Mixing Politics and Reproductive Health
RICKY J. BAUTISTA
January 15, 2004
alarming quantity of male prostitutes in highly urbanized cities grown up
and unlike GRO’s, they do not carry green cards which is to determine that
he is safe and clean.”
morning, January 12, 2004,
the second working Monday of the year, the Family Planning Organization of
the Philippines (FPOP) Samar Chapter in close cooperation with the Lucille
and David Packard Foundation sponsored the first ever
‘Kapihan ha Logans’
about the most debated electoral issues for May 2004 synchronized local and
national elections and Reproductive Health (RH) matters.
Of course, they invited some of the concerned guests speakers,
resource persons and panelists to talk about their perspective, point of
views, plans, and ideas on the selected topics.
Christine AC Caidic, information officer of the provincial government and chapter
treasurer and Rey Carmelo Remonde, Senior Advocacy Officer of the FPOP
National Office served as hosts.
Every year, the
Packard Foundation and or the Philippine Non-Government Organization Council
(PNGOC), the DOH, POPCOM funded by USAID and United Nations Family Planning
Action (UNFPA) regularly sponsored this event to raise awareness to the
public, most especially to those uneducated, on gender, proper and safe sex,
geopolitics, race, religious, among others.
time, this was mixed with politicians as resource persons, asking them what
program to do in the present and future government. Does an issue on
politics related to family planning? Well, some of the panelist including
three-termer Catbalogan Mayor Redaja aspiring for the Vice-Gubernatorial
post says, yes. He did not elaborate.
Most often than
not, the present administration always, and almost, play a safe role playing
on their stand about the birth control and using of contraceptive methods.
alone, the local government unit does not have any clear ordinance against
prostitution here. I did not hear any crucial move from the LGU to check all
suspected prostitution dens in the locality despite the series of exposes
made by the Underfire in the past columns published in the
Samar Reporter newspaper. Sex trade was becoming a boom in
this capital town using the videoke entertainment houses and massage parlors
as front house.
many young women rescued in Manila prostitution dens were from Samar towns. Again, the
causes of these are poverty and ignorance of sex education.
And mind you,
even President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was then quoted by the national media
as supporting the Catholic bishop’s campaign against birth control
methodology. The Bishops preach sanctity of life but their ban on condoms
contributes to millions of people around the world dying.
including me, beg to disagree with this policy. Yet, the Catholic hierarchy
lobbies governments around the world and at the United Nations to restrict
access to condoms that could help prevent the spread of AIDS.
opposition to condoms in the developing world hurts the poorest of the poor.
Aren’t these the very people the church calls on the world to help?
Oh my gosh,
this is again mixed with political decisions, I bet. When I heard about the
International news shortly after US President George W. Bush acceded to the
demands of ultra-conservative anti-family planning advocates in and around
his administration and refused to give the United Nation Family Planning
Action (UNFPA) its allocated funding of $34 million in 2002, I was
disappointed with him.
By the way, UNFPA is an agency that provides access to contraceptive services and
education, pre- and post-natal healthcare, sexually transmitted disease
education, referral to other care services, and cancer screening. It also
prevents abortion by empowering women to plan and space their pregnancies,
reducing the need for abortion.
voices of condemnation around the world ignored. One set of voices that
outraged, but too often ignored, was that of religious leaders political.
Too few people
hear the many, many religious leaders and government officials around the
world (that are supposed to be) who actively support family planning
programs. These leaders recognize that the work of the UNFPA
is vital to the reproductive health needs of women, men and their families.
They understand the importance of the life-saving services it provides,
including family planning programs and HIV/AIDS prevention, counseling and
services to people living in developing countries around the world.
prostitutes and unwanted mothers on the rise
You know dear
readers we have a very big and serious problem here. What I find frightening
to know is the revelation of Philippine FPOP National Senior Advocacy
Officer Rey Carmelo Remonde using the latest survey as his basis, an
alarming quantity of male prostitutes in highly urbanized cities grown up.
