Honest-to-God dialogues

INSTEAD of engaging in anything that would not certainly produce positive results like the civil disobedience being floated by those that object to the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill, constant and sincere dialogs among stakeholders would still be the best way to come up with a win-win solution.

That’s the same direction Malabon Rep. Jaye Lacson-Noel is headed to as she espouses honest-to-God dialogues involving the lawmakers and religious sectors particularly the Catholic Church which declared as non-negotiable its opposition to the pending bill or specifically to artificial contraception.

A devout Catholic and pro-RH bill advocate, Lacson-Noel says she still has high regard to Church leaders especially to the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) who have been in the forefront in the campaign to block the impending passage of the proposed measure filed in Congress.

According to her, RH bill is a health issue that can be debated minus emotion to come up with a solution that is truly acceptable to all stakeholders. “I still believe that many of them would not engage in such move as they surely do not want confusion to reign on us,” she says.

She adds: “I also believe that there is always positive result if issues like this are threshed out through peaceful dialogues since all of us have common goal that is the health and welfare of the people not only the women.”

Without naming names and without sparking another controversy, the Malabon lawmaker reveals that she knows a number of open-minded Catholic priests who support the reproductive health provisions. “There are many of them who are broad-minded and are not opposed to the health and safety provisions for women under the bill,” she points out.

But Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez Jr., head of CBCP’s public affairs committee, appears to be combative as he vows to tell the faithful not to follow the RH bill once it becomes a law or short of saying that he is a leading a civil disobedience to tell the whole world that the controversial bill is against the teaching of Church.

“There’s no concrete plan yet,” the prelate says when asked about the civil disobedience that was floated by anti-RH bill advocates. “But certainly, we will not obey provisions against the teaching of Church.”

Iñiguez was apparently aware that PNoy himself whose “responsible parenthood” stance on family planning could be commonly understood to mean the range of birth control options from natural to artificial methods, would readily sign the measure once it reaches Malacanang.

While supporters of RH bill are claiming that natural family planning methods have not been proven to be as reliable as artificial means of birth control, the Catholic Church is unchanged as it opposes the use of artificial birth control methods such as condoms and birth-control pills, saying these could lead to promiscuity and a rise in abortion cases.

The Caloocan prelate insists that it’s still the law of God in the Church that is higher than any human or civil law.

The Catholic Church promotes only natural family planning and is opposed to the use of artificial birth control methods such as condoms and birth-control pills, saying these could lead to promiscuity and a rise in abortion cases. RH advocates say natural family planning methods have not proven to be as reliable as artificial means of birth control.

New Hopes for Fire Victims

With the convincing power shown by Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco, the private lot owners have agreed to let the property located in the two adjoining villages of Sipac Almacen and Navotas West where the worst fire incident took place in August 26 be divided into like subdivision-type residences to the affected families.

But since it could not be done overnight, so to speak, the mayor says they will continue giving out packages of food, clothing and medicines to about 7, 000 residents who currently stay in at least six evacuation centers until the plan materializes with the help of the National Housing Authority (NHA) which will put the project through Community Mortgage Program (CMP).

Since not all the affected families could be accommodated under the program, the city chief executive still hopes that the national government could be able to provide a permanent relocation site for them. He said the national government has its “Balik-Probinsya” program but only less than a hundred of families have availed.

Tiangco is counting on Vice President Jojo Binay, chair of the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), to be their voice to convince Malacanang to allow some of the affected families to be transferred to any of the existing relocation sites originally established for Ondoy victims. Arlie Calalo

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