Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

Why do we need to protect children’s rights?  Find the answer by reading this collection of quotes from people who have shown exemplary efforts to protect them.

1. It is an act of compassion that each of us must practice as citizens of this world.

“Great persons are able to do great kindnesses.” -Miguel de Cervantes

“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.” -George Bernard Shaw

In my life time, I learned that  indifference- the opposite of compassion and empathy- is one of the reasons in making this world poor, lonely and unsafe to live. The lack of compassion to others causes suffering or even death to some.

We hear news of children who become victims of abuses like ending up as sex slaves, or being raped or even being murdered. These happen because of people’s indifference. Adults, whom children are expecting to protect them, do not perform their responsibilities. Sad truth is, these people whom they trust and respect are mostly the same who fail children’s expectations and are causing their mishap.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion…” -The Apostle Paul (Col 3:12)

The Word is clear: we must clothe ourselves with compassion. It is indeed, greatness too to practice kindness especially to the little ones, the helpless and the vulnerable.

We should also remember that no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted (Aesop) since this always makes a difference- it blesses both the  receiver and the giver (Barbara de Angelis). Compassion does not only brings comfort to the receiver but also happiness to the giver. Quoting the Dalai Lama, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

What peaceful and happy world this could be if everyone is compassionate especially to children!

2. No one else will protect the children except the adults whom they depend on.

 “We’ve got to work to save our children and do it with full respect for the fact that if we don’t no one else is going to do it.”  -Dorothy Height

“I speak for those children who cannot speak for themselves, children who have absolutely nothing but their courage and their smiles, their wits and their dreams.” -Audrey Hepburn

Children whose brain is like a sponge, ready to soak up everything it touches, remember everything- the good and the bad ones that they experience in life. For these very reason, adults must be extra careful in teaching them or setting as an examples since young people see their parents, family, friends, teachers and sports or activity coaches as largely positive influences in their lives. What adults say or do to children leaves remarkable impact on how they will eventually turn as adolescents in  the long run: a child abused today can become social deviant tomorrow, or the child well taught today can become a great leader in the future.

3. This world we borrow from our children. Therefore, it is our moral obligation to make this earth a peaceful, healthy and safe place for them to live.

“We are the ancestors of our grandchildren. We look after them, just as our ancestors look after us. We aren’t here for ourselves. We are here for each other and  for the children of our grandchildren.” -Roy Sesana

We must recognize that children have vital role in nation-building; that we should promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, psychological and social well-being (Philippine Constitution, Article II, Section 13); that we should guarantee the fundamental rights of every child from all forms of neglect, cruelty and other conditions  prejudicial to their developments (RA No. 9775, Section 2A).

4. Just like women, men, senior citizens, physically challenged, and indigenous culture, a child has rights, too.

“A child, like all other human beings, has inalienable rights.” -Lucrecia Mott

If we recognize that just like other human beings, children have inalienable rights too, it would be easier for adults to respect each child. That respect would somehow lead to hearing their voices  and taking action after hearing them. This is important especially in issues and concerns of the young generation. It is vital that their opinion matters. It is equally necessary that we support and extend help during their dire needs.

5. As adults of this generation, we must set good examples to children so that they may grow their faith in humanity and become great examples, too later.

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6

 “Our generation has inherited an incredibly beautiful world from our parents and they from their parents.                            It is in our hands whether our children and their children inherit the same world.” -Richard Branson 

“Help us show children around the world that we can make a difference together.” -Bradley Whitford

In this real world, there are no super heroes to protect the abused children; only parents, teachers, friends and other support groups. When fear is prevalent, we only have each other to comfort; when there is slavery and abuses, again, we only have the rest of us to fight against these.

Why is it important that adults set good examples to children? So that they become the best persons they can be when they grow old. And why it is important that children  should grow their faith in humanity? Because if they don’t that will be the end of a better start for a brighter future.

6. If we speak in behalf of our children, we represent the same issues of humanity.

“…in serving the best interests of the children, we serve the best interest of all humanity.” -Carol Bellany

Have you heard the story of Ellah Joy Pique, a 6 year old victim in Cebu, who was kidnapped and later murdered? Police considers the angle of pedophilia and child pornography for her death. Her body was wrapped in white cloth, tied with wires and thrown in a cliff back in 2011. Many grief, showed support and up to now, are seeking justice for her death. Her story made her issue their issue, too. Now, many had been fighting to stop this cruelty from ever happening again not only to other children but to general public as well.

 7. If we keep blind to abuses, keep silent to suffering and keep indifferent to death  of morality, we are the same as the greedy, murderers and evil doers because we encourage them, not stop them from their  works.

“If we don’t stand up for children then we don’t stand for much”. -Marian Wright Edelman

“When the lives and the rights of children are at stake, there  must be no silent witnesses.” -Carol Bellamy

A meaningful quote from Elie Wiesel elaborating why indifference is an epitome of evil: The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death. 

This means that if we fail to care, we succeed the evil works. When we fail to expose the abusers because we don’t care for the victims,  then we are one of the accomplices. In the environment where hostility resides, we should take sides since at all times, neutrality benefits the oppressor and not the victims (Elie Wiesel).

 8. The way we treat our children reflects our moral system. 

“It was once said that the moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of their life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” -Hubert Humphey

“Children reflects the quality of life… when our children are happy, then we are better as human beings.”                                   -Whoopi Goldberg

A beautiful quote also from Mahatma Gandhi which states that a nation’s greatness is tested by how it treats its weakest members, like the children, the elderly, the sick, the needy and the handicapped. So true especially for democratic society where the people’s voices should be heard since they are the ones who choose their  leaders through their votes. Although, children may not yet cast their numbers during election, it is equally important that their general welfare are taken care of.

9. Children are our future.

“There can be no global security without respect for children. We have to be more than just observers of children’s suffering; we have to be partners with them in their struggles.” -Landon Pearson

If we want to leave a better place for our children and grandchildren, we must teach and show today’s children concern: we must uphold their self- esteem, teach them right values of life, protect their general rights and provide them the same responsibility to make the world a beautiful, peaceful, healthy, and safe place to inhabit, one generation at a time.

10. As people who believe in Jesus Christ, we cannot be like Him if we don’t show compassion to others especially to children.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me, to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea”. -Jesus warns. Found in Matthew 18: 2-6

We must protect the rights of children not only because it is our moral obligation to do so as cosmopolitans but also as a children of the Divine creator. We must be compassionate, just as our Father is compassionate to us (Luke 6:36).

Sources:

http://www.topbibleverses.com

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/cebudailynews/news/view/20110401-328729/Police-seek-hold-departure-order-against-Cebuana-and–British-boyfriend

http://gervacio.wordpress.com/tag/crime/

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Elie_Wiesel

http://www.betterworld.net/quotes/children-quotes-4.htm

http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/kindnessquotes.htm

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/indifference_2.html

http://www.chanrobles.com/philsupremelaw1.htm

Author’s Note:

This article is part of the author’s speech in an Anti- Child Pornography Forum on March 11, 2012 at Brgy. San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City, Philippines.

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How many careers, relationships and future job opportunities have been destroyed by office politics? Numbers are in question but the sad news is, this is present in every company whether small, medium or large enterprises, government or privately owned. We do not want to be a victim of politicking, so below are some tips on how to handle the situation that is inevitable such as this:

1.      Choose appropriately.

In everything, we must remember that we have a choice- the right words to say, right actions to push through, right message we want to deliver, right impressions we want to leave with the people around us and right timing, are decisions we usually have to make. So before we decide on anything, choose appropriately and always think the consequences.

2.      Avoid self-fulfilling prophesy.

This is a theory saying any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events or people that may affect a person’s behaviour toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled. An employer who, for example expects the employees to be disloyal will likely to treat them in a way that will elicit the very response he or she expects (Source: http://www.businessdictionary.com).

