Ex-NEDA chief supports responsible parenting
FORMER National Economic and Development director-general Felipe Medalla expressed support for the enactment of responsible parenting rather than the controversial reproduction health bill as a compromise measure to address rising mother and infant mortality rates.
“Well, I would really side more with the President. The RH bill is sometimes associated with compulsory sex education, etc. whereas the President’s point of view on this is more on responsible parenthood actually more aligned with what the bishops are saying. That’s why I think the President sent a very good message of responsible parenthood rather than using the term reproductive health, which everybody knows is a signal for the war between two big groups,” Medalla said in a press conference after a lecture in a forum for Angara Center.
Unfortunately, he said, some bishops reacted negatively—we must remember that “responsible parenthood” is the term preferred by Catholic bishops of the CBCP.
“I hope that we can have a good compromise on this one,” Medalla said in the forum held in Sofitel Philippine Plaza.
“For instance, I think that it’s good to have sex education. For example, I am the last person my kids want to talk about sex with. So I’m glad that the school with do it for me. However, if there is a parent that thinks differently, he or she should be able to opt out,” he argued.
He said we should look in the Reproductive health bill, and take out anything that is coercive in order to have a compromise measure that will benefit women and children.
“Every family should have the chance to opt out if their kids are being exposed to something that is against their religious beliefs,” he explained.
But he said, except to the statements made by bishops that the only acceptable method is natural family planning. “The problem with that is from personal experience, it’s difficult. So, limiting the poor to this method with which PHDs are having difficulty, I think will mean that the poor will having more babies than they would want.”
“A very, very possible theory is that the poor just want sex, not babies. But under the current setup, the only way you can have sex is if you want babies. De-linking sexual pleasure from sex has its own payouts. Like the next generations of Filipinos will be taller, smarter and better fed. Especially in a fiscally challenged government which does not have enough money for public health education—in a setting where the government has very little funds for the poorest families, I think this is a very important investment,” he added.
“Now I understand the concern of the religious groups. The last think we want is a jail sentence for anybody who, in good conscience, does not want to be part of the program,” he concluded.