By Joey Natividad
NAGA CITY (18-Aug-2012/BicolToday.com) – Groups representing the women sector, and gays and lesbian groups join the charade in lobbying for the passage of the RH Bill, raising specific concerns directly affecting their causes.
“The poor women and mothers are the most directly affected sector that must be the main focus on the RH Bill,” says Gabriela Women’s Party, in response to side issues erupting up, while the RH Bill is being attacked to prevent its passage into law by the conservative religious sector.
Gabriela Partylist Representative Emmi de Jesus, said by email, the provision of free, quality, and sustainable medical benefits for pregnant women is the most important objective of the RH Bill.
“Women must be given important concern, not only in election period,” said de Jesus, in reaction to the growing controversy over the RH Bill, which has sparked numerous side issues and questions raised by pro-RH and anti-RH groups.
Meanwhile, the Progressive Organization of Gays (ProGay) said that in the midst of the name callings and strident trading of barbs between the pro-RH and anti-RH camps, the call to reject safer sex is a very dangerous message for the youth and many Most At Risk Populations, such as gay men and transgender women, because the Philippines is one of the seven countries where HIV rates are actually rising very rapidly.
This reaction came about when BLOGGERS and Twitters mocked the anti-RH slogans emblazoned in many signs that cropped up at Saturday’s church-led rally at the EDSA shrine, particularly the message that said “No to Safe Sex, Yes to Saved Sex!”.
A gay human rights group was concerned that beneath the funny innuendos, the general calls against reproductive health can result in even higher rates of HIV infections among Filipinos.
“With all due respect to the opinions of the anti-RH camp, we find the call to stop safe sex and substitute it for what some religious radicals call ‘saved sex’ very irresponsible. It is very dangerous to preach that sex without protection is saved, and this will only make sure that transmission of human immunodeficiency virus will be very effective even among faithful partners,” said Clyde Pumihic, ProGay spokesperson, informed BicolToday.com by email.
ProGay cited that in the month of May alone, the Department of Health registered 273 new infections, of which 4 out of 5 cases were through homosexual contact, making the number of cases in the country rise to 9,669. Unprotected sexual contact accounted for 268 percent of the cases and 87 percent of them are “males having sex with other males.”
Many Facebook and Twitter netizens have been debating online, making jokes, and using the picture to make graphic memes based on the ambiguous “Saved Sex” concept, and now the hashtag #savedsex is even trending on Twittter.
Roman Catholic conservatives has, in doctrine, proscribed the use of condoms for contraception, and the church hierarchy has given blessings only on natural sexual intercourse without condoms, which may have provided the idea for the sign maker to call for ‘saved sex.’
Pumihic also defended and uphold the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender Filipinos (LGBTs) as an affected sector.
“ProGay calls for intelligent discussions on reproductive health, because LGBTs are also benefiting from the positive provisions of the RH bill. We support the calls to terminate the debates on August 7 in Congress, and we, the LGBTs, call for allowing the House of Representatives to vote either for, or against the measure,” Pumihic added.
ProGay also criticized the Office of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) for removing the non-discrimination of LGBTs from the House Bill 4244 version of the RH bill. The LEDAC indicated that President Aquino himself wanted to strike out ‘sexual orientation’ from Section 2, which is the Declaration of Principles.
“Removing sexual orientation from the RH bill will remove guarantees that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Filipinos who need reproductive health care can be turned away by both public and private health care providers,” Pumihic warned. [BicolToday.com]
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