If a superior thinks that a person is incompetent and told him about it, possibility is, he will think that the statement is true because his boss said so. Sad to say, this negative vibe is mostly present in office politics. We usually “gossip” about the weaknesses of other person we are not in good terms with. This practice must be stopped. Judging other people in a very limited scale is often scary and detrimental. We do not want to climb up the ladder of success having people stepped down, do we? Or do we want to be judged also by some other persons? To stop politicking is to stop finding faults of others and comparing ourselves to them. Most important, stopping the negative expectations in people within the four corners of the room.

3.      Be sincere in relationship-building efforts.

Not just because we want to establish our own “circle of friends” does not mean we have to compromise sincerity in relationship-building efforts. Yes, we may choose our chums and comrades but that is not an excuse to us meeting and befriending other individuals. Creating our own allied in the office does not mean we have to grumble people dissimilar with us. They say, office politics is a number’s game: the more connections, the better. Stop this mind set. Remember, we are in the office to do our job, so perform. Make friends instead of foes. Show sincerity in dealing with people.

4.      Stay positive.

Accept that flak is a normal part of life since we cannot please everybody. Never waste your time worrying over issues such as what other people are thinking or saying or doing against you. Relax. Let go all of the opposing views and don’t mind them if you think you are not in a defensive side. Breathe. Live your life as if no one really cares but be mindful that you stay on the right track.

5.      Take a stand.

Others advise to stay neutral when left to decide which side they have to choose. This is unhealthy; prefer taking stand, instead since we cannot serve two masters at one time. Life is two sided: it is white or black, left or right, good or evil. But choosing our side does not mean we have to always tell it in public. We can keep it a secret especially if we feel it is safer or it will resolve a conflict. Important is, we took a stand. To act is another issue.

6.      In case of conflict, remember the “good-nature” of people.

People may say or do bad things to us; that is something out of our control. The saying from Gandhi that says, “hate the sin, love the sinner”, seems difficult to do. In situations when we have to fight back, cursing and hitting below the belt are sometimes the best strategies to use. But again, avoid these things as possible. In case of conflict, we must remember the “good-nature” of people despite their flaws. If it appears that relationships will be seriously and permanently marred; re-evaluate and re-think. We don’t want to lose people about something that are usually irrelevant.

7.      Don’t forget your ethics.

Respect is the key word. We can be assertive but courteous and professional. When heat rise up, don’t add up coal and increase the flame. We may distance ourselves by going out of the room or not talking to the person at the moment we are very angry. Again, this is hard to do but practice helps. Remember, we spent years in mastering our courses so never allow a few show of disrespect to ruin everything we invested our time and effort in the past.

8.      Forgive and move on.

Humans err so we must forgive. But forgiving does not mean we have to forget. We should not forget because we need to learn from the experience. Only in this way we will prevent the mistake from re-occurring. Move on and let go of the hurts. Let the dead bury its own dead. Stop worrying over the things we can’t control. Life must continue, anyway.

 

Workplace politics is a fact of life but playing the game does not have to be dirty. Promote our talents, grow our personalities, and reach our goals but never at the expense of others. Remember the golden rule: Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.

We learned from Mahatma Gandhi the lesson that violence is not the pre requisite to win in every battle, aside from this, below are other words of wisdom and source of inspiration to all aspiring leaders.

1. Humility is the character of the great

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

 “I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

Humility is best expressed in actions: to accept that you err and to learn from it; to get advice from mentors who know the job better; to realise your weaknesses and to derive from it strengths, instead; and to know your limitations but to maximise opportunities, as well.

To be humble is not only a wise thing to do but also a great act that will never go out of fashion. Observe successful people and you will realise that as they go up the ladder of success, the more they stay their feet on the ground.

2. Action is stronger than words

 “Action expresses priorities.”

 “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

 “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.”

Many times we heard that actions speak louder than words; and Gandhi proved it right.

A man cannot adduce anything unless he shows results, and this output can be done through actions only: people with integrity do not engage in nefarious activities; a virtuoso cannot dish out unfinished tasks.

To say that you believe in something but does the opposites of each teaching would mean disbelief. Action proves better than the words you utter.  

 3. Constant change is achieved through constant learning

 “Constant development is the law of life; and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

 “A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks he becomes.”

 “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

 “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

 “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world- that is the myth of the atomic age-as in being able to remake ourselves.”

 “Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.”

They say, the only constant thing in this world is change. As professionals who aspire success in the future, we should pursue for this. But it should be positive change and not the other way around. To grow and to learn is part of progress. Every one must change from time to time- that means to be creative, innovative and pursue excellence always. Constantly learning in everything that we experience is a courageous step to improve.

4. Change starts from within

 “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

 “My life is my message.”

 “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

A person who wishes to see change in his surrounding must start within himself. Discipline.  Right attitude. Good habits. These are essentials in constantly developing into a person who may also serve as catalyst of change for humanity. Change to become the best you can be and start to see a change in this world.

 5. Leadership without people is not leadership

 “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”

I learn that leadership is not only for community organisers, team sports enthusiasts, politicians and businessmen but also in anything that we do that involves getting along with people. You can be a leader in doing a specific project in a given time (e.g. handle men and women during bible study, etc.) or have a specific goal just like with other people around (e.g. stop demolition and uphold human rights).

Leadership involves individuals who are willing to follow instructions from a leader. Without these people, who like the leader, aim for a specific vision, there can be no leadership at all.

So to be called a leader, the first thing to do is to find a group of living souls who will recognise you as one. The last thing is to stay the same person they look up to.

6. Saying “No” is as important as saying “Yes”

 A “No” uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a “Yes” merely uttered to please, or worse to avoid trouble.”

A good leader knows when to say “No”. Although, the work of a leader involves pleasing people most of the time, saying “No” for a valid reason, in a proper timing and with conviction is better than saying “Yes” half-heartedly.

 7. Persistence is as essential as other positive qualities

 “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”

 Achieving a goal requires persistence. We cannot reach a specific target at one hit so it is better to try again and again until we are satisfied with the result. Persistence is a good quality one possesses because it involves hard work, patience and learning from mistakes; these are all essentials in building success.

8. Believe in the good nature of people

 “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean, if a few drops of the ocean are dirty not everything in it is dirty.”

As a leader, we may encounter diverse group of individuals with a lot of differences. But it is OK. My professor once told us that diversity is healthy for check and balance. The challenge comes in the way handling them.

Sometimes, we may be frustrated when other people are quite difficult to manage. Again, it is OK. If we believe that humanity is formed by good natured people and generally, difficult people are also human beings, we will be inspired to handle them with ease. As a leader, learning each time on how to get along with various people despite differences is a good practice in becoming more effective.

9. Leadership does not mean seriousness and busy-ness compromising laughter and fun working with people around

 “If I had no sense of humour, I would long ago have committed suicide.”

Serious-at-work does not mean suppressing laughter and fun. Sometimes, when we get too serious, people fail to get our message as well as our objective. If we keep on sticking to rules all the time compromising better relationship with people will exhaust positive energy at work. Mostly, people wants to be inspired based on enthusiasm than fear; to be coached than to be drove; to look up to someone who helps to fix the breakdown than to fix the blame for the breakdown; and to have a leader that says “Let’s go!” instead of “Go!”.

A good leader makes his people love to reach their goals by having laughter and fun at work from time to time. Of course, that does not mean forgetting the excellence standards and business ethics the company already have. It only adds up some sugar to spice in the office settings.

 10. Unity makes history

 “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the cause of history.”

If a leader and his followers pursue the same goal, with the same enthusiasm, same positive attitude, same strategy and same expectations, absolutely, they will make history.

 A leader to unify his team mates must coach them, must not depend on authority but on goodwill, instead; and must show how things are done than just to know how things work. It is equally important that a team works as one and allow them to grow as separate individuals in pursuing a common goal.

Today, May 16, 2011, six days before the public debate about Reproductive Health (RH) Bill will be set on national television. This controversial bill has divided the nation- those who were pro and anti have already presented their sides: Iglesia Ni Cristo has come out with its decision  in support of the RH  Bill. Government officials (e.g. Duterte), celebrities (e.g. Dingdong Dantes and Lea Salonga), academic professors (e.g. UP and Ateneo), ex- Cabinet members, and P-Noy, himself, was also in favour of the said bill. While the Catholic Church and other Christian sectors stood firm against it.

