ON November 15, 2012 the Summit on Family Planning in the Business Sector was held at the Philippine International Convention Center. It was organized by the British government together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund and a bevy of multinational pharmaceutical firms. According to reports, this was meant to exert pressure on Malacañang, which, by the way, does not need any more pressuring, and Congress to legislate now the most controversial and divisive Reproductive Health Bill.
During this expensive gathering, local big business groups, the likes of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Employment Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop), Makati Business Club (MBC), Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), signed a “manifesto of support” for the RH Bill.
The veil that comfortably, albeit deceptively, shrouded a pro-poor, pro-Filipino and pro-woman campaign which the RH Bill was packaged and projected to be, suddenly disappeared. This summit has definitely, though perhaps unconsciously, unmasked the true nature and purpose the RH Bill supporters, movers and bankrollers.
Militant groups the likes of Akbayan, Gabriela, Diwa, Bayan Muna and TUCP who during street-marches days detested like a disease anything foreign or imperialist—and anything “burgis”—have sadly become co-accessories in the subtle deception that the RH Bill is, to repeat the cliché, pro-poor, pro-woman and pro-Filipino. The ideological inconsistency of these left-leaning groups who have now become lackeys of multinational capitalists and moneyed eugenicists has lent a negative credence to their RH Bill cause—and perhaps to their other political agenda.
At the other end of the ideological spectrum, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) believes otherwise. Elmer Labog, KMU chair, insists: “Big capitalists’ support for the RH Bill stems from their anti-poor sentiments and greed for profits. They have never shown genuine concern for the plight of the poor or for women’s reproductive rights…They want to project themselves as pro-poor but they have consistently rejected calls for a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide, for the junking of contractual employment, and for respect for workers’ rights. They have been demolishing urban poor communities so they can build their businesses… They want to project themselves as pro-women, but they have through the years refused to give maternity benefits to women contractual workers. In many special economic zones in the country, women contractuals who get pregnant are automatically booted out from work.”
Foreign lobby and money have been falsely indoctrinating public opinion about the RH Bill. This Summit has helped clear the deception that this bill is after all not what it is projected to be. It has cleared, too, the suspicion why suddenly the wealthy is interested in “helping” the poor.
And, by the way, RH lapdogs that have been attacking a Senator for plagiarism should reread the text of the Reproductive Health Bill and discover that various texts and contexts of this bill have been copied verbatim from these foreign documents: The 1981 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD); and the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.