Sometimes, it's just about being informed. And it really makes the difference. The credibility and integrity of the people I've talked to update my Blogs & Contents were, based from what I've observed, from how much they knew of the RH Bill or at the least, the purpose of the Bill. I think that also made me realize that I am only able to write about or give my opinion about this controversy was because I had access to information and because I had the information. Perhaps when people get to be more informed about the RH Bill, maybe, just maybe, more people may share how I see the benefits of the passage of the Bill.
...These three aspects are most likely the basis of the battles for passing or stopping the Bill. As what I have also learned in my previous blogs, depending on the context, one side could always use one of the three to justify their reasons. Either way, I think trying to push ones ideals "for the sake of the many" (utilitarian ethical perspective) would not really end the desicion on whether it be passed or not. Its not really to prove whether or not the RH Bill is "constitutional" or even if it promotes promiscuity. I think its a matter of who's side is more proactive and is more assertive, whose side has the capability to execute what their side aims for.
And as far as I have observed in the new administration, I think the possibility of the RH Bill being passed is quite good.
Though I am certain that several interviews would not really let me generalize on how the common people really thought of the RH Bill, it gave me valuable insights on how people around me thought of the Bill. It made me realize that not all people are actually aware of the full significance of the RH Bill.
It made me think that conservativism is not the only reason for people anti-RH Bill reject the whole idea of passing the bill. They were also thinking of the practicality of passing the bill, if our country really needs it, because according to one of my interviewees, "...hindi lang yan problema ng bansa."
Mr. Alwayne Cunanan is a government employee and a father of two. I’ve met him while we were shooting a video for a school project. He happened to be the gatekeeper of the organization we were working with. Like most of the interviewees, he got informed with the RH Bill through the news. Admittedly, at first he thought that the RH Bill supported abortion which really turned him off, but after some reading he did on his own, he found out that the RH Bill turned out to be okay for him.
“Tingin ko di naman ganoon ka laking issue kung mapapasa yan sa Congress. Kala ko kasi dati parang sinsasabi na pwede na abortion daw.”
He told me that he found the current family planning methods being taught to married couples were very helpful for him and that he also thinks that passing the bill would help young fathers like him to know how to limit the number of their children.
“Alam mo, sa hirap ng buhay ngayon, kailangan talaga mag-family planning eh… di talaga basta basta yan. Kaya tingin ko okay din yan RH Bill kasi diba magtuturo din yan ng Sex Education tama ba?”
Based from what I noticed from my interview with Mr. Cunanan, I’ve noticed that the basis for his answers were the positive effects of the current family planning program available. Which, made me realize that sometimes the best way to convince people that the RH Bill was really needed was to make them experience personally what the RH Bill was for.
My sister told me that she knew a former-pastor in her school that she thought would be a good interviewee for my topic. I have set an appointment with him yesterday and carried over the interview through the phone. The former pastor was Mr. Paolo Samaniego.
I had this prior bias of thinking that he would not want the RH Bill to be passed, but I was proven wrong somehow.
“ Ah… yung RH Bill ba? Okay, neutral naman ako diyan. Pero wala naman talagang kaso sa akin kung maipapasa bay an o hinde.”
I asked him my first question and told me that he knew about the RH Bill in the news and told me that his knowledge about the bill itself was superficial but he was aware of conservative people would tend to reject the idea of passing the Bill.
“ Unang una, naisip ko din kasi eh na yung mga kumokontra diyan eh wala pa talagang experience (laughs). Pero alam ko naman saan sila nanggagalingan. Oo nga naman kasi, parang kinonsinte mo kasi magkaroon ng access yung mga bata sa mga bagay na di pa dapat nila ginagawa. Medyo immoral nga yon’ kung iisipin diba… pero kung sa aspeto lang din ng pagiging ligtas, okay ako diyan.”
He mentions on how easy access to contraceptives would help people to be protected from STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases), specifically HIV (human immuno deficiency virus). He told me that in that aspect, passing the Bill would surely save lives. But he clarifies that there are many ways in which people still needs to abstain and that it would still be the best thing for unmarried couples.
