"..a bardy view!"

Pacquiao spars with the Philippines Reproductive Health (RH) Bill….

"In an oxymoron marriage between state and church, one is impotent and the other celibate. Between them they manage to produce a considerable amount of children."  I wrote those words two years ago for an an article on Population Growth, poverty and environmental degradation.

It discusses the immense issues facing the Philippines, and recent events have highlighted the subject. The Philippine's government is attempting to push through the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, which attempts to address the population crisis by actively encouraging contraception and even providing free condoms and other preventative devices. It argues that uncontrolled population results in poverty, which in turn increases the population. It's a circle which needs to be broken, but is facing considerable opposition from the Catholic Church and several other groups, politicians and celebrities.

There are significant moral and ethical issues at stake, and the church argues that endorsing a policy of contraception will encourage people, especially the young, to become much more sexually promiscuous and irresponsible. It would rather the attention and money be directed to education.

The church wants to keep sex sacred and procreative. Indeed, it argues that it is not over-population which creates poverty, but corruption. This view has many supporters one of whom is non-other than Manny Paquiao, Filipino and world boxing champion and now provincial politician.

He has recently addressed, by recorded message, a huge anti-RH bill protest in Manila's Rizal Park. "If my dad and Mommy Dionesia used a condom there wouldn't be a Manny Pacquiao" he said.

I have often wrote admiringly about Pacquiao on this blog in the past, but recall saying that sportsmen, however driven, should really keep out of politics.

Such loose and evocative statements can have considerable power, and they need to be thought through. If Mr and Mrs Hitler had used a condom, then Adolph would not have been born and WWII would not have happened. No doubt the Pope would have defended their right to give birth to a monster, and suggested that all they needed was a little family planning. It's a churlish and irreverent example, but it clearly demonstrates the weakness of Pacquiao's amateur diction.

The RH bill (for indeed, that's all it is – a bill – with far to travel) may be flawed, but at least it's a start. It also addresses the empowerment of women, who instead of being regarded as birth machines may feel that that they can actually have the courage to say enough is enough.

Of course education is important, but by the time such a programme saw positive results, the population could have increased by a further 20 million in as many years. Probably more. It has increased by 10 million every decade since 1980.

The church argues that it is education which will grab the poor by their bootstraps out of poverty. That's "education" per se, education to get jobs, education to provide income, decent homes and quality of life.

But what jobs are these future millions of hypothetically well educated people going to get? Will they be in their own country? Unlikely. They will be leaving, just as they do now, and join the ranks of the other millions of OFW's (Overseas Filipino Workers) around the globe. The very ones who are the essence of their countries GDP. That gross domestic product regarded in the Philippines as "the people".

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the RH bill, and if there is a true case for education, then it is up to the government to present their case sensibly and easily understandably. Equally so, the Catholic church also has a duty here. Not to galvanise mass protest, but to look at the issues and educate their flock. For example there are many who believe that under the bill families will be limited to two children. This volatile erroneous untruth is just one of many which needs clarifying. 

The Philippines is a very religious country, where the Spanish Catholic Church has had a strong influence for more than 300 years. It really needs to be more responsible. Literal interpretation of the bible is unwise and dangerous. Such fundamental and inflexible adherence will neither spread the word and could even threaten its very survival.

Bishops may pontificate and theologise, embraced by the comfort of the Vatican, but meanwhile millions of people are in distress, and suffer because their Pope is intransigent.

Even an oxymoron marriage between church and state is better than no marriage at all, but like any couple, if they cannot live in harmony, see eye to eye, or even meet each other half-way then separation is inevitable. 

Divorce is a very messy business, and it's generally the children who suffer.


March 26, 2011 - Posted by | Boxing, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Politics, Religion, The Philippines | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Fascinating.The church has a very hard row to hoe. My life experiences has taught me this. During the second World War a largely Catholic nation (Germany) came up against a largely Protestant Nation (England) before the Americans arrived and it’s well known that they are always late? Imagine being Pope? Just where do you draw the line? History aside and all atrocities included, where are my subjects? Millions of Catholic Germans or a handful of British? I’m not even going to begin to include Italians or any one else. What this means is, just who do I support, a megalomaniac leader or my poor deluded subjects? Ask yourself the same question? So what they did is, as they always do, is they drew the middle line. In Africa this consisted of supporting millions of converts against every thing the church stood for for? Same thing applies where you live, how sad?


    Comment by Spook Moor | March 26, 2011 | Reply

  2. I’ve never been anti or pro RH Bill. I guess, it’s on the couples preferences in how many kids they want in the family. That’s one of the dilemmas when you live in a devout Catholic country in the Philippines there are people still can’t be open to this kind of amendments in the law.. Definitely, there should be a separation of church from the state.. But the Church is really a big deal here.


    Comment by NAIZA | May 12, 2011 | Reply

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