Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370
  • Office of Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman
  • Principal Author of HB No. 96
  • 0916-6406737 / 0918-9120137
  • Official Website:
  • 30 November 2010


The most recent Pulse Asia survey revealing that 69% of Filipinos favor the passage of a reproductive health law exposes the dwindling influence of the Catholic hierarchy when it comes to persuading the faithful to eschew modern methods of family planning.

 Despite the Catholic hierarchy’s all-out campaign against the bill and its branding of all modern methods of family planning as “intrinsically evil”, support for the RH bill has even risen by six percentage points from 63% supporting its passage into law in January 2009 to the present 69%.

 Not only did nationwide support for the bill increase, the opposition to it also decreased from 8% in January 2009 to 7% in Pulse Asia’s survey in October 2010.

 The people have spoken yet again. They do not only approve of the passage of the RH bill, 79% recognize the right of women and couples to decide for themselves which family planning method is best suited to them; 70% agree that all forms of family planning methods should be promoted; and 55% agree that government funds must be used to support modern family planning methods.

 The authors of the RH bills pending before the Congress welcome this development. But this is no surprise. Almost two decades of surveys by the Pulse Asia and the SWS document that (1) an overwhelming majority of Filipinos, principally Catholics, favor the enactment of the RH bill; (2) government must spend for the purchase and distribution of contraceptives to acceptors; and (3) government must promote  all methods of family planning.

 Based on the Pulse Asia survey, even a majority of those who disagreed, endorsed the following provisions of the RH bill:

 ·      Recognizing the rights of women and couples to choose the family planning method that they want on the basis of their needs and personal and religious beliefs;

·      Promoting information about and access to natural and modern family planning methods; and

·      Stipulating the use of government funds to support modern family planning methods.


Pulse: 69% favor RH bill

Support for measure up 6 percentage points

By TJ Burgonio, Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:08:00 12/01/2010


Solons divided over RH bill survey

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 17:58:00 11/30/2010




If condom use is the lesser evil than the spread of HIV/AIDS as clarified by Papal sources, then contraceptives are an infinitely lesser evil than maternal death and abortion.

 Family planning and contraception save lives by helping women avoid high risk pregnancies which often end in maternal and infant death or morbidity.

 According to the National Statistics Office, maternal deaths in the Philippines account for one out of every seven deaths in women of reproductive age, making maternal death a grave risk for women in this age group.

 Both the WHO and the UNFPA have asserted that “one in three deaths relating to pregnancy and childbirth could be avoided if women who wanted to use contraception could access it.”

 The WHO also concludes that if women have information and access to contraceptives and are taught to use them properly, “the fall in maternal mortality is likely to be even greater than the fall in the pregnancy rate.”

 Moreover, studies conducted by the WHO have also revealed that helping women plan their families through regular and proper use of modern contraceptives can help prevent one million infant and child deaths annually worldwide as too closely spaced and repetitive pregnancies impact negatively on child survival.

 There is an inverse relationship between contraception and abortion because unintended pregnancies are the ones being terminated through abortion. The regular and correct use of contraceptives reduces the incidence of abortion by as much as 85% according to the empirical studies of the Guttmacher Institute.

 Clearly, a pregnancy that is planned and wanted will not be aborted. It is therefore only logical to conclude that the more women can avoid unintended and mistimed pregnancies through effective family planning, the less the incidence of abortion will be.

 The UP Population Institute estimates that there are 300,000 to 500,000 induced abortions performed in the country annually or as many as 16 out of every 100 pregnancies ending in abortion.

 Bioethics theologians have also clarified that the Pope’s permission for the use of condoms for health reasons covers heterosexual relations, not only to “male prostitutes”.

 This is a very welcome development as it signals the liberalization of the stand of the Catholic Church when it comes to condom use to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The moderation of the Church’s position on condoms today to prevent the spread of a deadly disease may ultimately evolve to include the use of condoms and other contraceptives to prevent high risk pregnancies.