Upon reading blogs, news and other sources of information about RH bill, I have come out a position paper- to go against it. I have realised that this has many loopholes and lawmakers must be very careful in pursuing for its passage. That any supporter must also look the other side of the coin and think the many possibilities that will happen if this bill will become a law.

But before I make hasty generalisation about my arguments for ten reasons why this should be killed; let us first take a glimpse of the RH bill- its history and contents.

The bill entitled AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A COMPREHENSIVE POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, AND POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES is a consolidation bill of House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, Iloilo Representative Janette Garin, Muntinlupa City Representative Rodolfo Biazon, Iloilo Representative Augusto Syjuco Jr., Akbayan Party list Representatives Arlene Bag-o and Walden Bello, and Gabriela Party list Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana De Jesus.

And to read the full content of the law, please click here:

http://filipinosforlife.com/2011/03/10/15th-congress-house-bill-4244-full-text-final-consolidated-rh-bill-hb-4244/

After reading and analysing every sections of this bill, then I come out with my personal stand about this issue. Below are my arguments:

 1.    It violates our Constitutional rights;

  1.1.  If we read Section 28 (e) of this bill, that says, “Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act” as included as a prohibited act, it shows clear violation of our FREEDOM OF SPEECH (Bill of Rights, Article III, Section 4 of 1987 Constitution). Isn’t harsh to have any one who will express objections to this bill be subjected to penalties? Silencing its critics is a violation of our Constitution. We are in a democratic country with already the existence of laws against libel and defamation, so why need for the provision of this kind of bill?

 1.2.  Section 21 that states below, forces employers to provide the reproductive health care services to their employees. This is again a violation of the Constitution since employers have not given any choice whether the distribution of these contraceptives may be against their conscience or religion.  

SEC. 21. Employers’ Responsibilities. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall ensure that employers respect the reproductive rights of workers. Consistent with the intent of Article 134 of the Labor Code, employers with more than 200 employees shall provide reproductive health services to ALL employees in their own respective health facilities. Those with less than 200 workers shall enter into partnerships with hospitals, health facilities, and/or health professionals in their areas for the delivery of reproductive health services.

Employers shall furnish in writing the following information to all employees and applicants:

(a) The medical and health benefits which workers are entitled to, including maternity and paternity leave benefits and the availability of family planning services;

(b) The reproductive health hazards associated with work, including hazards that may affect their reproductive functions especially pregnant women; and

(c) The availability of health facilities for workers.

Employers are obliged to monitor pregnant working employees among their workforce and ensure that they are provided paid half-day prenatal medical leaves for each month of the pregnancy period that the pregnant employee is employed in their company or organization. These paid pre-natal medical leaves shall be reimbursable from the Social Security System (SSS) or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), as the case may be.

1.3.  Section 28 that states below, eliminates any choice for conscientious objectors and makes no room for their legitimate concerns. This means, doctors and health workers are forced to dispense contraceptives and other contraceptive devices and methods; if they refuse, they must refer another person who will dispense such things. If people will not cooperate as what is stated in the given provisions, they will be imprisoned for one to six months and will pay for a fine amounting to P10,000.00 to P50,000.00!

SEC. 28. Prohibited Acts. The following acts are prohibited:

(a) Any healthcare service provider, whether public or private, who shall:

(1) Knowingly withhold information or restrict the dissemination thereof, and/or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health, including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods;

(2) Refuse to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of third party consent or authorization. In case of married persons, the mutual consent of the spouses shall be preferred. However in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail. In the case of abused minors where parents and/or other family members are the respondent, accused or convicted perpetrators as certified by the proper prosecutorial office or court, no prior parental consent shall be necessary; and

(3) Refuse to extend health care services and information on account of the person’s marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, or nature of work; Provided, That, the conscientious objection of a healthcare service provider based on his/her ethical or religious beliefs shall be respected; however, the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another healthcare service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible who is willing to provide the requisite information and services; Provided, further, That the person is not in an emergency condition or serious case as defined in RA 8344 penalizing the refusal of hospitals and medical clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency and serious cases.

(b) Any public official who, personally or through a subordinate, prohibits or restricts the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning; or forces, coerces or induces any person to use such services.

(c) Any employer or his representative who shall require an employee or applicant, as a condition for employment or continued employment, to undergo sterilization or use or not use any family planning method; neither shall pregnancy be a ground for non-hiring or termination of employment.

(d) Any person who shall falsify a certificate of compliance as required in Section 15 of this Act; and

(e) Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.

SEC. 29. Penalties. Any violation of this Act or commission of the foregoing prohibited acts shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine of Ten Thousand (P 10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P 50,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the competent court; Provided That, if the offender is a public official or employee, he or she shall suffer the accessory penalty of dismissal from the government service and forfeiture of retirement benefits. If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president or any responsible officer. An offender who is an alien shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration.

If the employer will not provide condoms to their employees because they politically (and religiously) believe that this act is a responsibility of the government; or the doctors and health providers themselves, will we punish them of imprisonment and fine? If so, both of the above sections are in clear violation of Article III, Section 18 (1) of our Constitution that says, “No person shall be detained solely by reason of his political beliefs and aspirations.”

1.4. The distribution of contraceptives violates Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution that says,

“Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”

Our fundamental law recognizes that human life must be protected from the moment of conception, therefore, contraceptives that causes early chemical abortion is clearly unconstitutional.

2.    The Law of Void for Vagueness Doctrine applies;

If we search for this doctrine, we will find that it is about a law principle that says a given statute is void and unenforceable if it is too vague for the average citizen to understand (e.g. cannot generally determine what are regulated, what conduct is prohibited, or what punishment may be imposed.)

Going back to the sections of this law particularly Section 20 that states below,

SEC. 20. Ideal Family Size. The State shall assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development and encourage them to have two children as the ideal family size. Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory. No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children.

It poses many questions that will linger on the minds of an average citizen making the bill, itself, vague. How will the State assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development?

There are many ambiguous terms present in this section like desired family size, responsible parenthood and sustainable development- these are all subjective terms. What if my desired family size is 12? Was it sustainable? Am I a responsible parent for having 12 children? And how did this bill come out with two children as an ideal family size? Why 2 not 1 or 3 or 4? What if the parents want more children?

And Section 21 that states below,

SEC. 21. Employers’ Responsibilities. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall ensure that employers respect the reproductive rights of workers. Consistent with the intent of Article 134 of the Labor Code, employers with more than 200 employees shall provide reproductive health services to all employees in their own respective health facilities. Those with less than 200 workers shall enter into partnerships with hospitals, health facilities, and/or health professionals in their areas for the delivery of reproductive health services.

Employers shall furnish in writing the following information to all employees and applicants:

(a) The medical and health benefits which workers are entitled to, including maternity and paternity leave benefits and the availability of family planning services;

(b) The reproductive health hazards associated with work, including hazards that may affect their reproductive functions especially pregnant women; and

(c) The availability of health facilities for workers.

Employers are obliged to monitor pregnant working employees among their workforce and ensure that they are provided paid half-day prenatal medical leaves for each month of the pregnancy period that the pregnant employee is employed in their company or organization. These paid pre-natal medical leaves shall be reimbursable from the Social Security System (SSS) or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), as the case may be.

Section 21 obliges employers to provide for the medical and health benefits of the workers. What if the employer cannot provide for the expenses of the employees, will they be penalised? In this bill, yes, they will. How about the carinderia owners and other unorganised establishments? Yes, they will also. Because employers with less than 200 employees shall provide for the same health services to their workforce.

Application of the Doctrine: This doctrine protects the individuals’ right to due process and whenever violators were apprehended, they will not be punished because the law is vague in the first place. Hence, making it useless at all. Implementing RH Bill in the future will be a chaos. 

 3.  RH bill is amoral

There is a difference between the terms amoral and immoral. “Amoral” means the inability to know the difference between right and wrong while immoral goes against the tenets of the society. Below are some reasons why this is amoral.