Unlike GRO’s, they do not carry green cards which is to determine that he is
safe and clean. Another is the quantity of Filipinos that have limited
knowledge about sexual and reproductive issues.
women thinking that condoms are 100% effective against pregnancy and
infection and homosexual men mistakenly believing that once in a monogamous
relationship they cannot develop HIV/AIDS -- despite the histories of
multiple partners and unprotected intercourse. Every year, more than 500,
000 women worldwide die from pregnancy related causes, including 78, 000
from unsafe, often clandestine abortions. For many, the cause is too many
pregnancies, starting at too young an age.
In the Philippines,
rates of unwanted mothers and unwanted pregnancies are on the rise because
of the widespread belief on pre-marital sex (PMS), incidences of sexually
transmitted infections are climbing, and HIV/AIDS remains at epidemic
While we may be
surprised that so much ignorance exists in a society that mandates access to
educational programs and health facilities, the situation in developing and
economically depressed countries might horrify us. The UNFPA exists to
extend a hand of mercy to countries that do not have adequate medical care
and education about sexual and reproductive issues.
Back to the
forum, the panelist talked about the newly revived campaign in controlling
the alarming increase of population. Unwanted pregnancies should be stop at
Dr. Teotimo Orbeso, Assistant Superintendent of the Department
of Education (DepEd) Division of Samar is eyeing to include sex education in
the curriculum, well that is good. Actually, that was already discussed
under the college subject Sociology 101, which includes Philippine
Constitution, Family Planning and History. It falls on the second.
Though this a
suntok sa buwan move, it is very important to discuss this inside the
classroom not solely at home. My book says, sex education viewed as a formal
instructional program to provide children and young adults with an objective
understanding of sex as a biological, psychological, and social life force.
A comprehensive curriculum, developed for sequential age levels, would
include discussion of the maturation and reproductive processes and extend
to such related considerations as obligations to the self and others;
protection from sexually related disease, exploitation, and injury; and
awareness of the maturity required for full expression of sex in love
formal sex education consider that sex in modern society is too complex a
phenomenon for instruction to be left to the varying influences of parental
attitudes and haphazard environmental exposure. They maintain that sex
education is a preventive measure against venereal diseases or pregnancy, as
well as a cultural force for the development of mature psychosexual
relationships in adult life. Opponents hold that sex education is the
exclusive right of parents and that encroachment upon this right will erode
the traditional family and religious restraints on sexual activity.
movement for sex education started in 1940s but remained sporadic and
limited to local constitutes until the late 1960s, when government and
educational organizers developed sex-education programs. A few states have
adopted mandatory courses.
In short, sex
education is only not for us to understand our biological needs; for parents
to understand their children’s sexual behavior; for the society to accept
moral sexual practices; and, for the Church to understand the importance of
birth control. In a larger aspect, this could be an effective tool in
addressing the alarming population growth.
After all, it
is a global concern!
(Any comments and reactions can be e-mailed to
You can also send it to Underfire c/o THE
REPORTER, 172 Abesamis Building, Allen Avenue, Catbalogan,Samar.)
New Year, New Hopes, New Questions
By BRYAN M. AZURA
New year. Yes, it’s a
brand-new year. When we come to times like this, there are so many
speculations with whatsoever things that will happen this year. Of course,
to many of us, New Year means new hope, new assurances, new beginning and
name all comforting adjectives you can, that’s how we think New Year is.
But, on the other hand,
especially with the present general situation of our country, we are faced
as well with so many questions such as is there really a chance for our
country and Eastern Visayas in particular to overcome all the present
problems that we have like poverty, calamities, immorality and all the
problems you can think of? Now that its election time, will the new winners
of these races be able to come up with solutions to these problems. Well,
every one of them promises great things, in fact, extraordinary things to us
during campaign time but will they be true on what they will be saying?