 The use of condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections also effectively prevents pregnancy.


While Pope Benedict’s permitting the use of condoms to prevent infection of HIV-AIDS is not an open endorsement of the RH bill, it can be considered the first step towards the liberalization by the Catholic Church of contraceptive use for health reasons.

 The prevention and treatment of HIV-AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases is one of the major concerns provided for in the RH bill.

 The recent pronouncement of Pope Benedict is a far departure from the previous total ban on the use of contraceptives and is a backtracking from the Church position that condoms help spread HIV-AIDS.

 Now, it is condoms to prevent HIV-AIDS infections, but later it could be contraceptives to prevent high-risk pregnancies resulting in countless maternal deaths.

 The death of 500,000 women worldwide annually due to complications related to high risk pregnancies and lack or absence of skilled attendance at childbirth is both an aberration and a gross social injustice.

 According to the National Statistics Office, 11 women die daily of maternal causes and these deaths account for one out of every seven deaths in women of reproductive age in the Philippines, making maternal death a grave risk for women in this age group.

 Both the WHO and the UNFPA have asserted that “one in three deaths relating to pregnancy and childbirth could be avoided if women who wanted to use contraception could access it.”

We need to enact soonest the RH bill to foreclose these needless deaths because the miracle of life should not mean death for so many mothers.


President Benigno Aquino III needs to be complemented and supported for standing firm against the Catholic hierarchy in his advocacy for responsible parenthood and contraceptive use based on freedom of informed choice.

 The steadfast position of the President on voluntary family planning is an unequivocal endorsement for the enactment of a comprehensive and nationwide statute on reproductive health and population development.

 All of the six allied bills on reproductive health and family planning in the House of Representatives have been scheduled for consideration by the Committee on Population and Family Relations on November 24 and December 1, 2010.

 Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. has repeatedly committed to prioritize the bills and call for a plenary vote on a consolidated measure without delay.

 As principal author of House Bill No. 96, the first of the six RH bills filed in the 15th Congress, I salute the President for his unwavering commitment for the adoption of a national policy on reproductive health and family planning.

 The Philippines is the only remaining middle income country in Southeast Asia without a complete and comprehensive national policy on reproductive health.

 The enactment of a national law on reproductive health which is rights-based, health-oriented and human development-driven will enable the Philippines to improve its chances of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


           While it is salutary to protect investors from “regulatory risks”, government contracts are not inordinately sacrosanct so as to be immune from judicial review by the Supreme Court and police power legislation by the Congress.

            It is beyond presidential prerogatives to shield contracts from final court judgments and valid legislative enactments.

President Benigno Aquino III gave investors an errant assurance when he declared:

      ·         “If private investors are impeded from collecting contractually agreed fees – by regulators, courts, or the legislature –  

      then  our government will use its own resources to ensure that they are kept whole.”

·         “If, for some reason, a court decision threatens the adjustment, the government will compensate the private concessionaire for the difference between what the tariff should have been under the formula, and the tariff which it is actually able to collect.”

            It is a heretic for the President to assert that he will defy the Supreme Court by not following its decisions annulling or modifying contractual stipulations, and instead he will pay investors the difference between what they are supposed to earn under the original contract and what they can only collect under the Supreme Court verdict.

It is also axiomatic that the legislature does not pass laws that cannot be repealed or modified, and consequently, the President cannot prevent the Congress from legislating a new law as warranted by changing circumstances.

The constitutional injunction that “no law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed” and the Civil Code provision that “contracts have the force of law between the contracting parties” are not absolute because contracts must bow to the police power of the State on prescription of “regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety and general welfare of the people.”

Moreover, contracts are only valid if they are “not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy” as provided for in Article 1306 of the Civil Code.

Considering the propensity of the Aquino administration to resort to legal shortcuts and constitutional infractions as many of the President’s Executive Orders have been challenged before the Supreme Court, it would be foolhardy to propagandize that all its contracts should be “kept whole” despite adverse judicial and legislative scrutiny.