 3.1. It makes the purpose of sex vague.

Why people have sex? Pleasure? Medium to express love? To make children? People have different opinions regarding this question. And I respect that. For me, RH bill is amoral because it makes people confuse which act is good or bad. I just remember my conversation with our janitor- Ka Oca during one of our lunch breaks. I asked him,

 “Sir, Oca. If I were to give you condom, will you use it?”

 Sir Oca’s answer was,

 “It depends. If I will have to make sex with other women, of course I will use condom. But if I have to make love with my wife, I will not.”

 I asked him again why he will not use it to his wife. And his answer was,

 “Because I am confident that my wife is clean.”

You see. My point is, giving out free condoms creates amorality. Because people learns to like what they think is good for them and to dislike what is they think bad for them. Is this the choice we want? How can we be free to do something that is wrong from the beginning?

I just do not understand it: people promotes condom so that they may not get STDs. But how come Sir Oca thought that he will be using condom to other women but not to his wife? Was using condom makes men 100% safe from STDs or women from getting pregnant? I think, this bill further promotes adultery, concubinage, dishonesty and disloyalty. By giving out condom, we are opening ideas for our men to use it- not to their wives but for other women.

And another point, I asked Sir Oca,

 “Aside from you are sure your wife is clean, why you would not use condom during your make love?”

 And his answer was simple.

 “Hassle. Condom is rubber. It lessens pleasure.”

You see. We are so altruistic about giving out free condoms. We are so concerned about over population. About people getting STDs. But, are we really sure if these condoms will be used every time they make sex? Because we are so generous, how many times will we provide our men these free condoms? Once a week? Twice a week? Three times a day?

I remember this joke during one of our class lectures.

Community organizers (CO) gave free condoms to this rural area. The organizers were so concern about deforestation and over population; because people were poor and have no other source of income ,they tend to cut trees just to sustain their living. So, to save the trees, flora and fauna of the place, they have given out free seminars about family planning.

After some time, COs got the result, their study showed that women were still getting pregnant! Worried and somehow frustrated, one of the COs asked one of the men:

“Did you not learn anything from us?”

The man said, “About what? About using condom? I thought this condom should be placed on my finger while having sex with my wife!”

You see. It’s just the same as in teaching sex education to our children especially during their crucial years of growing up. Instead of letting teachers discuss about the birds and the bees openly with their other classmates, why not parents do so? Isn’t children will learn better with 1:1 ratio than 1:50 (teacher:students)?

Also, RH bill promotes amorality because it confuses children from right and wrong. Are we going to teach them that it is OK to have sex but be sure to wear condom? If I will be a parent some day, of course, I will not allow my children to learn about sex at their very young age! Why grade 5? Why not high school?

Also, by doing so, it destroys the essence or purpose of sex. Before, I remember my mom told me that it is improper for men to touch any part of my body not until he becomes my husband. But now, we are going to teach them that these things are normal, proper and usual thing to do as long as we care or love the other person? Or just feel the want to do it just to satisfy one’s desire? Sigh.

3.2. It pushes reproductive health to become “right” but to whose rights’ expense? The big question here is- who is going to pay the price? We protect the rights of the poor but we are compromising the rights of the health and medical sectors as well as the employers.

I have few more questions:

Is it right to protect the rights of the poor?

But, is it right to increase our taxes so that we may provide these poor their reproductive health rights?

Is it right to compel our employers to pay for our FREE healthcare services?

But, is it also right to imprison them and fine them for not able to comply with the law because their fund is insufficient?

Is it right to protect women’s reproductive health rights by giving them more choices of family planning methods?

But, is it also right if most of the companies will hire fewer women in their industry because they cannot comply with the law?

 3.3. It confuses people whether contraceptives are abortifacients or not.  Whether using them prevents or encourages abortion. Whether these are medicines or causing diseases. In short, it confuses people whether the act of using contraceptives is right or wrong.

This time I am asking you a favor- to use the internet’s search engine and find yourself the effects of using contraceptives.

I have done my research and found out that others who are using IUDs have become prone to yeast infection, lost sex drive, experience lower back pain, had heavier menstrual flow, acne break out, migraine, cramps, depression, mood swings, etc.

The Church is against RH bill not ONLY because it is concerned in protecting women’s rights but also in preventing the future negative effects of these contraceptives on them if these were not strictly controlled and monitored. The Church believes that contraceptives may cause, inflict or encourage abortion. It is normal for them to react on this issue because it is their duty to check and balance or to weigh things on matters that will affect the lives of the people especially affecting their moral values. On my opinion, I am glad that the Church is challenging this bill, because through this we are able to see different sides of the story; and eventually, we will learn, improve and produce better laws in the future.

I would like to quote former Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz who warned about passing this Reproductive Health Bill into law. He said in an interview,

“What is the Church doing? The Church is trying to maintain the values system of the Filipino people. With the values system gone, look at what is happening to us? Let us be responsible and not to do shortcut because it does not bring good results.”

 4. It claims as a panacea to issues like over population and poverty. Well, in fact, it gives promises and false hopes. RH bill will not solve these problems. And over population is not the SOLE cause of poverty but only ONE of its FEW causes that needs to be addressed ALSO;

Who am I to say that this bill is not the panacea to over population and poverty? I am just an ordinary citizen of this country, without any legislative or executive power to implement what is best for my people. But I spare you few more minutes of your time to further read my arguments based on LOGIC, EXPERIENCE and WISDOM I acquired from reading, hearing people’s opinions and basically knowledge I learned from the university- including law school.

I do volunteer works and I am actively serving the urban poor communities (where I also belong) by giving my time for them. For the past few years of organising people, I learned that poverty has many causes : 1. Macroeconomic issues 2. Unemployment issues 3. Unchecked population growth 4. Problems in the agriculture and forestry sector 5. Governance concerns 6. Armed conflict and 7. Disability.

To further discuss these seven direct causes of poverty kindly read on:

4.1. Macroeconomic issues

I am not an economist but I have subject about this and I learned that economic growth is important in determining or alleviating poverty; that poverty decreases when the growth rate of average family income is higher than the inflation rate. Our economy has not been high enough because of some mismanagement and other external shocks we experience (like El Nino, frequent typhoon visits, lack of investor confidence, etc). Also, it is because we are faced with fiscal deficit, public sector debt, poor investment climate since the Asian financial crisis, and gradual loss of international competitiveness.

4.2. Unemployment issues

I talk with people who were farmers and laborers and for them who have children, they see labor as an important asset of the poor. Like my uncle, who works in the rice field, his children were his assistants in managing their source of income.

By experience and dealing with people from different walks of life, I learned that unemployment and underemployment determines poverty. For this country to alleviate poverty, jobs must be accessible! And must provide adequate income for every worker! We cannot say that people who have more children are poorer because for them, their children are the ones who will give them source of income. The question here should be: what kind of job we will be employed and how much we will earn?

A study conducted by ADB in the Philippines have shown that the basic problem of the poor is not so much lack of employment as the low incomes derived from employment. This has to do with both low wage rates and the phenomenon of underemployment (Source: Chapter 6: Causes of Poverty in thePhilippines, page 93).

4.3. Unchecked population growth  

You see, I recognise that population is also one of the causes of poverty. But I would like to quote ADB’s study about this issue:

“The population (of the Philippines) is projected to reach 111 million by 2015. Population growth in and of itself is NOT a PROBLEM  IF resources are available to COPE with the additional people requiring public services, employment, housing, and so on. But in a country where the budget is already stretched and where poverty is HIGH to BEGIN with, population growth BECOMES a MAJOR issue.” (Check this link:

http://www.adb.org/Documents/Books/Poverty-in-the-Philippines/chap6.pdf)

4.4. Problems in the agriculture and forestry sector

We know that thePhilippinesis an agricultural sector but again the irony is: the farmers who produce our food were the poorest. In this country, the agriculture and forestry sector are overlooked. The promises of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and the land reform agendas that have been adopted by successive administrations, not much has been achieved. The land ownership was still concentrated on the hands of the few elites. There is rampant forest degradation, denudation and ecological imbalance. If the land that is the source of food and our resources are mismanaged, how do we expect this country to become rich?