“ Pero di porke’t may contraceptives na eh, yon’na yon’. Pinaka mabuting paraang pa din yung pag aabstain sa sex. And young people should also be aware of the responsibilities of being a parent. Aba, di yata biro yon’.
I have this friend from UP which was quite a critique of the RH Bill being long overdue. My interviewee this time was Arthur Aurelio a Political Science major in the University of the Philippines, Manila.
When I started to mention the word RH Bill he began to laugh and started to rant about how the politicians being too self-centered, not caring for its people, and as he highlighted, ignorant. Being cautious not to stray off from the topic I tried to stick with the questions I wanted to ask. He told me that he read the contents of the Bill and said that it was totally safe and not anti-life as some protesters of the Bill claims.
“I’ve read the whole thing…well not really (laughs) but the parts that I thought was quite relevant for me. At wala naman ako nabasa na ni-legalize ang abortion.”
He said also told me that it was actually pro-life as it would probably save unplanned families and young parents.
“Alam mo naman sa panahon ngayon normal nalang sa mga mag-syota mag-sex. Hindi na yun abnormal RJ (interviewer). At sa tingin ko pag mas madali maka-access mga tao sa contraceptives, katulad nung sabi sa Bill, eh kahit papano mababawas bawasan mga hindi inaasahang supling… siguro (laughs).”
And what I might expect based from his reactions about the RH Bill, he thinks that the Bill should be passed as he thinks that it was also a chance of making our people to be more open about sex.
“… Tingnan mo nalang yung mga 1st world na bansa, legal na legal yan mga contraceptives. Kasi alam nila di mo naman talaga maiiwasan yun eh. Siguro kasi masyado conservative mga Pilipino. Siguro pag napasa yung RH Bill medyo maging liberal tayo sa mga ganyan bagay.”
In this sense I was reminded of my previous post on the failure of repressive hypothesis. That the more you repress people to talk about something , the more they get curious about the topic. And in this case, sex was the taboo.
Wasn't able to post yesterday... there was no electricity everywhere. Well, just used this time to study the some of the data I got from some of the interviews.
For this interview, I went to the house of a friend of mine and interviewed his mother on her thoughts about the RH Bill. My interviewee was Mrs. Vicky Castro a housewife in her late forties.
When I asked what she knew of the RH Bill, I was actually surprised by her answer that she really did not know of the RH Bill. Though she claimed that she heard it in the news but she was not really affected by the issues concerning it. As I may quote:
“Ang alam ko lang naman diyan eh, yan yung sagot ng mga politiko sa overpopulation ng Pilipinas. Maliban dun siguro yung balita tungkol sa Sex Education pati pag bida sa mga contraceptives.”
She also thought that passing the Bill was useless because she was able to raise her family well without family planning and that its only about “discipline” among couples.
“Dapat matutunan ng mga mag-asawa talaga mag-pigil (laughs). Dapat hindi lang naka-sentro sa sex. Importante din magkaroon ng ibang pagkakaabalahan. Disiplina lang.”
Overall, what she thought was there were other pressing matters besides the issue of family planning and reproductive health which I also believe that it’s quite true as the RH Bill is not the sole answer to the problems of our country.
I’ve decided to conduct my own interviews on how people perceive the RH Bill. Though I have posted some ideas and opinions of people involved in the fight against or for the passing of the Bill, I thought that I haven’t really done any interviews or research on how common people, from different socio-political classes, though of the RH Bill. So for the next few days, I would be posting what I’ve gained from my interviews.
I’ll only be asking 2 main questions an probably do some follow up questions to probe even further. The first question is: What do you know about the Reproductive Health Bill? And the second would be: Do you think this Bill should be passed? Why or why not?
The Reproductive Health Advocacy Network or RHAN is a network of organizations within the Philippines that supports the improvement of reproductive health services in the country as well as the ease of access in services and products in the market that affects reproductive health.
This network of organization is one of the largest main supporters of the RH bill. You can access their website here: http://rhanphilippines.multiply.com/
Their multiply account contains their vision and mission, videos and current projects.