The Department of Social Sciences of MMSU-CAS initiated a multidisciplinary forum to tackle House Bill 5043 or the Reproductive Health and Population Development Act, one of the most controversial legislations pending in congress. It was held at the CAS lobby, March 4.
Prof. Mario Singson and Mrs. Marchita Singson represented the Catholic Church, which poses the strongest opposition to the bill. The couple is with the Diocese of Laoag Commission on Family and Life.
Dr. Violeta Alonzo presented her economic analysis on the bill while Prof. Fides Bernardo Bitanga delivered his philosophical discourse.
Also present were lawyer Erme Labayog and Dr. Leonisa Silvestre, MMSU health services chief, to shed light on legal and medical issues respectively.
The bill endeavors to uphold and promote respect for life, informed choice, birth spacing and responsible parenthood in conformity with internationally recognized human rights standards. Supported by development organizations and women’s groups, H.B. 5043 aims to address maternal, child health, and nutrition problems, especially among the poor, by promoting both natural and modern methods of contraception and by providing age-appropriate sex education in public schools.
The Catholic Church only approves of natural methods of family planning and gives more emphasis on responsible parenthood rather than sex education in schools. In its pro-life stance, the church also belies the supposed correlation between overpopulation and poverty.
The bill has generated interest in other higher education institutions. Academicians from universities and colleges have issued statements, mostly favorable, on the proposed legislation.
Dean Joselito Lolinco challenged faculty members and students to organize more public forums where important and pressing issues may be discussed. He stressed that it is an inherent role of mature universities to educate people on issues and catalyze them into action.
Most of the student-participants were students enrolled in the course Society and Culture, which includes discussions on family planning and reproductive health.