There is an old joke on the difference between a parachute and a condom that goes like this: When a parachute gets punctured, the man dies. When a condom gets punctured, the man (or baby) lives. While this may be funny to some people, those who are for natural family planning methods would frown on the attempt to make light of a serious, nay, a life-and-death issue.
Seriously, because of the RH Bill, the condom has taken centerstage once again. The RH Bill or Reproductive Bill is about a national policy on reproductive health, responsible parenthood and population development. Although the bill is not only about condoms and contraceptives, the section about it and its free distribution is one of the causes of controversy. It has become like a boxing bout of Pro-life versus Pro-choice part V or an unending bad B movie sequel. There are several RH bills filed by their respective proponents:
- House Bill 96 – filed by Rep. Edcel Lagman
- House Bill 101 – by Rep. Janette Garin
- House Bill 513 – by Reps. Kaka Bag-ao and Walden Bello
- House Bill 1160 – by Rep. Rodolfo Biazon
- House Bill 1520 – by Rep. Augusto Syjuco
- House Bill 3387 – by Reps. Emerenciana De Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan, and
- Senate Bill 2378 - by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
There is no issue as divisive and as hotly debated at the moment in the Philippines as the RH Bill. It so hogs our attention that we have forgotten the other things that have beset the country, like the bungling of the Quirino grandstand hostage crisis, the Vietnam tactless gaffe, the fine tuned proclamations, the 5M DOT launch for ‘Pilipinas Kay Gaya gaya,’ education budget cut protests and even jueteng! We don’t even fret about a looming Korean war and a probable oil crisis.
The RH Bill issue is the story of Conrado Domingo and his family. Known as Condom to many, he strikes one as sleek, smooth and slippery. He is single and remains childless unless he sheds his skin (or gets punctured) sooner or later. He reeks with fruity fragrances such as strawberry, orange and banana. He loves mint and chocolate and comes in many colors. He is listed as small, medium, large and extra large depending on one’s endowments or givens. He is a stickler for safety and protection. He deactivated his twitter account when someone tweeted him “you suck!” His motto in life is “No Glove, No Love.” His high profile friends include L.A. Laker’s center, Pau Gasol and Risa Honteveros. He is active in the Manila party scene. His friends organizedExcommunication Party at Adarna Food and Culture, Quezon City for him.
He is unpopular to priests unlike his boring distant cousin Abner “Abs” Tain. Recently, he found a new best friend named Pope Benedict because of his work against HIV and AIDS. Bishops Oscar protested that the Church’s highest leader was only misquoted and his words were opportunistically misused. With this development,ProPinoy.net said in a prayer: “Thy condom come, thy pill be done.” Pro and Anti have swapped insults and called each other names: Satan and Damaso (a name Carlos Celdran was jailed for). To the Pro-RH Bill people, he is the savior of the 3P’s; pregnancy, population and poverty. To the Anti-RH Bill people, he and his family are evil, unconstitutional and unnecessary. Conrado Domingo enjoys the company of Filipino Freethinkers, Philippine Commission on Women and the Population Commission. Condom’s Uncle Seks Ed, a teacher by profession is the most controversial family member. This is because he wants to teach grade school children about the birds and the bees and the flowers and a lot more. They are the most talked about family, lately dislodging the Aquinos. People are divided on whom to side on.
Conrado Domingo enjoys popularity similar to the President’s according to latest Pulse Asia survey (False Asia to others). In anyone's stat index, a 69% favorable response is high and a morale booster. The kinky number prompted @comm_larrazabal to tweet: “Isn't it coincidence that the percentage of people who favor the RH Bill is 69%?” There is no truth to the rumor that the high percentage is a result of Gloria Arroyo’s Anti-RH stand. Former President and now Congressman GMA is a co-author of House Bill 13 or an Act providing for the safety and protection of the unborn child. The principal author is Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez. Incidentally, the number 13 is considered unlucky.
Of course there are others objections. Filipino sports icon and newbie legislator Manny Pacquiao has verbalized he is not a fan: “Hindi ako pabor sa RH… kasi marami kaming magkakapatid. Sa Bible wala naman sinabing limitahan ang bilang ng anak.” Paul Farol also opined that good education and a job with some upward mobility is a better contraceptive than whatever you can get over the counter or from health clinics.
Conrado Domingo has a lot of allies including House Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the main proponents of the RH Bill. His Excellency President Aquino is also known and should be supported for “standing firm against the Catholic hierarchy in his advocacy for responsible parenthood and contraceptive use based on freedom of informed choice,” according to Lagman.
Conrado Domingo is not getting any younger, although some may protest he's ageless. He pleads for wider acceptance and more influence. It is 2010 already. He’s tried and tested and no longer has to prove anything. He’s been around even before Ferdinand Marcos’ 1967 PopCom. He feels he is important and believes that a law is needed to make him stronger. He welcomes the Department of Health’ plan dubbed “May Plano Ako” which is designed by the US in line with the country’s goal to achieve the country's Millennium Development Goals or MDGs. The positive thing that the RH Bill has achieved is the increased awareness.
This is the story of Conrado Domingo, RH Bill advocate. Are you with him? Know before you say “No." Don’t just guess when you say “Yes.”
Photos are screen shots of the tweets of @Anthony_Andres, @comm_larrazabal and @blogwatchdotph.