Rappler Newscast | December 17, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- The controversial RH Bill passes the Senate and the House on third and final reading.
- Senator Tito Sotto is outvoted and the phrase “safe and satisfying sex” remains in the Senate version of the RH bill.
- Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle warns, the RH bill will have a negative impact on Filipino culture and mentality.
Story 1: RH BILL PASSES SENATE ON 3RD AND FINAL READING
Defying Catholic bishops and the chamber’s leadership, senators approve the controversial Reproductive Health bill.
In a vote of 13-8, the Senate approves the bill on 2nd and third and final reading Monday.
The Senators who voted yes are Arroyo, Allan Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Angara, Defensor-Santiago, Escudero, Guingona, Drilon, Lacson, Legarda, Marcos, Pangilinan, and Recto, while those who voted no are Estrada, Honasan, Pimentel, Revilla, Sotto, Trillanes, Villar and Enrile.
The bill got a boost last week with the House of Representatives passing it on 2nd reading and President Benigno Aquino certifying it urgent.
Aquino’s move allows the Senate to vote on the RH bill both on 2nd and 3rd reading on the same day.
The Senate’s vote comes after Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III introduces 35 amendments to the measure.
Sotto wants to remove “satisfying sex” in the phrase “safe and satisfying sex” in the bill.
He says reproductive health “does not pertain to ‘safe, satisfying sex’ but family, marriage and responsible parenthood.”
But lady senators Santiago, Pia Cayetano, and Loren Legarda say women should not be deprived of their right to satisfying sex.
Santiago adds, “I am a Filipina. I’m also a married woman and I insist whoever is married to me to give me safe and satisfying sex, period.”
Before Monday’s voting, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile already conceded defeat.
He told radio dzBB on Sunday, “My reading is that the pro-RH has the numbers. It looks like it will be passed.”
Ahead of the vote, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda hails the moment as historic.
Story 2: RH BILL PASSES HOUSE ON FINAL READING
After a 14-year delay, the House of Representatives passes the RH bill on 3rd and final reading Monday.
A total of 133 lawmakers voted in favor of the measure while 79 voted against it and 7 abstained.
199 out of 287 lawmakers were present in the voting.
Last December 13, the House of Representatives approved the measure with a slim margin of 113-104-3.
The Philippines is now one step closer to having a Reproductive Health law as the RH Bill also passes the Senate.
The two Houses of Congress vote on the Bill on 3rd reading vote at roughly the same time.
All that's left for the RH Bill is to go through the bicameral conference committee that is tasked to iron out conflicting provisions of the measures and then transmit a final version to the President who can sign it into a law.
Despite staunch opposition from the Catholic Church, lawmakers managed to maintain the numbers to finally pass the measure that has lagged in Congress for the last 14 years.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says the President "certainly" wants to sign the measure into a law before the end of the year.
Story 3: SIMBANG GABI MESSAGE: 'CONTRACEPTION CORRUPTS THE SOUL'
As lawmakers move forward with the Reproductive Health bill, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle warns of the detrimental effect of the RH bill on Filipino culture.
Katherine Visconti reports.
It’s a centuries old tradition -- Simbang Gabi -- the night masses that start 9 days before Christmas.
But it’s not all about spirituality.
Across the country, the faithful are also getting a dose of politics.
The parish priest reads out a pastoral letter signed by Bishop Socrates Villegas of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines about the evils of the Reproductive Health Bill.
The bishops say contraceptives corrupt the soul.
MONSIGNOR ROLANDO DELA CRUZ, SAN FERNANDO DE DILAO PARISH: The Reproductive Health Bill, if passed into law in its present form will put the moral fibre of our nation at risk. As, we, your bishops have said in the past a contraceptive mentality is the mother of an abortion mentality.
The last ditch jab at the RH bill came a day ahead of a Senate vote, which would improve access to contraceptives and bring
sex education to schools.
The human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster says 44%
of pregnancies among the poorest Filipinos are unwanted.
Advocates of the bill want women to have a choice about how many kids they have.
But for over a decade, Catholic bishops have staunchly opposed the bill.
LUIS ANTONIO CARDINAL TAGLE, MANILA ARCHBISHOP: Our appeal is for the Congress people to really listen to the truth and not to listen to just listen to human wisdom or even just to political expediences, but to even look ahead as to what is the effect of all of this on the culture, on the youth?
Culture and Catholicism are closely intertwined in the Philippines.
Roughly 80% of the country is Catholic… an overwhelming majority.
The church is trying to firm up its base with devoted Catholics like those who attend Simbang Gabi.
But alternate views are gaining traction.
As of 2008, 71% of Filipinos wanted the bill passed.
No matter what happens, passing or not passing the bill will affect not only the numbers but the culture of Asia’s largest Catholic country.
LUIS ANTONIO CARDINAL TAGLE, MANILA ARCHBISHOP: Long after we are gone, we will leave behind not just a law but a whole mentality and a whole culture.
Katherine Visconti, Rappler Manila.
Story 4: WOMEN DEFEND 'SAFE AND SATISFYING SEX' PHRASE IN RH BILL
Senator Tito Sotto is outvoted and fails to remove the phrase ‘safe and satisfying sex’ from the Senate version of the RH bill.
Speaking in Rappler’s Google hangout, four modern women can’t agree more.
Bea Cupin reports.
FRANCIS ESCUDERO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: May I inquire from the proponent, my discomfort only arises from the phrase safe and satisfying sex life being included in the law. I’m just not too comfortable with the law saying safe and satisfying, if only that phrase is removed.
What's so scandalous about wanting "safe and satisfying sex" and why does it matter?
Rappler's resident sex writer Ana Santos takes the topic head on, with the help of three equally informed and empowered women.