Definitely all elected
officials after the May elections will profit with their new positions. But
will us ordinary people benefit from them and their programs? Well we
understand that the words of famous American President John F. Kennedy “Ask
what the government can do for you but what you can do for the government”
is very significant in the progress of the nation but is the government
doing its duty to the people?
Few Years after the Marcos
was ousted from the highest seat of the land, many of our leaders blamed the
decline of our economy to Apo Macoy. Marcos led the nation for 20 years.
But now, barely a month to go before the 18th anniversary of People Power 1,
our economy declined to almost six or seven times than that almost 18 years
ago. What happened to our previous 3 Presidents and now our present one who
is seeking another term? Give us a break Your Excellencies.
Well and good for
communities with dedicated and true leaders. We don’t discount them. I
salute all leaders who made overwhelming accomplishments accordingly. Region
8 people should be proud of them that after all, there are still leaders
like them. Example of this is the third-termer Chief Executive of Pinabacdao,
Samar, Mayor Arcadio L. Quijano, who made difference in the said town. If
Pinabacdao was dubbed as the “Town of Promise” now it’s already a “Town of
Accomplishments.” Infrastructure and agriculture had been the agenda of
Quijano in his nine-year stint. Not only Quijano made a difference but also
many mayors in different municipalities in Region 8 I believe so. This
humble Mayor by the way is not contented in just serving the Pinabacdao
people but now he wants to expand his service to the 2nd District of Samar
by including himself in the race for Board Member come May elections.
So basically 2004 offers us
mixed expectations. To us constituents, what shall we do then? Well, my
answer to that is simple... prepare for whatever the outcome this year may
* * * * * * * *
I was suppose to spend
either Christmas or New Year in Butuan, Agusan Del Norte but since we had to
pass by the calamity-stricken Lilo-an and other parts of Southern Leyte, we
decided to just cancel it. Instead we spent our holidays in
Just while we were suppose
to celebrate completely our New Year’s Eve, the electricity went out. From
6pm of December 31, 2003 to 2am of January 1, 2004, the power was out in our
place. I wonder what message was Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative (ESAMELCO)
conveyed that time. For one, that could mean that the entire 2004, Eastern
Samar will be battered again with countless, weeklong brownouts. My
goodness. By the way there are talks among bystanders that ESAMELCO incurred
millions of pesos in debt to National Power Corporation the reason why the
latter is giving limited power supply to this province. Can you give light
to this, Manager Aberia, sir?
Catbalogan City Hood Bid,
RICKY J. BAUTISTA
December 16, 2003
On December 1, 2003 as per advice from Congresswoman Carmen Cari of the 5th
district of Leyte, Catbalogan Mayor Jesus Redaja has appealed to several
concern senators to support House Joint Resolution No. 69 requesting the
exemption of Catbalogan, among other seven municipalities in the new law (RA
9009) which states that before a town may be granted to become a city, it
should have an annual income of P100 million instead of only P20 million.
To this date,
no reply yet from these senators had been received by the office of Mayor Redaja. According to the mayor in his letter to the Senate, the 88,000
inhabitants in Catbalogan have long desired that this town be converted into
years ago, a bill was filed for this purpose. Only the positive action of
Congress then was needed for a municipality to become a city. No
requirements on income, population and land area to speak of. This
aspiration for city hood became a whisper and finally could no longer be
heard because of the conflagration of magnitude proportion that hit two
thirds of the town proper on that eventful year 1967.
In the recent
past, the elective town officials in coordination with Congressman Antonio Nachura agreed to revive the city hood move. The Municipality passed all the
requirements for city hood based on the local government code of 1991. A
House Bill No. 9403 was filed in the 11th Congress. The process was not
completed due to the impeachment proceedings that took place against then
President Joseph ‘Erap” Estrada.
passage of RA 9009, the aspirations of the people of Catbalogan would no
longer be realized because the town cannot have that One Hundred million
pesos yearly income.
and now is the capital town of the province of Samar and was the capital
town of the Island Province before it was subdivided into three provinces.
