face off

At last!  A president takes on the church, puts nation over religion, reason over dogma.  Noy stands tall.  Finally, Rizal’s battle is joined! Bernardo breaks free! — Satur Sulit


  1. @Angela,

    There is no faceoff.

    The State is NEUTRAL and therefore by its Constitutional mandates of recognizing:

    (1) “Separation of Church and State,” and
    (2) The right of the people to information on matters of public concern

    must offer the freedom of INFORMED choice to every Filipino citizen.

    The State cannot promote or advance what the Catholic Church is advocating. The State is also prohibited to suppress or denigrate what the Catholic Church wants. It is because The State must not discriminate or prefer the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship.

    The people must know the artificial birth control methods alongside the natural birth control methods for them to decide freely on what to do.

  2. I believe “the straight and narrow” is the ideal – “constitutionally” speaking. Slight tortuosity in the path is not acceptable.

    Family Planning before or Responsible Parenthood now via INFORMED CHOICE is the right thing to do for it also meets the requirement of the Bill of Rights, Sec. 5, that “No religious test is required” in such a policy (with both artificial and natural methods are offered). Whereas, there exists a “religious test” if, let’s say, natural methods are only being advocated. Favoring a leader’s own religion (i.e., Catholicism) is certainly unconstitutional.

    I won’t commend P.Noy on this as he is just doing what he promised before May (us going through “the straight and narrow”). It is expected of him.

    Other leaders should have done their constitutional duty during their time.

  3. UP nn grad

    niknok: Nothing has happened yet except talk and counter palabra. In the middle months of the last elections, Pinoys- and Pinays in Pinas got very excited that candidate Noynoy will demonstrate strong support for the RH bill, and we all know that the excitement went pffffftttt into thin air.

    The proof will be in the pudding — Noynoy gets points when he puts his weight behind the RH bill and the RH bill becomes law in the next 14 months.

  4. if there is one thing i dont understand, its that noynoy never discussed the RH bill. he only said that health units would carry contraceptives and give advice… in other words, just do what was done before…

  5. I will view this “birth control program through informed choice then assistance” in a positive manner and that is the State doing what is constitutionally right in the first place.

    “Fight,” “taking on the Church,” and “faceoff” are negatives and deserve to be forgotten. (Unless one has still a hang-up of the inverted-flag-meaning-war we freshly saw as backdrop of P.Noy.)

    The Catholic Church (through the bishops) is just involving itself in the political world as evidenced in their rationalization:

    In short, politics cannot claim to be above or outside the natural law and the moral law. Politics has moral and religious dimensions. Therefore, the Church has to be involved in the political world.

    They have all the right to say their piece…but ultimately, the State (as constitutionally “separated from the Church”) must do what is fair to all.

  6. “Therefore, the Church has to be involved in the political world”

    The Catholic Church have been involved in philippine govt and politics. We’re the only predominantly catholic country in Asia. Hundreds of years later…we’re still a third world, not to mention one of the most corrupt country.

    The constitution is clear (separation of church and state). If the church wants to meddle, they should not be exempt from taxes.

    • i agree niknok. magaling lng ang simbahan mamuna at magsalita, pero wala naman silang mabuting ginawa…. “THE RIGHT TO LIFE…” I AGREE ALL OF US HAS THE RIGHT TO LIFE… HARAPIN KAYA NILA THOSE BEGGARS ON THE STREET AT SABIHIN NILA… THAT IS YOUR RIGHT TO LIFE…

  7. Hello. Just a few points to help your discussion along:

    1) Timor-Leste is also predominantly Catholic and it is in Asia.

    2) There is no proof that Catholicism has anything to do with our being a third world country and the level of corruption. There are other third world countries that arent Catholic with the same level of corruption as we have and there are first world and emerging countries that are predominantly Catholic (Belgium, Switzerland, Chile, Brazil).

    3) The constitution imposes limits on the State to prevent them from favoring one religion over the other or establishing a de facto State religion. The Church is under no restrictions under the constitution in the exercise of its civil and political rights. Although the Church itself prohibits the clergy from running for public office, the constitution has no such prohibitions. Let me quote the relevant constitutional provision:

    Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

    Notice the last sentence? No religious test. That means the State shouldnt care whether youre a priest, imam, rabbi, grand warlock: you can exercise your civil and political rights.