4.5. Governance concerns

In 1986, we ousted a dictator because we want democracy- freedom to choose what is best for our people. Over the years, there are still senses of disappointments over our leaders in their ability to address the needs of the society especially the poor. Corruption increases poverty because of reduced economic growth; biased tax systems and the use of wealth by people with self interests that lobby government for policies that will encourage greater income and will acquire assets in favour of the rich and well connected. Also, our government has inability to collect sufficient revenues. And lastly, we have weak judiciary that contributes to the weaknesses and inefficiency of our State.

4.6. Armed conflict

We know that conflicts result to deaths, disablement and displacement. There is more likely greater loss of breadwinners; disruption of basic services; destruction of transport system and general collapse of the affected community. Conflict has negative impacts to all forms of capital- financial, social, natural and physical.Mindanaofor example faces major poverty challenge. Armed conflict causes poverty, and vice-versa, poverty also produces conflict.

4.7. Disability

Just like the causal relationship of conflict and poverty, disability and poverty is also bi-directional. Poverty causes disability and disability causes poverty (not all disability is caused by poverty but poor people are most likely to have poor health, poor living conditions, and dangerous working conditions.)

5. No one is restricting our choice for the use of modern natural and artificial methods of family planning. But with the passage of RH Bill, government will have the power to REGULATE the business, medical and education sectors;

If the government through the Philhealth will pay for the reproductive health services of the people especially the poor, and the employers will pay for their workers, then we are giving the government the right to regulate or to control the prices of the RH services.                                          

This bill if ever enacted will pose negative impacts in our individual rights and freedom because the government will have more power to regulate the business, medical and education sectors.

This proposal is worst than Martial Law where it seeks to penalise employers, doctors, health care providers, educators or teachers, government officials and even ordinary person who will fail to comply with the bill and will maliciously engage in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.

6. It is a stupid way of spending tax payers’ money;

Our government will be compelled to levy additional taxes or borrow more money from foreign sources so that it may deliver its promises. It is a stupid way of spending our money to distribute something that we were not sure if these condoms and contraceptives will be used by the poor or the recipient community; or whether these free products will be truly delivered.

Our taxes can go extra miles- we cannot just waste it on something that is unimportant. Giving out condoms and contraceptives as many times I argue is not a solution to the problem of over population and poverty. Again, there are other causes that must take into consideration such as macroeconomic, unemployment, governance, conflict issues, etc.

7. It is prone to corruption;

I have little faith in the ability of our corrupt government officials to IMPLEMENT this bill. I remember Dr. Juan M. Pulhin, my professor from UPLB, during the discussion of poverty in our major class. He said that,

“It is so sad that in this country we have good laws but the problem lies in the implementation.”

I am so worried that despite the promises and claims of the RH Bill to curb national overpopulation, these government officials were incompetent and inefficient in implementing its rules and regulations. I believe that some corrupt officials cannot be trusted- that they will not really deliver the reproductive health services. Instead, they will enjoy huge amount of money for their own good; that the budget, which is allocated for the poor and women will be spent for their own pleasure.

The Department of Health has set aside four hundred million of pesos just to purchase these natural and artificial means of family planning including two million condoms to be distributed next year. Great sums of money, huh?!

There is lobby money behind this. Companies who will win as a bidder to provide for the condoms and contraceptives, without taking into consideration if recipients would eventually use these, will also hit a jackpot!

8. Through RH Bill, instead of teaching every Filipino family about “responsible parenthood”, we are teaching our people, especially the poor, to be dependent to the government (including business and health sectors) who will supply their condoms, contraceptives and other RH services;

What is responsible parenthood? I think, a separate article should be written to further discuss this. But as a gist and in relation to this bill, I believe that it will teach the other way around.

Instead of making couples as responsible in rearing their family, this bill will teach them, particularly the poor,  to be dependent to the government (including business and health sectors) in providing their RH services.

Responsible Parenthood should educate couples how to become prepared in facing challenges of being future parents NOT to spoon-feed them or provide FREE RH services in expense of the tax payers’ money. Poor parents to become responsible must have good jobs to start with- with decent income to sustain the needs of their family members NOT to provide them CONDOMS and CONTRACEPTIVES, which are temporary solutions to the over population problem.

9. The LAW must PROTECT the freedom and NOT REGULATE it; and

It is not the role of the government to redistribute wealth so to help the poor. Social justice can never be achieved if there are some people’s rights that are to be ignored and violated. Remember, the law must protect our freedom but not regulate it. In this case, the rights of the employers, educators, doctors and health workers will be compensated if it will be mandatory for them to provide free RH services and products to the poor. Again, if the carinderia owner cannot provide for the ligation of his employee because of insufficient fund, will he be penalised? If this bill is enacted, yes, he will be liable. If this is the case, this Act will violate the freedom of the employers since the government will regulate the reproductive health rights of the employees instead of protecting it ONLY.

10. RH Bill will cause much higher prices of commodities and health care products in the Philippines because businesses and hospitals will be compelled to offset the reproductive health care expenses that they are going to pay for their workers.

I am against RH bill because this will cause higher prices in the commodities and services by forcing the medical sector and all the employers to provide for free reproductive health care services, supplies and devices to all workers, more particularly women workers (See Section 17 of this bill). If the government will deliver free services to the poor, then to whom they will get the money from? it is from our taxes, of course.

We want to lessen population by giving free condoms and contraceptives (and other reproductive health services) to the poor but to the expense of increasing our taxes and having higher prices of commodities as a result? I think this bill is stupid.

SUMMARY:

                 RH BILL IS EVIL AND STUPID HENCE SHOULD BE KILLED

Yes, we can help the poor all we want. But we cannot be charitable by getting money from other people through taxes and by having the business, health and education sectors under state control in the name of helping the marginalised sector of the society.

If the government is really sincere in helping curbing out poverty, it must work its ways on how to INCREASE THE AVERAGE FAMILY INCOME OF EVERY FILIPINOS, instead, and NOT in WASTING our TAXES to buy CONDOMS and CONTRACEPTIVES! Why the government can’t focus in PROVIDING JOBS for its PEOPLE? INCREASE INVESTORS’ TRUST? AND INCREASE ITS COMPETITIVENESS IN THE WORLD MARKET?

I am a licensed forester and I learned from my professors during my college years about their frustrations on how the government has overlooked the agriculture and forestry sectors in terms of curbing poverty in this country using our available rich and diverse resources.

UNLESS lawmakers will GUARANTEE NO CORRUPTION and it WILL ALLEVIATE POVERTY in a drastic way, will I believe that they were sincere in their intentions to help the poor. For now, forgive me, but I believe this bill is EVIL and STUPID.

I believe that there is a large amount of lobbying money behind this. That this will encourage immorality, abortion, corruption, will legalise stealing money from the tax payers and will violate our constitutional rights- the main reasons why this bill is EVIL!

It is STUPID because 1. It is just a waste of our money (to distribute condoms and contraceptives without assurance that recipients will use these) and 2. It makes us believe that by giving out these for free and also by teaching our Grade 5 students about sex education will solve our country’s problem of over population and poverty.

RH Bill is evil and stupid, the main reason why this should be killed! We have existing good laws that only proper implementation is needed. If we are really concerned about the welfare of the poor (and women), why we don’t provide them DECENT JOBS with GOOD SALARIES? Why not go after big fishes and collect their taxes so that we may have higher revenues? Why not protect our FORESTS (oceans, and others with ecological importance)? Why not manage our lands well, and distribute them properly (not only in the ownership of the few elites) so that we may increase our resources? Why not implement MORAL RECOVERY PROGRAM, instead?

Let us stop war in Mindanao! Let us provide the poor with greater access to basic services! Let us educate our people but not by teaching sex education to our young children!

The poor does not NEED RH BILL! We don’t need this to be well informed! We can maintain the status quo without this!