It is the seat of the provincial government, home of all line agencies of
the national government and branches in town and operational. It is the home
of educational institutions, which offers Doctorate, Masteral and Collegiate
courses not to mention the secondary and elementary schools. The combined
teaching forces of all these schools number about 1,300. Communications
network like Bayantel, Smart, Globe, PLDT & Government telecom system are
also operational in this town.
Rep. Nachura when pressed by the media regarding the status of the bid
blamed the town officials for its snail pace development. He said the local
officials have been so uncooperative in the submission of the required
But Mayor Redaja countered that if there is one to be blamed it is no other than Rep.
Nachura because he is the one who filed the bill (for the city hood) in
Congress. Nachura should be the one who knew what is really lacking in the
bill because he is the Congressman. According to him, Nachura and even the
Congress never informed the locality about the development.
municipality apparently did not receive a single letter from Nachura about
the city hood bid.
If the accounts
of Mayor Redaja are true, Nachura is not interested for the city hood
bid of Catbalogan.
But why? What is really the reason behind this mess?
Ano it panuyuanan nimo Congressman?
Mayor Redaja hinted that maybe Nachura is afraid that he (Redaja) may run
against him come May 2004 elections which is just five months ahead.
countered all statements released by Nachura to the media and to the
listening public. Redaja and some of his town officials go on air last week
and castigated Nachura for his reported politicking. That Congressman
Nachura is not even a co-sponsor of the House Bill 69 re-filed before the
Lower House. (see related news)
* * * * * *
beach resort partly owned by Rep. Nachura and Board Member Dy has no
When the Catbalogan Cable TV Media Advocates Nucleus (CCATMAN) visit the sleepy town
of Marabut, Samar for the town-to-town evaluation of the group’s annual
search of the Most Outstanding Elected Public Official in Samar, we had the
chance to interview the mayor in his house at about 9 p.m. of December 5,
If we believe
Mayor Clarito Bocar in his revelation, no single help from the
provincial government of Samar, and from Nachura has been extended to his town except for
the school building from the solon.
What shocked us
most is the allegation that the Jasmin Beach Resort managed and owned
by three persons including Nachura and Provincial Board Member Jimmy Dy has
no business permit, yet.
“Of all the
beach resorts in Marabut, ito la nga kanda Nachura ngan Board Member Dy it
waray permit, di man ako makaperit ha ira kay Congressman ko man hiya, pero
operational na ito. In fact, asya ngani it pinakamasurong nga resort didi ha
amon nasasakupan. (Of all the beach resorts in Marabut, only the resort that
belongs to Nachura and Board Member Dy has no permit. Though, I can’t force
them to secure despite of its being operational because he is my
Congressman)” Mayor Bocar said.
confession of Mayor Bocar was recorded to the video camera of the CCATMAN.
The revelation of Mayor Bocar convinced us that something is fishy here.
Ano it karuyag
signgon hine nga sitwasyon? Tungod ba kay Congressman O kun Provincial Board
Member ka pwede kana magtindog hin “tax-free” business establishments? Tsk!
Whew! Iba gud
liwat Kita dinhi ha Samar.
Eddie Nachura and Provincial Board Member Jimmy Dy, Sirs!
Maupay kunta kun mapanginano liwat ine naton ano, kay bangin manla liwat,
nahihingalimtan la ine pag process nga business permit. Deri gad maupay nga
waray ine permit kay asya ngani ine an nahihimo nga source of income, deri
pa nahihingada ha kaban han gobyerno. Ay gad kam pagsugad hito!!
We, the Samarnons wish that
the accusations against you were not true. The rumors and allegations
labeled against you should be corrected before it’s too late. We will
appreciate if you or anyone from your extension office can furnish us your
side on the issue.
