Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Ateneo President's message on the Ateneo professors and the RH bill

 The Ateneo President's message on the Ateneo professors and the RH bill

20 August 2012

Memo to:       The University Community

Subject:          HB 4244

Together with our leaders in the Catholic Church, the Ateneo de Manila University does not support the passage of House Bill 4244 (The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill).  As many of these leaders have pointed out, the present form of the proposed bill contains provisions that could be construed to threaten constitutional rights as well as to weaken commonly shared human and spiritual values.

Now that the period for amendments is about to begin, I enjoin all in the Ateneo community to continue in-depth study of the present bill, and to support amendments to remove provisions that could be ambiguous or inimical from a legal, moral or religious perspective.

In connection with this, I call attention to the 192 members of our faculty who have grappled with the underlying issues in the context of Catholic social teaching, and who have spoken in their own voice in support of the bill.  Though the University must differ from their position for the reasons stated above, I appreciate their social compassion and intellectual efforts, and urge them to continue in their discernment of the common good.  As there is a spectrum of views on this ethical and public policy issue, I ask all those who are engaged in the Christian formation of our students to ensure that the Catholic position on this matter continues to be taught in our classes, as we have always done.

Should the bill with whatever amendments be passed, we should neither hesitate to bring to the judiciary whatever legal questions we may have nor cease to be vigilant in ensuring that no coercion takes place in implementation.

If there is no easy answer to the concerns that the proposed bill raises or no facile unanimity among divergent views, this only proves the complexity, depth, and sensitivity of these concerns.  Nevertheless, Catholic tradition has always taught that reason and faith are not enemies but allies in the service of God’s truth.  From this tradition, we can draw strength and compassion in our often tortuous journey as persons in community toward the greater glory of God and the service of God’s people.

Jose Ramon T Villarin SJ

see original link below:

Ateneo de Manila University

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


This is my position paper in the proposed RH bill which is now near approval. I am stating here my objections many of which concerns economics:
 1. Population and economic growth has insignificant association. As early as 1966, the 1971 Nobel Prize winner Simon Kuznets studied 63 developed and developing countries from the early 1950s to 1964 and concluded that there was little empirical association between growth rates of population and output per capita, especially within the developing country bloc (Kuznets 1967, 1973). Kuznets saw the basic obstacles to economic growth as arising from delays in adjusting social and political institutions, and viewed population growth, though an impediment, as of secondary importance (ibid., p. 39). 
2. Even without the RH bill the fertility rate in the country is falling. According to the study of Costello and Casterline, the total fertility rate of the Philippines has shown a small but steady decline from 1950s to the present. Women are having fewer children; the birthrate is currently at an average of 3.19, a figure that has held firm for several years.

3. Economic growth shaped the desired family size without intervention from the government. The study of Orbet and Pernia (1999) conclude that further declines in desired family size may require well-targeted human capital investments along with employment-generating economic growth especially formal sector employment for women. On this premise, if the Philippine economy will offer more opportunity and security we can expect families to desire on average not to have more than two children.

4. People face trade offs. This is the first principle of economics according to Mankiw. The scenario of limiting the population the trade-offs will be that labor cost would become costlier due to increasing the cost of production. There will be more elders to tend, straining the medical and pension systems. Japan is a classic example wherein by 2025, it is expected that there will be two dependents for every three workers.  The dwindling Japanese work force would result in lower purchasing power and reduced demand for goods and services. The domestic market will shrink, production will fall, as will the Government’s revenue, forcing it to manage higher medical and pension expenses with a lower income.

5.  Natural law is superior to the law of the land. Today our country is being shaped to be liked the westernized countries whose churches are empty and who has settled for a hedonistic life of maximized pleasure and minimized pain. Once this RH bill becomes a law, the promotion of assisted suicide and euthanasia are not far behind. In the west there are clinics who practice abortions and euthanasia legally. They have perfected the negative attitude about life  As person with faith, the writings of Pope Paul VI, in Humanae vitae, stated that, “If, then, there are serious motives to space out births, which derive from the physical and psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the rhythms immanent in the generative functions for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only and, in this way, to regulate births without offending the moral principles which had been recalled earlier.”(5) Pius XII (1938-58) taught that unless some serious circumstances arise, spouses are obliged to have children. However, he also taught that it is moral for the spouses to limit their family size, or even to refrain from having children altogether, if they have sufficiently serious reasons.


For the love of our country,