Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Spot the difference

ARGUABLY, there will not be any dent of difference even if the extended status quo ante (SQA) on the reproductive health law is lifted by the Supreme Court—not substantially, anyway. 

The SQA was proof enough that there is sanity and reason to the pleadings of the petitioners that the reproductive health law goes against the basic law of the land.  In the same breath, its legislation by both houses of Congress and its hasty signature by MalacaƱang demonstrate enough the brand of politics in this country where, if the “highly reliable” source of the columnist at Manila Standard Today (March 28, 2014) is correct, the Executive Department dangles P25 billion in between the eyes of some members of the Legislative Department just to wreck its independence and have them approve a bill that is so divisive and unpopular but obviously an obsessive favorite by the Palace—or by a superseding foreign intervenor.    

Proponents of the RH Law have been massively campaigning over the media that the delay in the implementation of the health law has been causing the rise in maternal deaths and in HIV-AIDS incidence.  And their allies in business have also been propounding that the inclusive economic growth in this country is being compromised by inoperability of this law and that the staggering growth of Philippine population is the primary culprit in the high incidence of poverty and joblessness.

Of course, these claims are not any closer to the truth.  The rise in maternal deaths and HIV-AIDS incidence, granting the proponents’ statistics are not doctored as was once admitted in one senate hearing, has no bearing with the implementation or otherwise of this law.  For as long as hospitals in this country remain decrepit and health services not easily accessible to greater population—not to mention a health system whose paradigm is not pro-poor and a health department that is mired in corruption and politicking—this law which is preferentially biased on spending billions of pesos annually more for the procurement of condoms and contraceptive pills will not help in alleviating the health problem of this country.

Associating the rising population with poverty has long been debunked as myth.  Yet RH Law advocates still make use of this gambit in easily convincing the hoi polloi that they really have to constrict or else the Philippine will be at the tail-end of Afghanistan.  The situation of China and other highly populated countries in Asia that are very progressive is a loud counter argument.   On the other the demographic winter phenomenon that threatens to wipe out populations from the face of the earth is enough to send a legislature shivering, if  only understood.

So, will the health law make any difference?  Diminishing the incidence of corruption will.

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