Volume XVII NO 28 (May 3-9, 2014)

I always take a taxi coming from or going to the Manila airport. This one last Saturday morning with  taxi driver Lando was interesting. He was talking all the way in Cebuano  nonstop inspite of the EDSA traffic that when we reached the domestic terminal, I wished we were still stuck in traffic because he still had more to  tell.  He said he came from Dipolog in Zamboanga del Norte and had been driving in Manila for years. “Lisod panginabuhi didto” ( life is difficult there).

POLITICS. — He asked where I was going.   ” Davao diay ka sir? (so you are from Davao?) Then he went ballistic. “ Kusog si Binay sa karon  pero  unta mag uban  sila ni Bongbong Marcos  ug si Duterte  para mo asenso ang Pinas. Kay kaming taxi driver Bongbong mi sir” (Binay is strong now but he should team up with  Bongbong Marcos and Duterte for the sake of the  country coz we taxi drivers are for Bongbong) . I’ll tell VP Jojo,  Sen. Bongits and  Mayor Rody about this, I quietly told myself.

But he continued. “Baho na ang gobyerno  Aquino ug halos tanang opisyal nato,” ( the Aquino government and all officials now stink)  he  said mentioning Napoles with expletives several times.

FAMILY —  He has  two daughters,   an 18 year old and a 10 year.  He is worried. In Zamboanga when he was young, he recalled that  suitors of his aunts  had to do “harana” ( serenade)  and would come to the house and visit with the   ”lola” nearby either within hearing distance or eavesdropping.  The courtship then  included the whole family. Today, he said,  the young jump to bed just by texting each other. (That ‘s  my moderate translation from his more vulgar  language.  Ahahaha! )

ROLE MODELS — He blamed the VIPs and “mga artista” , who have become role models and the influence of  TV for the bad values today. “Tan-aw ka sa TV ‘The Legal Wife’ sir? Suko pirmi mrs ko  sa kabit ba unya sige warning sa akoa”.   (do you watch the telenobela The Legal Wife? My wife is always angry at the mistress then always warns me) . I told him I am in the same situation. LOL.

He  then mentioned a few examples, the names he did not mention  but  quite obvious to be identifiable.   A senator  leaves his wife and family for a celebrity  but  he is still popular. (He cursed!)   A presidential sister who has  several men — although one at a time and still adored by the public.    (He chuckled!)

PEACE  — He said he had recently an unmarried  lady from Midsayap, North Cotabato for  a passenger going to the NAIA bound for  Canada. She was leaving to look for work abroad and plans on uprooting her family soonest when she gets settled down there.  She expects trouble with the signing of the peace agreement   because some Muslim elements are starting to claim their lands in Midsayap  that her family  had long owned and developed.

AMERICANS — To my surprise, he  said “maayo kay si  Obama moabot” ( good Obama is coming). I asked why? He said  another passenger, a  retired corporal in the Army   told him that it was a mistake  to throw out the US bases years ago  and now we are  asking the Americans to come back because we need them against China. The retired  corporal recalled how he was receiving “second hand”  uniforms and equipment while the Americans were still around and  the Filipino  soldiers were well provided.   Today his other soldier friends tell him of holes in their boots. He  said that the Philippines can be better off being a part of the US so we can have dollars and maybe we will also have  snow! (He laughed!)

He was still talking after he parked as he  handed me  my handcarry bag.  And when I disembarked, he was not through yet.  “Pag balik  na pud nimo, sir ( next time when you return) he called me aloud as I headed for the terminal gate. The hefty tip must be the reason, I told myself.   Listening to him, belonging to  the “masa” was  a source of unending  fascination. And reality check somehow!

We are misled by the media line that the Catholic church’s anti- RH campaign  lost because the Supreme Court ruled that Reproductive Health Law (RA 10354) is constitutional.  Many may not realize this but the Supreme Court in “approving” the RH law actually GAVE DUE COURSE  to the objections of the Church.  According to former Ambassador Rigoberto “Bobi” Tiglao in his article in the Manila TIMES,  what the Supreme Court declared constitutional are the ALREADY EXISTING laws that have already been implemented for decades but consolidated in the new RH law.  These are the  population-control laws that have been in effect  like RA 6365 of 1971 (Creating the national population commission and its functions) ; PD 79 of former President Marcos and   RA 9710 of 2009 (Magna Carta for Women).

But the main objectionable provisions  that the Church raised were DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL, including the controversial  implementing rules crafted by the Secretary of Health.  I call this government’s  ATTEMPT that the Supreme Court ABORTED, legally of course.  (This is the type of abortion we all welcome. hahaha!)

For example, the SC ruled that the religious beliefs of citizens (those who oppose) be respected and must prevail. Hence, the ruling declared as unconstitutional the provision that required  public and private health companies to provide  birth control information and means to all even if it is against their religious beliefs. Another provision declared unconstitutional was that which allows one spouse to make a unilateral decision to avail of birth control methods. The SC required that BOTH SPOUSES must approve to do irrreversible birth control interventions like vasectomy and tubal ligation. Another provision is to require parental consent for minors. There are other significant fine points.

But what the Supreme Court significantly STOPPED ON ITS TRACKS was the “ABORTED”  attempt of the  government, through its Secretary of Health and the pro-RH groups, to insert and  SMUGGLE  the word “PRIMARILY”  (to define abortifacients) in the implementing rules & regulations that was NOT  present in the RH law itself and which would have opened the floodgates of abortions. If not discovered and stopped and ABORTED  by the SC, it  would have allowed goverment to undertake  wide-scale distribution of devices and drugs for abortion or abortifacients. Truth to tell, this important SC ruling upholds the Catholic dogma that is found in the Philippine Constitution (Article 11, Section 12) which provides that the state “shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception”. THIS MEANS THAT ANY ACTION TO STOP THE FERTILIZED EGG FROM DEVELOPING IS AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION.  Scientific studies tell us that IUDs and other contraceptives, while they have the PRIMARY effect of preventing fertilization (the spermatozoa from reaching the egg) they have  the secondary or after- effect of weakening the uterine walls lining so that the fertilized egg (with the meeting of the sperm and the ova already done) cannot be implanted there and therefore will die. This validly challenges legally the use of IUDs and contraceptives with that SC ruling.

No doubt, this a “de facto” rejection of the RH law. What is interesting is that  it makes pro-RH proponents seemingly victorious but actually the anti-RH ones  also won the day.  This is “judicial statesmanship” of the Supreme Court at its best. Everyone can claim victory. Those who decide to avail of the benefits of the RH law can do so while those who do not believe can freely reject them without being penalized.     What will be interesting to see hereon is how the implementation of the RH law will be done and how vigilant are we in seeing to it that what the Supreme Court discovered and aborted in its ruling,  will be followed and enforced on the ground./ ADVOCACY MINDANoW FOUNDATION, INC. (AMFI)/ Follow us at Twitter: AMFI_Mindanow /Email us: us:


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