Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Time to fight for our beliefs

Some readers are asking: is there no danger that our lawmakers will sacrifice the right of Catholics to live their family life according to their faith to the demands and dictates of the international anti-population lobby, just as Malacanang’s “peace” negotiators have tried to give away the lands owned and occupied by Christians in Mindanao to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the name of a bogus peace?

It seems an unfair question, but let’s understand why it is being put. Even as Mindanao is being ripped apart after the government tried to give away “ancestral lands” to the MILF as the “homeland of the Bangsamoros,” there is a very clear organized effort to stampede the Congress into approving a proposed “reproductive health” legislation, which is an utter abomination to law-abiding Filipinos, notably the Catholics

In the past few weeks, I have been “guesting” in various forums, and it has become clear to me that it is not a small advocacy group that is pushing the “reproductive health” agenda, but something global and infinitely more sinister and insidious. It is an ideological group determined to inflict the worst form of imperialism upon the Filipino people.

In many of these forums, the “moderator” is usually a supporter of population control and tries to push his or her bias, instead of simply complying with his or her job description. Whenever there are sponsors, they usually include a condoms manufacturer or distributor or an entity called Philippine Legislators Committee for Population and Development (PLCPD), which was not created by Congress.

The PLCPD declares on its website (http// that it was established in December 1989 as a “non-stock, non-profit foundation dedicated to the formulation of viable public policies requiring legislation on population management and socio-economic development.” It lists several senators and congressmen as members. Its donor agencies include UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, and David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

All these donors are actively engaged in promoting population control. PLCPD’s executive director is a scholar-grantee of the Packard Foundation. A recent press statement attributed to the Foundation complained that the Philippine government had stopped buying condoms.

To which the appropriations committee of the House of Representatives chaired by Rep. Edcel Lagman had an instant reply. The committee promptly approved a whooping P3.4 billion funding for the highly questionable bill, of which Lagman himself is the principal author. Except for tuberculosis, which gets some meager funding, there is no similar funding to address the seven leading killers that daily kill at least 300 out of every 100,000 women.

The appropriation for reproductive health reads like one mega sales contract for the official purchase of condoms and contraceptives with the leading manufacturers and distributors. Better than any congressional insertion, which is the other name for the congressmen’s “pork barrel.”

In my nine years as Senator, mostly as Senate majority leader, from 1992 to 2001, I had never heard of the PLCPD. It did not circulate any advocacy document in the Senate. Today, it seems to have acquired an ubiquitous presence, not only in Congress and but also in various forums where the reproductive health issue is talked about.

Its executive officer was among over 40 NGO resource persons who swamped the last Senate hearing with their highly aggressive push for the Senate reproductive health bills. He gave the principal statement in favor of the House bill in a recent UP forum, where one of the co-authors was a participant. His input was not all that significant, and perhaps we could stretch the meaning of the word “advocacy” and simply call it that.

But what he and his organization represent in the entire process, and the amazing space which the members of Congress appear to have given them in their legislative work should disturb anyone who has any notion of an independent country’s sovereign rights. Advocacy and lobbying are legal activities, provided certain requirements are met; but active intervention in the legislative work of Congress by outsiders is certainly not.

Now, the PLCPD staff is commonly and casually credited with the drafting of the various bills filed by the different authors in the two Houses. Even the most widely denounced House substitute bill, which consolidates four component bills into one, after only one public hearing, is attributed to this group. That bill should have been put together by the Joint Committees on Health and on Population and Family Relations, to which the original bills had been referred. Or, more specifically, by a Technical Working Group created by the joint committees for that purpose. Not so; the PLCD staff did it.

Of course, this will be denied. But the uniformity of concepts and language – the same appalling rhetoric in the explanatory notes and in the body of the bills –is utterly conclusive. It’s one assembly line; you don’t have to be a literary Sherlock Holmes to see it.

Is there no law against it? The very idea of a foreign entity or someone working for a foreign entity actively messing up with the work of Congress is so unthinkable that neither the Constitution nor the Rules of either House found it necessary to talk about it. The law does not have to say anything where the matter is so clear to the plainest common sense.

But acting from sheer abundance of caution, Batas Pambansa 39, otherwise known as the Foreign Agents Act of 1979, requires entities like PLCPD to perform certain acts before they can engage in any lobbying activity. Of course, this is not merely lobbying but actual intervention in the internal work of Congress. Under BP 39, which I authored together with then Minister (now Senator) Juan Ponce Enrile in the Batasang Pambansa, the PLCPD must first register as a “foreign agent” before it can circulate any position on any issue before Congress.

Why foreign agent? Because foreign agent is “any person who acts or agrees to act as political consultant, public relations counsel, publicity agent, information representative, or as agent, servant, representative or attorney for a foreign principal or any domestic organization subsidized directly or indirectly in whole or in part by a foreign principal.”

All the donor agencies listed by PLCPD on its website are foreigners. The agenda the PLCPD is pursuing from the same sources is likewise foreign---a global policy of population control inspired by the 1974 secret U.S. document, National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200, otherwise known as the Kissinger Report, which seeks to reduce the family size to two children (worldwide) by the year 2000..

The title of that Report “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests” says clearly and without any equivocation in whose interest the global population reduction and the family downsizing are for. The contents reveal enough of what is to be done. Encourage local leaders of developing countries to be in the forefront and to take credit for any success. Make extensive use of the mass media and other information systems, particularly among “large and illiterate rural communities.”

So scratch PLCPD’s skin a little, and you’ll see the awesome coalition of foreign eugenicists and Malthusians trying to push their anti-life and anti-family program in the Philippines.

The senators and congressmen who have signed up may or may not know all this at all. So with the brand and customary nationalists who are otherwise quick to denounce foreign intervention in our internal affairs.

This is a good time for them to reexamine their position, and try to ward off the most vicious form of imperialism that has tried to latch on to our innermost lives as a people. This is a good time for all thoughtful Filipinos who want to live their personal lives according to their moral values and religious beliefs to come together and see what can be done.

A violent clash of values may have become unavoidable.

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