    4) If by RH Bill you mean HB 5043 (refiled recently as HB 96), Aquino was on record during the campaign that he is against the bill as it is and would review it for revisions. Any reports that Aquino supports the RH Bill as it is are wrong. What he proposes is to make prophylactics available in health centers. This is not the same as supporting the RH Bill. The Aquino administration has not submitted its own bill to Congress for endorsement, nor would they in the foreseeable future, saying that it is not a priority.

    I hope that helped.

  8. Following the CBCP link I supplied above (and here) will tell us the “Catechism on the Church and Politics.”

    Anyway, strictly speaking and as what the Catholic Church is saying, the prohibitions as applied in the “Principle of The Separation of Church and State” are entirely directed to the State (and NOT the Church).

    Leaders and members of the Catholic Church as Filipino citiizens can rightfully engage (Read: “meddle”) in the political world without pain of prosecution or whatever punitive action. It is because the Separation of Church and State is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution:

    [Bill of Rights, Art. III, Sec. 5.
    No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

  9. hey jeg ;) ito muna from twitter: carlosceldran sees that bishops have chosen a political ally that they figure will surely appeal to the majority. Oh. Dear… http://twitter.com/carlosceldran/status/26174165546

    “The Catholic Church has found an ally in former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in its fight to stop the distribution of artificial contraceptives to poor Filipinos.”


  10. Pursuing criminal or civil charges against Carlos would trigger a backlash against the Catholic Church. They are trying to make another Rizal out of him. I just hope Carlos is prepared to be shot at Luneta just in case. Hopefully this would end the 500 years of Catholic Church’s influence on Phil govt.

    Jose Rizal wanted to inform the society about these social atrocities and unfair treatments that they blindingly accepted. Nowadays, they keep killing or jailing the Rizals so that the Padre Damasos shall live on.

  11. i agree with jeg. i’m confused why this is about the RH bill. this is about making artificial contraception available.

    the bill has more/other stuff in it.


    there was a time when artificial contraception WAS available right? a few years ago?

  12. Hi angela. I wonder what planet Carlos is on when he says that Gloria Arroyo appeals to the majority. Majority of what? If its the majority in Congress, she doesnt have the power to disburse and withhold pork anymore.

    (For the record, Im against the RH Bill. My position on it is close to Noynoy’s: the bill needs extensive review. For example, the educational aspect in it should be filed as a separate bill. Plus there are provisions in it that in my opinion close to ‘fascistic’. Perhaps if debated in Congress and later during consolidation with the Senate version, these onerous provisions would be removed.)

  13. This is about letting the people know the artificial birth control methods alongside the natural birth control methods for them to decide freely on what to do. The government is willing to help those who are in need of assistance once they have their informed decision.

    No RH bill here. Definitely, no faceoff too.

  14. i suspect, jeg, that the dialogue between aquino and bishops will be about the sex ed part. “informed” choice means some sex education, and the church is totally against this, correct me if i’m wrong, the bishops simply dont want any talk of sex. kahit yung natural family planning nila is such a failure because really, have they bothered to explain this to the uneducated prolific poor? so, baycas, something’s someone’s gotta give = face off

  15. Ms Santiago, the Church is not a problem. If we made them a problem, then the problem will be eternal. The problem is the conservative (pro-death penalty/anti-condom) elements in Congress. Think about how your people’s minds work. Do you really think it has anything to do with principles. Baka masyadong malaki ang mga condom para sa kanila. Look into other motives, the ones they will never speak of in public. That’s what’s keeping population control from being effective.

    I think instead of approaching this problem as an ANTI-CHURCH movement, try the practical economic view. A lot of Filipinos will ignore religious and moral restrictions for a little bit more MONEY. Promote the economic benefits of having fewor no children. Even janitors who are only feeding one or two mouths can rise up economically. Make them think. The church will never change; your main target anyway is the people. Let’s say the Church shuts up, what then? Do you have a plan on how to convince pinoys to use contraceptives?

  16. hey brianb ;) so how do you “promote the economic benefits of having fewer or no children” without some sex education bec it’s forbidden by the church. the janitor would agree, okay nga walang anak o isa o dalawa lang para mas maginhawa ang buhay, pero paano ba makaiwas makabuntis/mabuntis? let us count and explain the ways.

  17. “Hi angela. I wonder what planet Carlos is on when he says that Gloria Arroyo appeals to the majority. Majority of what? If its the majority in Congress, she doesnt have the power to disburse and withhold pork anymore.”-Jeg

    Hi, Jeg, I’m glad to hear from you again.