If RH Bill is killed, we will still have access to every promises lawmakers used in this bill to DECEIVE the people. What do I mean? We can still enjoy the freedom of choice we want: there will still be promotion and protection of gender equality; protection of the elements of the reproductive health care and ensure massive and sustained information drive on responsible parenthood.

How do I say this? Because, today, for example, are malls prevented to build breastfeeding areas in their establishments? If we want to buy condoms and pills over the counters, is there any one or any thing preventing us from doing this? If adolescents would want to know about safe sex, do they have access?

My point is: Without RH Bill, we still have the choice! But with the passage of this bill, it will REGULATE OUR FREEDOM (far from protecting it!) The law will force every employer including doctors and health workers to give condoms and contraceptives!  The law will penalise those who will not comply! They will punish every individual who will engage in disinformation about this bill! Sex education will be included in the academic curriculum of our students at very young age! Our taxes and prices of commodities will increase because they will give free condoms and contraceptives to people without consideration if recipients will use these! RH Bill violates our FREEDOM OF SPEECH and RELIGION. It is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! All of these are reasons why this bill is stupid and evil.

And one more thing, I believe RH Bill is evil because it attacks the weaknesses of the Church instead of focusing in giving answers to the questions that will encourage improvements in our future laws. Satan enjoys seeing his opponent being dragged down; he is like a roaring lion that prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow. Satan uses encouraging words but deep down is a hidden intention- evil intention.

SATAN IS THE FATHER OF ALL LIES

Last night, I am discussing this RH bill with my cousin and my boyfriend. But before I go to sleep, I really was alarmed how people were deceived by its promises. I never felt so compelled about writing something such as this article. I felt that there is this need to oppose the bill- in my own way (which is writing). So, I prayed that God may give me the wisdom and the courage to write about  this issue.

Every time I am confused, depressed, and enthusiastic about something or before I make any important decisions in my life, I do pray and ask for His message. I believe that His message was written in the Bible- that any answer to my prayer is found in its pages.

After I prayed, I flipped over the pages of the Bible and this particular verse in John struck me:

“But you are exactly what your father does.”

“Don’t accuse us of having someone else as our father!” they said. “We just have one father, and he is God.”

“Jesus answered: If God were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and only from him. He sent me. I did not come on my own. Why can’t you understand what I am talking about? Can’t you stand to hear what I am saying? Your father is the devil, and you do exactly what he wants. He has always been a murderer and a liar. There is nothing truthful about him. He speaks on his own, and everything he says is a lie. Not only is he a liar himself, but he is also the father of all lies. Every thing I have told you is true, and you still refuse to have faith in me. Can any of you accuse me of sin? If you cannot, why won’t you have faith in me? After all, I am telling you the truth. Anyone who belongs to God will listen to his message. But you refuse to listen, because you don’t belong to God.”- John 8: 41-47

I would like to quote one of the intelligent bloggers (aka jlocute) I read online. This is in relation to the topic that Satan is a great deceiver and many have led astray because of his use of deceiving and encouraging words.

“We are really at the end of time era. These are all Satan’s works. We should be aware how he works. As he said, ‘I pretend to love men in order to destroy them; serve them in order to ruin them; deceive them and help them in order to pervert them and draw them into these my hellish regions.’”

To continue, jlocute emphasized that,

“People have been persuaded by the devil that they are entitled to have sex when they choose, rejecting any unwanted life that may result. The enemy may tell (us): ‘that God is too demanding and unreasonable. If we distributed more condoms, we would not have disease or the need to abort babies. And that it is God’s fault (if our population booms or poverty prevails) because God’s Church is against the use of condoms’.”

For jlocute,

“Sexual intercourse, by its nature and intent is potentially (a) life giving act. This is God’s version. (But) the enemy’s version is that sex can be closed to give life and used for physical pleasure only. Enemy’s version of sex is selfish, emotionally dangerous and bad for humanity. The enemy offers an answer to this too, and led souls to avoid consequences by offering widespread contraception and abortion. Both men and women are now told that sinful sexual behaviours are allowable and acceptable. God intends that a man and woman enter a blessed union (through marriage) and then share their sexuality with one another. (Using this bill) the devil is mocking God because he depicts God’s purpose. He is laughing because many led astray on this sin.”

Last night I also prayed that He may give me enough time so that I may write article opposing RH Bill just like this; and just this morning, my immediate boss sent me a message that he will be on leave today. God has answered my prayer. He has not just given me few hours to write about this article; He gave me whole day of business work to finish this! Is any one can explain to me how the bible verse and time to write this article incidence were so appropriate? I believe there is really a reason why these coincidences happened.

I have read and heard about the arguments of the Pro RH Bill. Again, forgive me, because I already had decided- I am against it because I believe this violates the law of men and is against the will of God. So to speak.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

 Most of my arguments came from this site. So, please consider visiting this link:  http://fvdb.wordpress.com/ The author has very good insights.

I suggest you also check my references below. Thank you so much for taking time reading this article.

“But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
2 Corinthians 11:14 (NLT)

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.”
– Naguib Mahfouz

 “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”
Mother Teresa

“The biggest obstacle was mixing abortion with overpopulation. These are two things that have nothing to do with each other. ”
Jacques Yves Cousteau

References:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/overpopulation.html#ixzz1MV2rSYdM
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/poverty.html#ixzz1MV2RcX9e

http://worddoodling.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/3000-words-to-pwn-you/

http://fvdb.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/rh-bill/#comment-9744

http://aristogeek.wordpress.com/    

http://fightrhbill.blogspot.com/2009/06/its-time-to-kill-bill-5043.html

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleid=481421

http://alfi.org.ph/home/index.php/2008/10/hb-5043-is-like-the-forbidden-apple-in-the-garden-of-eden/

http://www.phnix.net/HB5043_coercive01.pdf

http://www.thelaw.com/dictionary/VOID.html          

http://www.adb.org/Documents/Books/Poverty-in-the-Philippines/chap6.pdf

http://www.adb.org/Documents/Books/Poverty-Philippines-Causes-Constraints-Opportunities/Poverty-Philippines-Causes-Constraints-Opportunities.pdf#page=19

http://filipinasinshowbiz.com/index/2011/04/08/rh-bill-gets-support-from-dingdong-dantes/

www.gmanews.tv/story/218626/nation/iglesia-ni-cristo-supportsrhbill

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=672157&publicationSubCategoryId=63

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/local-news/2011/03/23/over-200-academics-ex-cabinet-members-support-rh-bill-146520

http://wiki.lawcenter.ph/index.php?title=House_Bill_4244_(15th_Congress)

http://www.pngoc.org/manifesto_of_support_for_the_rp-rh_bill.html                 

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/185986/survey-more-than-a-third-of-voters-prefer-bets-who-support-rh-bill

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/279761/advocates-overjoyed-pnoys-prorh-stance

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reproductive_Health_Bill_(Philippines)          

http://oppositeofapathy.wordpress.com/tag/reproductive-health-bill/       

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Birth-Control-Contraception-/Copper-IUD-side-effects/show/160039

http://filipinosforlife.com/2011/03/10/15th-congress-house-bill-4244-full-text-final-consolidated-rh-bill-hb-4244/

www.topbibleverses.com

Youth Bible. Global Edition. Holy Bible Contemporary English Version. United Bible Societies. 2004.

10 REASONS WHY I LOVE FACEBOOK

1. It bridges gaps and keeps me connected with my friends and loved ones;

2. It keeps me posted with the activities of the organizations I am involved with;

3. It serves as a medium where I can express my thoughts and feelings for the day;

4. It entertains and makes me relax when I am pissed off, stressed and tired;

5. Its applications like Quote for A Day and God Wants You to Know, among others, inspire and provide source of wisdom;

6. It delivers fresh, hot news and information in a creative way using new media;

7. It enhances my love for photography and video editing where I can share to the world easily my finished projects;

8. It reaches widest audience from diverse walks of life where everyone has the freedom of expression-different school of thoughts, views and opinions are presented and respected;

9. It creates social networks and strengthens relationships where distance and time are no longer issues to hinder connectivity; and

10. It serves as a venue for everyone to be catalysts of change. People by being informed and equipped with powerful communication skills and tools can make decisions that will have impact to future generation.

