The issue is not about Reproductive Health Bill but on how one posh Barangay in the South implemented and pushing an ordinance where even in the congress is still pending. Barangay Ayala, Alabang with all the richness surrounding the village, rich and famous residents with a secular and international homeowners implemented an ordinance known as “The protection of the unborn child, Ordinance 01-2011”.
March 19, 2011, at 9 o clock in the morning, the second hearing was held at Sylvia Lina Theatre inside the De Lasalle Zobel School auditorium. People are wearing either yellow, white or purple. Yellow or with Purple for those who are against the ordinance which is obviously the Reproductive Health Bill supporters and White for those who are pro ordinance.
Inside the entrance of the auditorium, there are papers that one need to sign for their name and address. There’s also a sign that says “anti ordinance” and “pro ordinance”. The auditorium is full and of course with different colors and divided by a rope which former representative and resident of Brgy. Ayala, Alabang Ruffy Biazon said that before the ordinance there is harmony but now a rope is dividing the community. On the left side towards the stage are the supporters of the ordinance and for anti in the right side.
The air-conditioned facility is cold and the place is well maintained showing how fortunate and privileged the students who are attending in that school or showing how lucky those parents who could send their kids to this kind of learning facility. The panel for pro ordinance is composed of Atty. Luis Sison, Dr. Angelita Miguel Aguirre and Former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel while for the Anti ordinance are Former Representative Ruffy Biazon, Former Solicitor General Frank Chavez and Atty. Mario Aguinaldo.
In the audience only anti ordinance have supporters and representatives from the Commission on Human Rights, Department of Health, Board of Pharmacist also present for anti ordinance were Former Secretaries of Department of Health Esperanza Cabral and Alberto Romualdez, Former General Roberto Biazon, Likhaan Secretary General Dr. Junice Demeterio- Melgar, Former Rep. Riza Hontiveros Baraquiel, Representative of Senator Pia Cayetano who didn’t make it to attend because it was her birthday that day, Atty. Beth Pangalanan of University of the Philippines, One of the organizers of the rally and Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines Chair Elizabeth Angsioco, Ramon San Pascual who is the executive director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc., a group advocating the passage of the Reproductive Health bill, Filipino Freethinkers President Ryan Tani, Aynila CEO Alvin Dakis, Janina Gillian Santos of DIR advocacy, Ana Santos of Sex and Sensibilities, Kevin Punzalan of De LaSalle University and many more who are champions and front liners for the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill.
The Public hearing about the ordinance have three issues that each from both sides need to answer and these are the following:
1. The alleged conflict in the prohibitions in the ordinance with the family planning program of the Department of Health.
2. The assumed right of any individual to access contraceptives and family planning methods allowed by the Department of Health.
3. Possible infringement on the right of pharmaceutical firms to dispense and sell contraceptives which are not deemed illegal.
Both sides per panelist have given three minutes each to answer the issue.
Here are some of the striking answers of the panelist for question number 1:
Ruffy Biazon- “If approved by the Food and Drug Industry it’s not abortifacient”.
Atty Luis Sison- “Today is a red letter day to Barangay Ayala, Alabang. Defenders of 01-2011 ordinance, we have called Taliban, Idiot…but not Anti Life….”
Frank Chavez- “ Why Atty Sison have an introduction while us we didn’t got a chance to have introduction but to answer the issue?…”
Aquilino Pimentel- “I will start at 9:15 am”, he jokingly said because of the time restriction.
Here are some of the striking answers of the panelist for question number 2:
Frank Chavez- “Thank You for referring us as the right side.” When the chair of the hearing told everyone that the first answer for the second issue will be from the right side first, but after Chavez comment he said, “My right side.”
Dr. Angelita Miguel Aguirre- “Contraceptive is not a cure for disease, it’s a prevention…”
Aquilino Pimentel- “It’s an issue with the use of reason. Ordinance is okay if it infringes any rights.”
Ruffy Biazon- “I am not a lawyer, the ordinance is against the Constitution, Republic Act 5921.”
Frank Chavez- “We are here not to talk about Reproductive Health Bill, we leave that to Congress. We are here for the ordinance.”
“ Atty. Mario Aguinaldo. “The law said Food and Drug Administration and Department of Health are the only ones who will tell us about abortifacients drugs.”
Here are some of the striking answers of the panelist for question number 3:
Ruffy Biazon- “ Only FDA has the right to classify whether condoms or pills are abortifacient or not…the barangay likes to go above for what is mandated by law.”
Atty. Mario Aguinaldo – “ “It violates a lot of law, one is about the goal of the economy, equal distribution, right to life..we need to be equal.”
Frank Chavez- “What makes the barangay Ayala, Alabang so special by prohibiting the selling of condoms and requires prescription. The ordinance didn’t recognized people who cannot afford the prescription. Challenge must be discussed in a proper court.”
Atty. Luis Sison- “ I didn’t know about FDA did public meetings on what is the abortifacient or not”.
Dr. Angelita Miguel Aguirre talks about the reality of ovulation. But one striking words that made some listeners curious is when she said “Magtatagalog na lang ako at baka hindi maintindihan ng mga nasa labas.”
Aquilino Pimentel- “It does not protect the unborn without the presence of the duly license physician, that is why prescription is needed.” Also the former Senate minority leader, said there is nothing irregular about the ordinance, the claim that the ordinance violates the rights of the people in the Barangay has no basis.
After the answers, there was an allotted 50 questions from the audience, twenty five for each group. But because the meeting is only till 12 noon, only few have been entertained. The following are some of the highlights;
Representative of the Commission of Human Rights- the Reproductive Health Bill supports the natural family Planning, Comprehensive health information and the barangay ordinance opposed and interferes the public life of the resisdence and their privacy.
Representative from the Board of Pharmacy-“The Brgy. Ayala Alabang ordinance is contradictory to the existing law”.
Atty. Beth Pangalanan of University of the Philippines said that the ordinance violates the constitution, life and liberty. She said that Life of the mothers must be protected first not only the unborn. She said about some article from the constitution that the couple has the right to choose the method of family planning not the barangay and even the name of the ordinance is wrong because it only says the right of the unborn.
Representative of Senator Pia Cayetano- “ The brgy does not have the power to execute such ordinance.”
Barangay council spokesman Luis Sison earlier said the ordinance was already being enforced, but Alfred Xerez-Burgos Jr., the real estate magnate and the Brgy. Ayala, Alabang Chairman said though the ordinance was passed, it was not yet being enforced pending approval by the city council.
Meanwhile, Netizens are curious about what will happen to the ordinance and the topic for every Reproductive Health pages in Facebook. One page that is getting a lot of discussion about this ordinance is the “Reproducive Health Bill, I Support “ page in Facebook with this link