    As to Carlos Celdran, maybe he was referring to CJ Renato Corona and the Supreme Court, :). I think that the proponents of the bill has more to worry now that GMA is in the fray.

  18. Angela,

    I don’t want to witness that we are now reduced to an “uzi” attitude (coupled with the “miron” behavior) as regards “confrontation.” Oh, how we love to see the fight of the heavy weights, the fight of the famous ones…the fight of Pacquiao-Margarito in November (Oops, sorry for the plug.)

    I believe this stand of the State of doing what is right (being fair to all in matters of contraception regardless of “excommunicatory” pressure from one sector of our society) is a “start of something new” for us (HS musical song in the background?). May this “daang matuwid” attitude of those in power pervade in all government policies…


    Thank you for bringing up the “sex education” topic. Of course, information means education. I believe those who are to be informed are in their ripe age already for such sex education. I would like to term this group as the “parenting” age (”’Yun bang magugulang…este…magulang na at ‘yung handa nang maging magulang.”)

    What worries the Church are those in the younger age groups who are “not supposed to be exposed yet” to explicit sex education. “Early education, early sex.” “Sex education promotes promiscuity.” These are what they are informing the public. The Catholic leaders will then strictly advise that the education emanates from ones family and not from other source…and not too early! However flawed their contention is they would want to impose this on government policy.

    (Again, the State needs only to do what is right, i.e., to be fair and just to all. The State is tasked NOT to promote or prohibit religion. The State is constitutionally proscribed to favor or oppose the Church.)

    It is important to note that “comprehensive sex education programs, which emphasize abstinence, but also encourage condom and contraceptive use, should be implemented in schools.”

    Well, that’s what more than 80 percent of U.S. adults believe, says Dr. Douglas Kirby. He further stated in his study that:

    [“Overall, about two-thirds of the curriculum-based sex and STD/HIV education programs studied have had positive effects on teen sexual behavior. For example, they delayed the initiation of sex, increased condom or contraceptive use, or both. Virtually all of the programs also improved sexual protective factors. The programs had mixed, but encouraging effects on reducing teen pregnancy, childbearing, and STDs.”]

    (Emphasis mine.)

    It is also necessary that The Church knows that “the available evidence supports that religiosity does delay sexual debut.”

    A local cross-sectional study on 3rd and 4th year public high school students suggests “a strong influence of religiosity to coital debut.” The study finds students with coital debut are less religious owing to the belief that sexual intercourse gives positive emotions. In contrast, those students who did not start sexual activity believe that coitus results to negative outcomes. These findings are somehow congruent to the findings of Dr. Sharon Scales Rostosky cited above.

    The Church needs ONLY to promote Religion (whereas, redundantly, the State cannot!) to obtain what they want. Sadly, part of their leaders’ promotion is to exercise their constitutionally-protected right to “meddle” in government affairs…

  19. mahirap tlga ang sex educ. the devil is in the details.

    consider this complex message( as written by baycas): …”comprehensive sex education programs, which emphasize abstinence, but also encourage condom and contraceptive use”

    how can you emphasize abstinence and AT THE SAME TIME, say, if you MUST do it )for some reason), use condoms IF…(list of conditions here).

    its such a confusing message, i dont blame anyone who, when they see that, will choose to ignore one part of it and focus on the part that they like.

    very complex message indeed! does this mean: people will forget the abstinence part and go straight for condoms and contraception

  20. The whole paragraph from Dr. Kirby’s study is as follows:

    [“Programs based on a written curriculum and implemented among groups of teens have been widely implemented in schools and elsewhere to prevent teen pregnancy and STD/HIV for many years. In addition, the vast majority of Americans support them—more than 80 percent of U.S. adults believe that comprehensive sex education programs, which emphasize abstinence, but also encourage condom and contraceptive use, should be implemented in schools.”]

    Dr. Kirby basically presented the “research findings on programs to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).” It’s actually the title of his research.

    Now, I hope this illustration will help erase some confusion in the statement about comprehensive sex education program (CSEP)…

    Let’s consider the prevention of STDs (which would somehow incorporate the prevention of pregnancy in the process). Let’s also consider the fairly common genital warts or HPV* infection as an example of STD**.

    We intervene by providing CSEP, let’s say for instance, starting at 12 years of age*** (the local study of at least 300 public HS students noted coital debut at 13-14 years of age, both male and female).