 ONLY REASON WHY I LOVE FACEBOOK TO UNFRIEND COAL

Because I recognise its power to turn the tide. Unfriending coal and shifting to use of renewable energy, instead, will send message to its members that global warming is an urgent issue; to be truly FRIENDS with everyone is to care for their great future in commune with the earth.

 Yes, I envied my friends who joined the 34th Milo Marathon and the Tour of the Fire Flies Cycling Events.

 

Yes, I changed my Facebook profile picture to a Sailormoon cartoon character.

 

Yes, I wore green political bracelet last May Election Campaign Period.

 

Yes, I liked Greenpeace Philippines’ website and became their fan.

 

Yes, I wore black ribbon during the death of my loved ones.

 

Yes, I signed petition to pass the Renewable Energy Bill.

 

Yes, I bought a Christmas card from Pizza Hut.

 

Yes, I shared to my friends the Lipad video.

 

These are just eight signs of being a slacktivist; I am proud and will continue to be one.

 

Vague Definition of Slacktivism

These past few weeks, I have read blogs and have learned from my friends about some people arguing about the act of the Facebook enthusiasts who supported UNICEF’s advocacy of raising awareness about stopping child abuse. To some, the act of changing one’s profile picture to a cartoon character is lazy, ineffective and pointless.

Honestly, the term slacktivism (or slackervism) is new to me, so I searched for the definition and found its meaning:

 “(Slacktivism) means an act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem.”

 “It is formed out of the two words: slacker and activism.”

 “It is a feel good effect on someone who supports issue or social cause that (has) little or no practical effect on other (people) than to make the person doing it (feels) satisfaction.”

 The first definition is vague. How any one can measure a “pointless” activity? Or exactly, what do you mean when you say pointless? The definition given is subjective that is why it is prone to many interpretations. What is pointless or meaningless to you could mean a lot to me, or in other people, in some other way. Also, when you exert an effort, this does not necessarily mean you have to fix a problem. Someone may act on something because they just want to. For example, people may like a specific site and they will not be entitled to explain to the world why they actually like it. In the end, we all have our rights to exercise what we believe in (except of course, in violation of certain laws or moral beliefs).

When we look at the word slacker, it means lazy. When we combine two terms: slacker and activism, it will bring us the word slacktivism to connote as lazy activism. So again, this gives a negative meaning to the word, which I would like to defend in my next argument.

Would you call lazy activists the APO members who led the Oblation Run in the University of the Philippines, in their call to condemn the recent reduction of education budget for state universities? How about the mourning family members, who call for justice, of the journalists killed in Maguindanao? These people do not make direct impact to fix the problem (call for justice) when they run naked or wear black shirts, but will it be fair and justified to call these activists’ activities as lazy and pointless?

If other people consider petition signing as a “lazy activism”; well for some, it is actually referred to as a form of “online activism”- a positive connotation. Today, different organizations consider online activities as effective measures in conveying their messages for various reasons such as it is environmental friendly (they do not need to produce too much paper for flyers, pamphlets, etc); cost-effective; accessible; and fast tool of communication.

In my opinion, the term slacktivism is problematic- it is one of the gobbledygooks, which Jose A. Carrillo identified in his book ‘English Plain and Simple; No Nonsense Ways to Learn Today’s Global Language’ as words weakening the prose fiber. Examples of gobbledygooks were predetermination and antidisestablishmentarianism. Some writers create words that are long and nice-sounding but in fact do not perform. For them, these words may sound sensible but have vague meaning to others. Try to search the word slacktivism in the Miriam-Webster Online Dictionary, and you will never find it. Their search engine will give you this answer The word you’ve entered isn’t in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search bar above.” I guess its non-existence is due to having the term unrecognized by the scholars. 

Slacktivism is activism

Below are the slacktivists’ activities according to some bloggers (10 Signs You Might Be A Slacktivist by Top Online Colleges.com):

      1. If you wear awareness bracelets;

     2. If you join a Facebook group for a cause;

     3. If you wear colored t-shirts to support different causes;

     4. If you put a ribbon magnet on your vehicle to support a cause;

     5. If you sign Internet petitions;

     6. If you participate in short-term boycotts;

     7. If you post YouTube videos of yourself discussing issues;

     8. If you change your avatar or update your Facebook statuses for a cause;

     9. If you simply “like” something on Facebook; and

     10. If you go to a book signing.

 In my introduction, I acquired eight out of ten of these signs. I have participated on these activities and I will continue to support for the following reasons:

My friends who joined the 34th Milo Marathon supported the campaign to give the young but poor beneficiaries of this event a pair of shoes; my cyclist friends joined the Tour of the Fire Flies to help raise awareness about the health benefits of biking to the enthusiasts as well as to show the low-carbon footprint impact on the environment of using a bike as a transportation means compared to the use of private cars.

I changed my Facebook profile picture to a Sailormoon cartoon character in support of an awareness raising campaign against child abuse.

 I wore green political bracelet last May 2010 Election Campaign Period in support of Gibo Teodoro for his Presidency (As newly elected president, I support P-Noy in His way to “Daang Matuwid”. Who would want a crooked way?).

 I wore black ribbon or black shirt to grief, mourn and to show my sincerest sympathy to the families (especially dearest to me) who lost their loved ones.

I bought a Christmas card from Pizza Hut to support their cause in feeding the poor children this Yule Tide Season.

I shared to my friends the Lipad video, an advertisement about Children against Violence Campaign to show my support in the vision of the Quezon City local government led by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, to make Quezon City a Child Friendly City. 

I liked Greenpeace Philippines’ website (an international environmental organization) and became their fan because for the past ten years of their existence in the country they had tremendously made a positive impact on raising awareness and lobbying bills about water, forest, and ocean conservation; climate change, electronic wastes, genetically modified organisms, among others (Please check their website at www.greenpeace.org.ph).

I signed petition to pass the Renewable Energy Bill and I am honoured to be part of this campaign when it was enacted last October 7, 2008. The Philippine government received commendation from different environmental organizations including World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenpeace who made effort to raise awareness about the global warming issue.

In his press statement, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Von Hernandez said:

 “Once enacted, (the Renewable Energy Act of 2008) is expected not only to end our
dependence on climate changing fossil fuels, but also help propel the Philippines towards a low-carbon path of economic prosperity and genuine sustainable development. Through this law, we hope to see less and less development of dirty coal power plants and more investments in clean, renewable energy systems.”

The act of signing petition is not lazy; if it is, it should have not gone this far and become successful in persuading our legislators to pass this important bill.

In general, I neither see anything wrong with the ten signs mentioned above nor find these lazy. In fact, when used properly and with specific goal, these activities were actually effective tools in conveying the right message and initiate actions that will produce positive results.

According to Cindy Leonard in her blog “In defense of Slactivism”, she too, does not see slacktivists as lazy people. Just like her, people who were actually busy in performing their duties at home, at work, at school, at church or at the community but support good causes (e.g. environmental conservation, human rights protection, etc.) appreciate the act of organizations that uses Facebook, My Space or other Social Network Sites in delivering their message. In fact, most members become aware of the existence of their organizations through effective campaign strategies such as the use of these social network sites. I will put more emphasis on this on the next argument.  

Clicking your mouse to like a good cause is not a lazy act. It is actually a good start to become catalysts of change.

 

Slacktivism as a campaign strategy

As opposed to some who see the ten signs as negative, these were actually good campaign strategies. What is a campaign strategy? It is an organised, purposeful effort to create change; guided by thoughtful planning.

Why Greenpeace in the past few months (before the cartoon campaign) asked its supporters to change their profile picture using P-Noy’s image with message: P-Noy Be a Hero; Lead the Energy Revolution?  It was about asking President Noynoy Aquino to commit and  sign up to a 50% renewable energy by 2020 roadmap for the Philippines to leave a legacy of safe, prosperous and clean future for the Filipino people.

Thus it makes any sense? Yes, of course. Does it seem lazy? I don’t think so.

