MANILA, Philippines - Lending more academic backing to a national advocacy, faculty professors from the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University gave their overwhelming support to the Reproductive Health Bill.
In a joint statement signed by 241 faculty members, the group said “our studied and collective opinion is that House Bill 4244 is a vital piece of legislation. Its passage will mandate policies which will save women’s and men’s lives, improve infant survival, enhance young people’s health and well-being, and enable couples and individuals to make responsible decisions in planning their families.”
They said the bill is also necessary to achieve the goals of “social equity, poverty reduction, and national development. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that these goals can be achieved without resorting to population control.”
They said they have been abreast with issues being hurled against the bill, even undertaking their own studies and participating in legislative processes.
“Our reading of HB 4244 is that it is not a population control bill, nor does it violate any other rights and freedoms. HB 4244 in fact promotes the sexual and reproductive rights, the right to health, and the right to informed decision making of all Filipinos but especially the poor, in fulfillment of the provisions of our Constitution and our obligations under international covenants,” they added.
They lambasted the way science has been “misused” by those opposing the bill.
“We have seen the misrepresentation of easily verifiable information, such as the actual text of the proposed bill. We have witnessed the misuse of outdated studies, data that have already been disproven, or studies that cannot be replicated to support what are merely ideological positions,” they stressed.
The faculty members also expressed concerns over reports that some teachers offer incentives to students who make or engage in anti-RH activities.
“We believe that it is an abuse of our role as value formators to dictate the political actions of our students in this way. We denounce any such violations of our duties to inculcate critical thinking and respect our students’ right to their own opinions. We denounce this, regardless of whether the teacher is for or against the RH Bill,” they stressed.