The Guidon: Stay away from ‘dismissive language’ in RH debate

Bea Cupin
Universities need to be open to "dissent and dialogue," The Guidon says

PRO-RH. Ateneo professors Mary Racelis (left) and Marita Castro Guevara (right) explain the statement by 14 Ateneo professors supporting the RH bill. File photo by Paterno Esmaquel II

MANILA, Philippines – Even before the University of Santo Tomas’ The Varsitarian came out with a scathing opinion-editorial article on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, another school publication called on both pro- and anti-RH Bill advocates to stay away from “harsh, dismissive language and rhetorical barbs.”

In an editorial published on September 15, The Guidon, the official school publication of the Ateneo de Manila University, called on defenders and detractors of the bill to stick to facts in their arguments.

“Time and again, statistics have been disregarded and research has been misrepresented—not to mention plagiarized—in the effort to fight the bill. Ignorant and condemnatory statements have been made, invoking a rigid kind of Catholic theologizing completely out of touch with temporal realities.”

The Guidon also took into account the religious standpoint, saying “the plurality of views constituting the debate must be taken into account—sweeping fundamentalist positions do not sufficiently resolve the complex issues the bill tackles.”

The Guidon criticized some members of the Catholic Church for their reaction to the stand of the 192 pro-RH Ateneo professors.

“The immediate outcry against the professors summarily dismissed the argument that the bill stands in line with Catholic social teaching,” The Guidon said in its editorial “Pass the RH Bill.”

The Guidon criticized the CBCP for “[seemingly believing] that universities are merely channels of indoctrination” and highlighted the need for universities to be “institutions that foster intelligent discourse.”

“In reality, that is exactly what the nation needs more of—openness to dissent and dialogue. There must be room to discuss issues rationally for the country to progress.”

The student paper also declared its support for the controversial RH Bill. “The enactment into law of the measure will be a defining moment in our history, and will also be seen as a triumph of rational and compassionate lawmaking.”

In contrast, The Varsitarian article, which went viral on Monday, October 8, lambasted the stand of the Ateneo professors and the 45 De La Salle University faculty members

According to The Varsitarian, their respective universities “treated them with kid gloves.”

“They have clung on to their faculty membership in Catholic institutions. They want to have their cake and eat it, too. They’re intellectual mercenaries, nothing more, nothing less,” The Varsitarian said.

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.