Before taking action, good and successful campaigners learn as much as possible about the existing situation: who is affected by the campaign; what changes can be used to improve the situation; what resources or tactics or tools are available to implement campaign. All of these information campaigners use to guide them in planning, implementing, marketing, monitoring, improving and evaluating their campaign.

Going back to the changing the profile picture issue, campaigners used Facebook to measure how many people were actually concerned about child abuse or reducing further impacts of climate change (Why not take advantage of using Facebook that has 500 million active users as of July 2010? To ask people to change profile picture was neither difficult to do nor cause any one harm, anyway). To some who think the act was just a form of “lazy activism” or a “pointless” act; since many changed their profile pictures, to campaigners the act was actually effective! Kudos to them and all the supporters! (Applause. Applause).

Slacktivism as Corporate Social Responsibility

Again, I would like to emphasize that companies like Pizza Hut or Milo that sells Christmas card and organizes Marathon Event, respectively, were doing their part in performing their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). I know, you would argue, how much these companies paid me to write about it? The answer is none. I just visited the restaurant with my friends and eat there; my office colleagues and college batch mates participated in the marathon. Also, you may argue that, “Hey, these companies were doing these to earn profits!” I would say, “Do you have any hard evidence?” Maybe. But it does not necessarily mean that since there was money involved in the event, the company or organization is already taking advantage of other concerned people. I, being active in different types of organization, could say that, raising fund to pursue the cause is the hardest part. So, I understand that there is nothing wrong in asking for membership fee to become part of any organization; or in this topic, Pizza Hut selling greeting cards and Milo asking for registration fee to be able to participate in the said marathon.

We need to support companies who were giving generous portion of their sales for good causes. If we will not, who will?

 

Slacktivism brings change

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

This quote from George Bernard Shaw said it all, perfectly. Also, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer who was an author of a New York Times Best Selling Book has written “Change Your Thoughts- Change Your Life” book.

In connection with our topic, as I said, slacktivism is an effective campaign tool because it changes thoughts. Once you change your thought, you change your action. You change your action, you change your life. And when every one else’s employ the same, what change is undesirable to human kind?

In 1980’s, Filipinos believe that wearing yellow ribbon is a symbol of opposition against the Martial Law Era. When then Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr was exiled and flew back to the Philippines, his supporters tied yellow ribbons along the streets of Metro Manila to welcome him back, but he never saw them. As he stepped of the plane at the Manila Airport, Aquino was shot and killed, leading to a series of dramatic events such as EDSA People Power Revolution and overthrowing of Ferdinand Marcos. In 2009, yellow and the yellow ribbon reappeared, first as a sign of support to the former President Corazon Aquino as she struggled with cancer, and then as a sign of remembrance and respect when she died. To mourn about the nation’s loss, people wore yellow shirts, tied yellow ribbons along the street, and integrated yellow and yellow ribbons into their blogs and Facebook pages. This year, wearing a yellow ribbon consisting of electrical tape around ones index finger signified support of the We Are One Filipino Movement for the Presidency of Benigno Aquino, III.

Why this was effective? Because it changed thoughts! It brought action! Then there was change! Who then would underestimate the power of tying a yellow ribbon?

Slacktivism is better than passivity and indifference

If other people think that changing profile picture to a cartoon character was not good enough to show support for the victims of child abuse, well, maybe yes, the effort was insufficient. But how about when that same person (who changed profile picture) went home and saw his broken PSP, his three-year-old son as a culprit; will he employ violence over the poor child after being reminded of the importance of respecting child’s rights? The answer depends upon different people. Some would say, “Yes, definitely he must slap his son for being too careless!” However, others would say, “No, I will just talk to my son and say that he must not repeat the same act again.” My point is, by raising awareness, we somehow contribute to change. When we change the thoughts, we change actions and we bring positive impact; as compared to the passive and the indifferent who refused to learn and eventually, take a stand.

Which is better: someone who voted for P-Noy and prior to that actively purchased yellow items and flaunted it to show support? Or someone who did not exercise one’s right to vote?

How about someone who watched an advocacy film and recommended the same to other friends? Or someone who stayed inside the home, ignored friends’ invite to watch the said film since one found it irrelevant, anyway?

I believe that slacktivists are better than the passive and indifferent individuals. Yes, by wearing a black ribbon or shirt during the burial ceremony of my closest friend, I did not directly helped him to recover his loss; but for him, my mere presence and my wearing of these traditional symbols of showing condolence, matters a lot (Of course, you can argue that I may attend burial without wearing a black shirt; but will it be OK to some culture to attend burial wearing loud and printed colors like red and florals, for example?)

I remember the song of Joey Ayala entitled Magkabilaan, the lyrics goes like this:

may kaliwa’t may kanan sa ating lipunan
patuloy ang pagtutunggali, patuloy ang paglalaban
pumanig ka, pumanig ka. huwag nang ipagpaliban pa
ang di makapagpasiya ay maiipit sa gitna”

To be able to survive in this world, we need to take a stand- it’s either we go to right or to left; to go to heaven or go to hell. Who is right or wrong is a different question.

Slacktivists are not super-heroes but they can make positive and drastic change

I believe that every individual who were helping others even in their smallest ways were heroes on their own. These people may not be like superman or wonder woman but remember, these great imaginary icons also bleed and get hurt; in other words, they  also have certain limitations and weaknesses- e.g. kryptonite for superman.

Yes, slacktivists may not have all the time in the world and all types of resources to give; but definitely, little by little, through time and constant motivation and habit, their small acts will become as powerful like the mustard seed that is the smallest but when fully grown becomes the largest of the leafy vegetables.

A diverse opinion is a healthy one

The arguments I presented were somehow based on my research and experience. We are all entitled to our own opinion, anyway. I wrote this to share the same view with people out there who have the signs of slacktivism; some sort of explaining our side after reading the arguments of people who sees the negative side of the word.

To end up this article, I just like to share my greatest lesson learned when I was still a student from the College of Forestry in UP Los Baños that says: diversity is healthy. In ecology, the more types of fauna and flora we have, the healthier the environment is.

It is the same with our society, the more opinions people have, the healthier the society is because it means people are thinking. Also, different people take different stand. We can never please every one because if we do to please ourselves, we will fail.

At the end of all of this, as a slacktivist, I quote Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

If the efforts I mentioned were not enough to make a change, or pointless; to me any small act of kindness is great as long as the intention is good. Sooner or later, this will bring desirable change.

May I ask? When was the last time you act to show that you care? How? You think it was sufficient to make a difference? If not, why not?

Sources:

Carrillo, Jose A, English Plain and Simple: No Nonsense Ways to Learn Today’s Global Language, Manila, Philippines: Manila Times Publishing Corporation, 2008.

www.greenpeace.org.ph

www.answers.yahoo.com

solargenerationyouth.multiply.com/…/Philippine_Senate_finally_passes_the_Renewable_Energy_Bill

http://www.gmanews.tv/…/Greenpeace-calls-on-Senate-to-approve-renewable-energy-bill

http://en.wikipedia.org

www.joeyayala.com

http://kooki.multiply.com/journal/item/90/Magkabilaan_ni_Joey_Ayala

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slacktivism

http://www.pr-inside.com/philippines-renewable-energy-bill-r850601.htm

http://www.informationactivism.org/basic1

http://www.answers.com/topic/slacktivism

http://www.coyotecommunications.com/culture/online2offline.shtml

http://www.charityvillage.com/cv/archive/acov/acov10/acov1023.asp

http://coyoteblog.posterous.com/slackervism-on-facebook-again?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

http://www.toponlinecolleges.com/blog/2010/10-signs-you-might-be-a-slacktivist/

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=slacktivism

http://endgoal.org/2010/10/18/passionate-activism-or-fashionate-slacktivism/

http://www.varsity.co.uk/comment/2991

http://artoftheprank.com/2008/06/05/slacktivism-pointless-pursuits-of-ineffective-activism/

http://hotworldnews.livejournal.com/2010/12/06/

http://cultureandcommunication.org/tdm/nmrs/fa2/2010/11/14/slacktivism-is-activism/