    Part of CSEP is the primary prevention of STD by way of initially influencing an individual’s future sexual behavior:

    (a) Abstinence (from any form of sexual activity) – 100% protection from all STDs
    (b) Appropriate use of condom – 70% protection from HPV infection alone (CDC 2006 STD Guideline)
    (c) Use of oral contraceptive alone**** – 0% protection simply because of unprotected sex; However, the “morning after” pill results in 89% reduction in risk for pregnancy (CDC 2006 STD Guideline)

    We see here that INFORMED CHOICE will again operate.

    It’s quite obvious that the balance tilts more to “Abstinence” as primary choice (rather than the proper use of condom or contraceptive)…and THIS HAS TO BE EMPHASIZED in the sex education program.

  21. Footnotes:

    *Human papillo ma virus – known to cause cervi cal cancer (Bosch 2002), a common virus that affects up to 80% of women (Winer 2003, Fairley 1995). Cer vical cancer is the second leading cause of women cancer deaths in the Philippines (Ferlay 2002, IARC 2004, WHO/ICO 2010). HPV also causes geni tal warts that are known to have high recurrence rate of lesions because the virus is not eradicated even after treatment
    **There is myriad of STDs and, more often than not, the diseases have NO symptoms but infective in individuals at high risk
    ***When to start the sex education program is certainly debatable as there are anecdotal reports of coital debut in 11-year-old males
    ****It gets complicated when you consider “Emergency Contraception” using barrier methods in women PLUS oral contraceptives

  22. Well, I guess the critics of the Catholic hierarchy and skeptics of the Faith would probably favor the belief that:

    “Sexual ABSTINENCE to prevent the dreaded STDs” is far better than “sexual ABSTINENCE to prevent ‘ETERNAL DAMNATION.’”

  23. I believe one must think of “abstinence” in the context of the following interrelated keywords:

    Comprehensive sex education program
    Sexual or coital debut
    Teen pregnancy
    Sexually transmitted diseases

  24. UP nn grad

    baycas: it is subterfuge the way that Dr. Kirby promotes ABSTINENCE over condoms when it comes to public sex education.

    The focus is on EDUCATION, and with regards EDUCATION, teaching abstinence is, well, what Pilipinas already has, so you can form your own conclusion.

    ONLY teaching abstinence to kids (and teenagers and adults)is resulting in unplanned and unwanted pregnancies plus STD’s. If you like what you see, then the CBCP welcomes you to its fold and you should preach the wisdome of ONLY TEACHING ABSTINENCE.

    Many will tell you though (and among the many will be nuns and priests who detest the Vatican teachings on sex education)…. many will tell you that ALSO TEACHING CONDOMS to kids and teenagers and adults results in over 20% reduction in unwanted and unplanned pregnancies. HIV/AIDS? Condoms!!!! Making condoms available to teenagers and adults?! Good stuff, so says nuns and priests (a few of them) who work with NGO’s trying to help the very poor from the damnation of HIV/AIDS.

    Teach them abstinence AND teach them condoms and safe-sex.

    As any intelligent cost-accountant would know, why spend on condoms when abstinence works anyway???? Unnecessary expense for the same intended result.

  25. UP nn grad,

    Kindly reread my posts. I supplied the web links also and please read Dr. Kirby’s research. I also just made an illustration of how abstinence is a sure-fire way of preventing STDs. Abstinence can definitely be applied and emphasized to also prevent teen or unintended pregnancies if you read on. Thanks.

    In Dr. Kirby’s 2007 paper (probably the most extensive one to be written on the subject as it collates the findings of several sex education programs), COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION PROGRAM, as more than 80% of U.S. adults would like to be implemented in their territory which I am also in favor to be done here in our setting, means teaching ALL.

    It is distinctively compared to “Abstinence-Only Education.”

    Abstinence-plus education programs (or CSEP) explore the context for and meanings involved in sex.
    a. Promote abstinence from sex
    b. Acknowledge that many teenagers will become sexually active
    c. Teach about contraception and condom use
    d. Include discussions about contraception, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV

    Abstinence-only education includes discussions of values, character building, and, in some cases, refusal skills.
    a. Promote abstinence from sex
    b. Do not acknowledge that many teenagers will become sexually active
    c. Do not teach about contraception or condom use
    d. Avoid discussions of abortion
    e. Cites sexually transmitted diseases and HIV as reasons to remain abstinent

    This comparison is given in a table here: http://ari.ucsf.edu/science/reports/abstinence.pdf

    This March 2002 UCSF report also acknowledged Dr. Kirby’s earlier work in 2001:

    [“By far the most comprehensive survey of research on sex education has been conducted by Dr. Douglas Kirby and a team of research experts. With publication of Emerging Answers in 2001, Kirby provided a lengthy and sophisticated review of hundreds of published studies on the outcomes of sex education curricula for young people in schools, health clinics and in communities.”]

