MANILA, September 30, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A coalition of youth organizations, young individuals, and young Congress members have called on government lawmakers to put the Philippines’ reproductive health (RH) bill’s proposed Php3 billion (about $70 million) annual budget toward initiatives that will actually benefit the people of the Philippines, rather than spending the money on contraceptives and sex education.
At the launching event of Youth United for the Philippines (YUP!) coalition at Manila’s University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) on September 29, participants in the rally stated that “through correct reasoning, ethics, and a positive type of activism, young Filipinos can actualize the future they deserve,” and demanded “real long-term progress for the Philippines.”
The group of young legislators present at the rally referred to their manifesto, published in major dailies on September 26, that favors measures that promote education, jobs, and healthcare for all.
The group’s manifesto states, “We do not see our population as a problem. We see it as an opportunity. … large populations, when empowered by opportunity and reliable governance, are assets to economic growth. What we need to do is to enforce sound economic policies, fight corruption effectively, and invest in helping people pull themselves out of poverty.”
“Population is not the cause of poverty,” the young legislators state. “Therefore, the RH bill is not the solution we need.”
Quirino Representative Dakila Carlo E. Cua told the gathering the proposed budget for the RH bill is “not something we can afford as a nation,” according to a press release.
“We are not blind, we are not deaf, we see the needs of our country, we all know we can use better mass transit, we all know we can use more school buildings … there are many things our country needs before we can even try to consider spending for contraceptives,” Cua said.
Lanao del Norte Representative Fatima Aliah Dimaporo said the proposed RH bill budget can be used to solve “immediate problems.”
“Will the proposed Php3-billion budget be put into generating jobs, into improving education, into more scholarships, and into training birth attendants and health practitioners? Let’s stop going around the problem and go straight to the solution,” Dimaporo said.
Representative Lucy Gomez (Leyte, 4th District) told participants in the youth rally to “remember what we are fighting for.”
“Human beings are assets and not liabilities. The true wealth of a nation is really in its people,” Gomez said.
According to UA&P’s website, the university’s administration and student council have released separate statements opposing bills that “trample on the right to conscientious objection” and “promote the use of abortifacients” and the “anti-life lifestyle.”
In a press briefing on July 29, UA&P President Jose Maria Mariano read the University’s statement, “prompted by the current debate on the reproductive health [RH] bills.” The statement was written in light of the University Credo and was signed by UA&P’s highest officials.
“We…strongly reject any attempt at legislation that promotes the use of abortifacients, including those disguised as [contraceptives] that in fact kill the newly conceived human person by preventing its being implanted in the womb,” Mariano read.
“The right to life must be respected and protected from conception to natural death,” the university said, stating that it adheres to the “scientific conclusion” that life begins at fertilization, “the union of male and female reproductive cells.”
Over a thousand UA&P students (about 63 percent of the total student population) signed a different statement, written by the University’s College of Arts and Sciences Student Executive Board, that supported the statement of the university’s administration.
Entitled “Stand Up for Life”, the statement uphold “that conception is fertilization,” and that “the fertilized ovum is a whole, separate, unique, living, human being.”
The students’ statement also touches on the RH bill’s provision for sex education among children.
“We believe that a child’s education in human sexuality is primarily the right and duty of the parents who are by nature the first educators of their children,” the statement reads. “We believe that relegating sex education to and mandating it in the classroom threaten the family by undermining this natural right of parents.”
For more information contact the UA&P Corporate Communications Office at [email protected] or (632) 637-0912 local 301.