The line is nothing new. It comes from international conventions on population and development such as the 1994 Cairo Convention and the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing.
But in the Philippines, sexuality is a touchy topic--especially for women.
Freelance photographer Mitch Mauricio, whose work "Karesinda" explores female sexuality, says upbringing and culture are to blame.
MITCH MAURICIO, PHOTOGRAPHER: Before we can actually explore our own sexuality, the first thing is to know ourselves, to know our own vaginas. To know what it actually looks like...
Ana Maria Leal, national program associate for the UN Population Fund says sexuality is key to female and male empowerment.
She says sex talk involves more than just orgasms, the act, contraception, and the like. It's about the right to choose.
ANA MARIA LEAL, UN POP’N FUND NATIONAL PROGRAMME ASSOCIATE: Part of the low condom use can actually be traced, linked to the capacity of women to negotiate for safer sex.
Ana Santos emphasizes the importance of safe sexual practices.
Condom use in the Philippines, for instance, is low. According to the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey, only 4 percent of young women use condoms during their first sexual intercourse.
But a change in perspective is happening.
In the article "State of the Pinay in 2012," Cosmopolitan Philippines finds that its readers are changing attitudes.
When asked whether they would leave a man if the sex was bad, a lot say "yes."
Cosmo Philippines editor in chief Myrza Sison says it's a big change compared to 15 years ago when she first founded Cosmopolitan Philippines.
MYRZA SISON, COSMO PH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Sexuality is undeniably an important aspect of a woman's or a man's or any human being's life for that matter. Having a safe and hopefully more than just satisfying sex life is just as important as having a great love life, or career life, or emotional life.
The four agree: Filipinas need to embrace, understand, and appreciate their sexuality. This way, women are empowered in the bedroom and in other facets of life.
Bea Cupin, Rappler, Manila.
Story 5: SENATE APPROVES THE FOI BILL
The Senate approves the Freedom of Information bill on 3rd and final reading Monday.
Last December 11, the FOI breezed through the Senate on 2nd reading.
Sponsor Senator Gregorio Honasan II says passing the bill on second reading was the easy part.
The Senate version of the FOI bill aims to institute transparency and accountability by giving the public access to government records and information.
The House of Representatives only approved the counterpart bill on 1st reading last week.
House members plan to continue the debates next year.
Story 6: OBAMA ON NEWTOWN SHOOTING: 'THESE TRAGEDIES MUST END'
US President Barack Obama vows to use his power to stop gun massacres like Friday's horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
20 children are gunned down inside Sandy Hook Elementary School when 20-year-old Adam Lanza opened fire with an assault rifle.
Six teachers die trying to protect their students.
In a statement Friday after the massacre, Obama says the children, most of whom were six or seven years old, “had their entire lives ahead of them.”
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: The majority of those who died today were children -- beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers -- men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams…This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter…But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight.
In a memorial service Sunday, Obama offers his condolences to the victims’ families and says his government must do more to prevent similar incidents.
He adds, "We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end."
Grief mixes with new calls for action with Obama under pressure to renew a ban on assault weapons and ammunition.
Newtown is the fourth mass shooting under Obama's presidency.
It is the second deadliest school shooting in US history after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party sweeps the polls Sunday, resulting in the defeat of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of the Democratic Party of Japan.
Shinzo Abe, who served as prime minister between 2006 and 2007, pledges to take a tough position in territorial disputes against China.
He says the 8 disputed islands known as Senkaku are Japan’s “inherent territory” and the LDP seeks to -quote- “stop the challenge” from China.
At number 7, an increasing number of Filipinos are regaining confidence in the Philippine economy.
According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the country’s overall Consumer Confidence Index in the last quarter of 2012 increased.
This positive outlook is driven mainly by low-income Filipinos who cite improved pay, better job opportunities and better governance.
At number 8, The body of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who killed herself after a hoax phone call from Australian radio station DJs arrives in India for burial.
The DJs pretended to be British royals inquiring about the Duchess of Cambridge.
BBC reports her body was brought from the United Kingdom by her husband and two children.
She was found dead on December 7 near the hospital in London where the duchess was hospitalized over morning sickness.
She will be buried in her hometown of Mangalore in Karnataka state.
And at number 10, BBC reports worldwide, people are living longer but with higher levels of sickness, citing results of a study of the global burden of disease.
Malnourishment which was a top disease in 1990 was replaced by high blood pressure, smoking and drinking alcohol as among the leading causes of sickness.
According to the 5-year project study, heart disease caused one in four deaths worldwide in 2010.
The research leader from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington says -quote- “There’s been a progressive shift from early death to chronic disability. What ails you isn’t necessarily what kills you.”
Story 8: DONAIRE DEFEATS ARCE IN 3RD ROUND KNOCKOUT
The 'Filipino Flash' Nonito Donaire comes home with his 30th victory in a row Sunday, Manila time, after successfully defending the World Boxing Organization super bantamweight title against Mexican veteran Jorge Arce.
Donaire knocks out Arce in the 3rd round with a left hook, dropping the Mexican to the canvas for the second time in that round.
With the win, Donaire completes his four-fight tour of duty in 2012 and now has a legitimate claim to "Fighter of the Year" honors.
Story 9: PINOY SUPERMAN IN GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS
A Filipino Superman lookalike now holds a Guinness world record -- but not for his uncanny resemblance to the comic superhero.
Herbert Chavez had 13 surgical procedures to make him look like Superman, from his chin down to his thighs.
But he gets an entry in the Guinness book for having the largest collection of Superman memorabilia in the world.
The record keeping body only accredits 1,253 officially licensed items out of Chavez’s 5,000-piece collection.
Chavez, popular among the cosplay community, is busy promoting his new book ‘Horsalinda’.