    However, the UCSF report further noted:

    [“One of the most important points to come out of Kirby’s analysis is that while some sex education programs make measurable differences in the lives of young people, the negative consequences of teen sexual activity are complex and not easily remedied with a school class or an after school program. Teen sexuality is influenced by parents, schools, communities, the media, society as whole, available prevention technology, and individual young people themselves.”]

    (Emphasis mine.)

    Well, Up nn grad, as an intelligent reader would know, “READ first BEFORE you LIP.”

    …and, perhaps I must add, read AND understand first…

  26. It is important to say that I am a Catholic and I plan to be one until my last breath.

    I am against abortion. [Although this is a rather tenuous subject that probably needs further discussion as definition of “pregnancy” differs between the Pro-Lifers and the groups opposing them. When does pregnancy start? Conception (fertilization) or Implantation? I chose the former.]

    I am pro-QUALITY of Life (pro-QOL) not just Pro-Life.


    I also believe that the State, as constitutionally-separated from the Church, must do what is necessary to be fair and just to all.

    P.Noy’s stand of INFORM, DECIDE, and ASSIST should stand…i.e., stand above Faith. P.Noy’s stand against abortion should likewise stand (well, it’s against the law anyway).

    The point is, the Church can “meddle” all they want…but the separated State must do what it has do for the State, “redundantly again,” must not favor or prohibit Religion and its practices.

    The State must offer all what is available and an individual will decide on what to do. The lawmakers should probably think this way too.

  27. UP nn grad

    baycas: While abstinence is a guaranteed way to avoid unwanted pregnancies, males should as a general rule have a condom in their back pocket, just in case they experience the experiences of three Filipinos I know (you’d know one of them — a very prominent Filipino Catholic Bishop) who, despite knowing that abstinence prevents unwanted pregnances, could not keep their “tool” sheathed. Net result — you guessed it — unwanted pregnancy. To repeat — these males are well-informed (direct from the Vatican, too!!!!) about abstinence.

  28. UP nn grad,

    I know of a 13-year-old girl who had her sexual debut at 12 years and now she is pregnant. Of course, she wasn’t enlightened much with regard to sex and appropriate behavior towards it.

    Two (2) words…INFORMED CHOICE.

    While CSEP emphasizes “abstinence” because of its 100% protection from both teen or unintended pregnancies AND sexually transmitted infections, it does not shut the door for proper condom (70% protection from HPV infection; I don’t have data now for pregnancy protection) and appropriate contraceptive (0% protection from STDs; 70-99% protection from pregnancy) use.

    I guess your insistence (persistence?) on the value of condom (even to the point of filling up the back pockets of ALL Filipino males with it!…I think, I prefer female’s purses) is NO BETTER than the Catholic Church’s unwavering, uncompromising or closed-minded position against such device.

    What we are talking here is that EDUCATION must include all available options…then let the individual, couple, or parents decide on what to do. INFORMED CHOICE.

    Now, the State is presently giving that freedom of choice as regards contraception, family planning and responsible parenthood. I hope this will also be applied in the Comprehensive Sex Education Program I envision for our pre-teeners.

  29. UP nn grad

    If you have a college-age son, encourage him to always have a condom in his backpocket. This, even if he is fully-“edumacated” in the 100% efficacy of abstinence.

    The reason is psychology — when horny, people get reckless and life-skills know intellectually go out the window in the heat of passion. Various surveys of 26-and-younger college-age males have 75% of them saying “Nope!” about sex with 45-and-older women. This is when they are taking the survey in a neutral environment like a library or a classroom. This 75% number drops to 45% when the survey is done fifteen minutes after the young males have started leafing through Penthouse or Playbox magazines.

    When horny, people get reckless.

    You want males to carry the condom as a constant reminder for safe sex, be it same-sex, opposite-sex or mixed “grappling arts”. And of course, Catholic males should make every reasonable attempt to go to church on Sundays and holy days of obligation.

  30. UP nn grad

    Hot Off The Press —- Several Filipinos jailed in Saudi.

    For the crime of attending Sunday Catholic mass.

    Hasn’t this happened before and has the leadership of the CBCP responded?