(Any comments and reactions can be e-mailed to
You can also send it to Underfire c/o THE
REPORTER, 172 Abesamis Building, Allen Avenue, Catbalogan,Samar.)
Song of the Cityhood of Catbalogan
By BRYAN M. AZURA
During the 1st Anniversary celebration of Catbalogan Cable TV
Media Advocates Nucleus (CCATMAN), a media group in Catbalogan, Mayor Jesus
B. Redaja of Catbalogan, shared some sentiments regarding the application of
his town transforming it into a city.
He was quiet remorseful regarding
the fate of the town that despite its being the oldest center of commerce in
the region and being the first seat of capitol in the entire island of Samar,
yet until now, it remains an old, rugged town. In his three-term stint as
the Chief Executive of the town, as what he repeatedly said, everything was
done in his capacity so that a law will be enacted creating the City of
For once, in the 11th Congress,
House Bill 9403, the bill creating the Municipality of Catbalogan, Samar to
a city and will be called City of Catbalogan, was submitted by Congressman
Eduardo “Eddie” Nachura in February 2, 2000. With this, Redaja had been
hopeful that finally the longing of every Catbaloganon would now come to
In his disclosure, he said he
secured all the necessary documents just to comply with the requirements.
The bill could have been brought to the plenary in Congress if not only
because of the impeachment issue on former president Joseph Estrada.
Three years have gone by and exactly
several days before the filing of candidacy for the 2004 elections, here
comes Cong. Nachura with an article in his ATON INI publication telling the
constituents of this town that it’s actually the municipal Local Government
Unit that made a shortcoming the reason why HB 9403 did not prosper simply
because “they missed to submit four basic documents to the Committee on
But Mayor Redaja strongly rebuts
this arguing that as far as the requirements during that time is concerned,
they were able to produce them. “But the reality is,” he said,
“it’s Nachura who basically opposes the city hood of Catbalogan.”
“There was even one time when he (Nachura) told me not to pursue it because
it would be of no benefit to me,” Redaja explains.
So what is this all about,
Congressman? This writer could not see any connection why the local LGU or
maybe the Mayor be blamed of a wrong, if there was even one, now three years
ago. A lot of observers even have come to wonder that the Congressman is
just threatened about a possible contest between him and the Mayor so he’s
doing all these “exposes.”
But what’s the big thing in this
issue anyway. Nobody cares, maybe. But the writer thinks the other way. Why?
Because first, if indeed Mayor is saying right that Nachura even approached
him not to pursue the city hood of Catbalogan, then the latter should have
not even touched the issue. Secondly, the document constituting the Joint
House Resolution No. 29 exempting eight (8) municipalities (including
Catbalogan) from the required P100 M income of a municipality to become a
city based on RA 9009, does not contain the signature of the solon. In other
words, he did not even co-sponsor it. Thirdly, while it is necessary that
the bill be re-filed in the 12th Congress, Nachura did not make
an initiative to do so.
Well, this may be a legitimate issue
but definitely not between the two officials should raise this up except the
constituents of this place. There could be no rightful party to open this up
to the public except the public itself.
(see related news)
***** ***** *****
This writer and some other newsmen went to Marabut, Samar the past week for
the Search for Most Outstanding Elective Public Officials, an initiative of
Catbalogan Cable TV Media Advocates Nucleus (CCATMAN). We made an interview
with Mayor Clarito Bocar, Sr. You will not believe in what he admitted.
Among all the beach resorts in his
locality, only Jasmin Beach Resort doesn’t pay its local taxes. It was not
granted business permit by Marabut because of lack of requirements such as
DTI registration. Two of the stakeholders of Jasmin Beach Resort are Cong.
Eddie Nachura and Board Member Jimmy Dy.
The problem here is that this resort
continue to operate despite the absence of business permit. Is this not
illegal, honorable lawmakers? Just asking.