By: Elizabeth Angsioco
Published in Manila Standard Today
Dated April 9, 2011
I said last week that the present-day Damasos remain in power and want to control even women’s ovaries. I revealed facts about the processes and personalities involved in the passage of anti-RH ordinances in Barangay Ayala Alabang and those in Balanga, Bataan. People said they were shocked by the arrogance of some BAA personalities as well as their relationships with politicians in Balanga. Obviously, their common denominator is their opposition to the reproductive health bill.
Needless to say, the ordinances passed by Ayala Alabang and the seven in Balanga are almost identical. The template copy of the Balanga ordinance (written in Filipino) in our possession, however, seems to be an “improved” version of the BAA’s. My take on this is that the BAA amended theirs because of the protests and the “better” version was passed on to Balanga.
The latter’s version 1) no longer contains the provisions on Regulated Acts that lifted portions of Republic Act 5921, “An Act Regulating the Practice of Pharmacy and Setting Standards of Pharmaceutical Education in the Philippines and for Other Purposes;” and 2) revised the penalty provisions to adhere to the provisions of the Local Government Code. It should be remembered that the Ayala Alabang ordinance’s original sections (Regulated Acts and Penalties) were among those that came under heavy fire for being violative of national laws.
The Ayala Alabang barangay council is said to be amending its ordinance before re-submitting it to the Muntinlupa City Council. I will not be surprised if its final version is that which they gave to Balanga. Only, theirs will be in English because, of course Ayala Alabang is for the rich.
Also revealing are the materials used in convincing people to pass anti-RH ordinances. I previously mentioned the yellow paper distributed by Our Lady of Consolation Parish Church in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. This paper entitled “Operation: God Save the Family” is quite similar with the BAA ordinance’s Explanatory Note and the flyer distributed during the anti-RH seminar in Balanga entitled, “Siyentipikong Katotohanan ukol sa RH Bills.”
All three papers have the same messages. Let me highlight some: OLCP said that if the RH bill passes, “Mass murder of the innocent will be legalized.” BAA-EN said, “Artificial contraceptives are anti-life,” and the flyer said, “Pumapatay ng bata ang pildoras at IUD.”
They also alleged that contraceptives will destroy the family: “Families will be divided,” “Artificial contraceptives are anti-family,” and, “Ang malawakang paggamit ng mga artificial contraceptives ay sumisira ng pamilya.”
Lastly, the OLCP paper said, “The Filipino race will become extinct,” and the Ayala Alabang explanatory note asserted that “Artificial contraceptives are anti-Philippines.”
Very clearly, no matter how absurd these assertions are, the anti-RH group is using lies and scare tactics so people would reject the bill and allied barangay officials would pass their counter ordinance.
The anti-RH assertions are really not new. We have heard all these from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines many times over.
The contents of Ayala Alabang and the Balanga ordinances, as well as the papers they use, are principally the same as the CBCP’s pastoral letter entitled “Choosing Life, Rejecting the RH Bill.” Consider the following:
The pastoral letter, ordinances, and materials I discussed all reject artificial contraceptives as anti-life;
All of them only approve of the Natural Family Planning methods;
The pastoral letter and reference materials I cited claim that: contraceptives harm women; condoms are ineffective in HIV and AIDS prevention; contraceptives cause more abortions; and
The pastoral letter, ordinances and reference materials all condemn sex education, with the OLCP flyer even going to the extent of saying that with the RH bill’s passage, “children will become sex experts.”
Certainly, these are not coincidences. The present-day Damasos are orchestrating the moves to block the RH bill’s passage and thus, control women’s ovaries.
Damasos and their allies both inside and outside of government move at both the national and local levels, and within and outside government institutions.
It is no surprise that CBCP agreed to continue the dialogue with Malacañang despite the pastoral letter statement that their positions are poles apart. This enables them to continue exerting influence on the Executive branch while keeping the pressure on individual legislators, and coordinating the moves of their Congressional allies. We were told that anti-RH Congress representatives resisted the sponsorship of the bill and the start of interpellation because they promised the bishops.
At the local level, they also do many things beyond pushing for anti-RH barangay ordinances. Damasos use the pulpit regularly to scare people and even shame pro-RH legislators. Propaganda materials are distributed to parishioners. Social media users observe a sudden increase in the number of new Twitter and Facebook accounts hiding behind aliases and hounding RH advocates.
Just like during the Spanish era, the friars hold power. The CBCP, in effect make a mockery of the Constitutional provisions on separation of church and State. While these are in paper, it would seem that the bishops are “de facto” in power, especially on matters that threaten Catholic dogma.
Indeed, Damaso is alive, only, he is no longer Spanish but Filipino. This is even more hurting because now, it’s Filipino priests and bishops against the Filipino people, particularly poor Filipino women. Whoever controls our ovaries controls our lives. After all, the RH bill is about women’s rights and lives. It is about your wives, mothers, sisters, and you.
If Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Gabriela Silang, and Teresa Magbanua were alive today, what would they do?
I imagine them leading a movement to pressure government to do what it has to do and call for the prioritization of the Filipino people’s interests.
I imagine them fighting Damasos and the CBCP.
I imagine them working with us for the immediate passage of the RH bill.
The silent majority supporting the bill should now be counted. We need the hero in you to come out for this bill.
Damasos controlling women’s ovaries should be no more.