved without resorting topopulation control. Our reading of HB 4244 is that it is not a population control bill, nor does itviolate any other rights and freedoms. HB 4244 in fact promotes the sexual and
, the right to health, and the right to informed decision making of all Filipinos butespecially the poor, in fulfillment of the provisions of our 
and our obligations under international covenants. The passage of a national and comprehensive law will also guaranteebudgetary support from the national government for reproductive health initiatives and ensuretheir implementation by local government units, regardless of the vagaries of national and localleadership.We are issuing this statement because we wish to support those legislators who rely on scientificevidence when they craft legislative proposals or decide how to vote. Their endorsement of HB
4244 is an encouraging example of progressive legislation that is necessary to nationaldevelopment.In this light, we feel the need to comment on the way science has been misused by those whooppose this bill. We have seen the misrepresentation of easily verifiable information, such asthe actual text of the proposed bill. We have witnessed the misuse of outdated studies, data thathave already been disproven, or studies that cannot be replicated to support what are merelyideological positions. One example that is particularly dangerous is the lie that condoms do notprotect against sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. There have also beenthose who misrepresent extremist positions as the prevailing consensus of the scientificcommunity. This evidence-based consensus, however, does support the provisionof reproductive health services that include contraceptive access and sexuality education. It alsosupports the services for adolescents and children that HB 4244 mandates.We are concerned over reports that teachers offer incentives, such as bonus points, for studentsto make anti-RH statements or engage in anti-RH activities. We welcome disparate opinions asnecessary to the vitality of any scholarly community. Thus, we believe that it is an abuse of our role as value formators to dictate the political actions of our students in this way. We denounceany such violations of our duties to inculcate critical thinking and respect our students’ right totheir own opinions. We denounce this, regardless of whether the teacher is for or against theRH Bill.We caution our people to be more critical of the data and opinions presented to them and find outthe truth for themselves. We are heartened by polls that show that most Filipinos know of thebill and support it, and in so doing have shown their capacity for enlightened citizenship.Together with the legislators who have proven themselves worthy of their mandate by their support for the bill, we reiterate our full and unequivocal endorsement of HB 4244 and call for its immediate enactment into law.John Piermont MontillaProject SpecialistPhilippine NGO Support Program, Inc. (PHANSuP)(engaging communities for health and development)Operating Units: APRDC, ARETS and SAGAT4/F VD&S Bldg., 59-B Panay Avenue, Quezon City 1103 PhilippinesTel/Fax: (+632)-332-1914 | +639166682183 |johnpiermontvm@yahoo.com | skype: fareasternsoul |Weblink:http://www.aidsalliance.org/linkingorganisationdetails.aspx?id=15  PHANSuP is the linking organization in the Philippines of the International HIV/AIDS Alliancesince 1994.

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