MILLIONS WASTED ON DELAYS COULD BENEFIT THE POOR, ESPECIALLY WOMEN

By Loejan S. Anudon

A picture of the religious gift of Archbishop Ramon Arguelles

A picture of the religious gift of Archbishop Ramon Arguelles

Taking a direct charge to influence law makers, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles sent religiousgiftsto all lawmakers to remind them of their obligation to their church. The lady Solon of the 5th District of Pangasinan remains steadfast in her support of the RH Bill, however.

While other recipients of the gifts returned them, Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco said she would display her gift in her office “as a reminder of my resolve to help pass the RH bill so that Filipino women, just like the Virgin Mary, will be given a better chance for a better life.”

Congresswoman Kimi maintains her unwavering support of the bill, continuing her crusade in the interview on dzmm radio 630khz with Ms. Korina Sanchez just this week.

The plight of the Virgin Mary is not uncommon in the Philippines today. Everyday, poor, unmarried women give birth without the benefit of good maternal health care or hospitals. Unfortunately, not all of them are as blessed to survive the ordeal. For these women, it is quite likely that they may never see their children live long enough to accomplish greatness. The infant mortality rate in the Philippines is among the highest in Asia and in the world and everyday 11 women die from complications of childbirth.

If the Virgin Mary were to give birth in the Philippines today, being homeless, poor and unmarried, there is a good chance that she and the baby Jesus would die from the ravages of poor maternal health care and subpar medical services of public hospitals. That is, if they even make it that far. If, like so many poor women in the Philippines today, she is unable to afford even a public hospital and is resigned instead to deliver in a manger like dwelling, the likelihood of their survival becomes even slimmer.

This is what is most frustrating for the congresswoman who witnessed firsthand the suffering of the marginalized population in her district. Even as an overwhelming majority of the population support a national program for responsible parenthood, the unrelenting and stalwart directive from the Catholic leaders keep many of their congregation cowed and afraid to speak out against the church, including the lawmakers themselves.

When asked whether she is affected by the threat of censure from her church, the congresswoman maintains that she is a good, faithful Catholic, but she must maintain a balance between her faith and her obligation to the people that she has sworn to serve. She has conversed with her bishop and she has expressed to him that her position as representative compels her to protect the interests of her constituents regardless of their religion.

One of the arguments against the RH Bill is the deterioration of the morality of the family unit. She argues that poverty and overpopulation is already doing a good job at undermining the traditional family unit. In her district alone she has seen a rise in unmarried couples raising children because they cannot afford to get married much less to afford contraceptives in order to responsibly plan the number of children. Many of them have long realized that God does not always provide based on their prayers alone and the old “bahala na” attitude does not always end well. It is time, and they realize this, that they are responsible for their own wellness, that they must be the first to help themselves in order to better their lives. However, in order to take that step, the national government must step in to enable them to do that. That is what the RH Bill is about.

“Family units are saddled with severe problems of providing for their children and making ends meet so unfortunately, marriage is the furthest from their minds much less divorce. The NSCB survey is only a manifestation of poverty and helplessness of the majority in our country today. That is why I believe it is the duty of the state to help alleviate this situation. The principles in the RH bill can have a profound effect in helping couples, families and future generations live a decent life.” say Congresswoman Kimi Cojuangco.

During the interview, the congresswoman also brought up the issue of the waste of taxpayer’s money as her fellow lawmakers seek to delay the passage of the bill in congress.

“P50 million – we spend that much per day that’s what it cost [when we delay the voting on the RH bill]. This is really a disservice to the nation; we could be saving so many lives. What I’m saying is that the budget per year of the House of Representatives, we spend P50 million a day per session for every crazy delay that goes on,” Cojuangco said.

What with the discussions and debates over the RH Bill that has been going on and off of the legislative floor for the past 16 years, proponents of the bill feel that all has been said and examined. It is time to stop wasting time and money and move on to the next step towards getting the bill passed. The women, children and families of this country have long suffered the ill effects of being without a comprehensive responsible parenthood plan.

Here is a copy of the Live Interview with Ms. Korina Sanchez on DZMM Rated Korina, August 29, 2012

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