Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Canossa schools/colleges in Laguna, Batangas have launched simultaneous signature campaigns vs Reproductive “Health” Bill

SAN PABLO CITY – The Canossa schools and college in Laguna and Batangas provinces have launched a simultaneous signature campaigns on Monday as they celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows to oppose the passage into law of the controversial Reproductive “Health” Bill now pending in Congress which according to organizers is a subtle attack on the dignity of human life and the family.

    Sr. Jovy Benavidez, Assistant Directress of the Canossa College of San Pablo City, shortly after the Concelebrated Mass held at the San Pablo Cathedral on September 15 at about 8:00 am, spoke over the microphone to announce the launching of the Signature Campaign against the bill which she said is “mapaglinlang” (subtle) and disastrous to life and family.

Sr. Joy Densing, a top official of the Canossian Daughters of Charity (FDCC) told the Inquirer that similar campaigns also took place in other Canossian Schools in Laguna namely in Canossa Academy of Calamba City and Canossa School of Sta. Rosa City. The same signature campaign was also conducted at Canossa Academy in Lipa City, Batangas.  

The San Pablo Cathedral Holy Eucharist presided by Parish Priest Msgr. Melchor Barcenas with two priest concelebrants was the grand highlight Fiesta Mass (Our Lady of Sorrows) to culminate the 7-day Settenario Masses held earlier in the chapel of the Canossa College which reflected on the seven sources of sorrows of the Blessed Mother.

The Mass was attended by about 3,000 students, faculty, nuns, pastoral communities and San Pableno folks which jampacked the huge cathedral church.

  Fr. Gregory D. Gaston, Doctor of Sacred Theology and a former Official of the Pontifical Council for the Family in the Vatican told about 120 members of the Laguna Clergy recently that the Reproductive “Health” Bill after scrutiny revealed that it was not thoroughly being studied well by its Congressmen proponents hence passing this bill into law is very disastrous.

He said many of the facts being brought about by the proponents of the bill were either false or inaccurate.

Some salient data are as follows: The Bill says “Overpopulation is a scientific fact.” But the reality according to Gaston, is “not overpopulation, butpopulation ageing and under-population as seen in the following sample articles: “Underpopulation, Not Overpopulation, the Real Global Problem”, in Washington Post, March 18, 2001; “Developed Nations Warned on Aging Crisis Time Bomb”, Manila Bulletin, Aug. 30, 2001; “In address to Estonians, President (Arnold Ruutel) Calls on Citizens to Make More Babies”, in New York Times, January 2, 2003.

The Bill says, “we should aim for a Zero Population Growth Rate” but Gaston explained that aiming for a “Zero Population Growth Rate will make the Filipino race at first extremely old, and then rare, and finally extinct (endangered)”. 

The Bill claims that “The Catholic Church is not concerned with the plight of the poor in the country.” But the priest retorted that “The Catholic Church dedicates a huge part of its efforts at the service of the poor, helping the government: education, microlending, orphanages, feeding programs, social action projects, Pondo ng Pinoy, Caritas, etc….Whenever the Church talks against graft and corruption, she does so also out of concern for the poor….Each time poverty is blamed on the ‘population problem, its real and root causes are conveniently tolerated or covered up: graft and corruption in the public and private sectors, burden of foreign debt servicing, and bad governance, resulting in failed development programs” (A Manifesto of Filipino Families on July 25, 2008).

The Bill suggests that “Condoms are effective in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in a country.” But true facts, said Gaston, revealed that for example “In Thailand and in the Philippines, the first HIV/AIDS cases were reported in 1984; by 1987, Thailand had 112 cases, while the Philippines had more, with 135 cases. Today, in the year 2003, there are around 750,000 cases in Thailand, where the 100% Condom Use Program had relatively great success. On the other hand, there are only 1,935cases in the Philippines- and this, considering that the Philippines’ population is around 30% greater than Thailand’s!” This is owing to the “relatively low rates of Condom use” by the Filipinos in general and “strong opposition from the Church” and some government leaders.