Here is a transcript of the (Updated March 24, 2011) Transcript of Brgy Ayala Alabang hearing on ordinance no. 1 – a.k.a. the martial condom law
A group of reproductive health supporters rallied today to demonstrate strong opposition against the Barangay Ayala-Alabang anti-RH ordinance arguing that said ordinance is a cheap propaganda meant for trash bins.
Hundreds of advocacy leaders representing various non-government, community, youth, women and civil society groups together with prominent individuals sacrificed their weekend rest to stage an indignation rally against the controversial anti-reproductive health ordinance. Messages from former Congressman Ruffy Biazon and Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral (both residents of the posh village), group chanting, and photo ops simulating the tearing off of the municipal ordinance highlighted the event.
Barangay Ayala Alabang Ordinance No. 1 titled, “An Ordinance providing for the Safety and Protection of the Unborn Child,” restricts the sale and use of all forms of contraceptives within the barangay. The ordinance passed by Brgy. Captain Alfred A. Xerez-Burgos, Jr. and his council in early January caught the ire of reproductive health supporters as they see it as part of an orchestrated act of the Catholic hierarchy to impose their religious dogma. Reproductive health advocates maintain that the act is a pre-testing in one barangay and if proven tolerable will be replicated in other barangays.
Women’s group Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP), one of the organizers of the indignation rally, laments that the ordinance clearly violates constitutionally guaranteed rights to health, education, privacy, and the couples’ right to found a family.
According to Elizabeth Angsioco, DSWP National Chair, Ayala Alabang anti-RH ordinance impacts not only the constituents of Ayala Alabang but the country as a whole because of its national implications. Angsioco quotes Atty. Luis Sison who said that they (the Ayala-Alabang Bgy. Council) want this ordinance to become a model for other barangays to follow.
“This should not happen because lives of women are at stake here,” said Angsioco. “What if like-minded officials of poor barangays follow suit? The poor’s access to family planning programs, now already problematic, will get even worse,” she added.
As studies have consistently shown, effective family planning can reduce maternal mortality by at least 32%. “That translates to thousands of women’s lives saved,” she explained.
“We will not allow rich barangay councils to make poor women and their families suffer more. This ordinance should be put in a trash bin where it belongs,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD), a legislators’ organization advocating for the passage of House Bill 4244 or the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2011 said, “this extremist piece of barangay ordinance is bound for oblivion, as already decided by Muntinlupa City Council.” He explains, “it is a cheap propaganda gimmick by ultra-conservative rich individuals, not necessarily living in Ayala Alabang, and is meant to distract us from the real battle which is the swift passage of RH bill.
Peter Wallace in his column today added:
This is an unconstitutional infringement on our private lives and, anyway, is completely unenforceable! If it somehow survives, tomorrow I’ll be the first customer at Mercury Drug in the Commercial Center to buy some condoms—and sign the book. The top lawyers I hire will trash them in court if they try to arrest me.
I suggest they do the only sensible thing and withdraw the ordinance before they become a greater laughing stock of society than they are now. They should then follow that up by resigning; these people don’t deserve to serve us.
What I (and you should, too) vehemently object to is these people trying to impose their myopic views on me. If they don’t want to buy condoms or take contraceptive pills—don’t. I won’t force them to, because I believe we all have a right to our own choices on how we live life. I only wish their parents had used contraceptives.
Twitter also monitored the discussion: (to be updated once I locate the other tweets)
Photo by @InaLimcangco