Last week I was in an audience listening to the key and most influential health care leaders in this country. One of the politicians from Alabang told a story that gave me hope for the future. It said a lot that this influential man stood in front of his colleagues ( many of whom remain against the RH Bill )  telling a story of change

He said……

I am pondering reproductive and population health and how it relates to my province.


“When I am asked about birth control I am learning to state what I believe….

The first ten days and the last ten days of a woman’s cycle….. I am pro life.

The middle days…. I am pro choice.”

And, to me, this politician’s statement says he is pondering his belief (decision one) on birth control, contraception, and population. It says he is a Catholic with a conscious because he is looking at the days of a woman’s cycle in relationship to how he was taught by the church the natural rhythm method (decision two).  And, that he is brave enough to use of the words PRO CHOICE (decision three).   He understands the Philippines are facing health and economic problems related to too many mouths to feed.

Outside of this country, a person from a more modern Catholic society or politician whose constituency is comprised of more ethnic, racial, and religious diversity may respond with criticism of this gentleman’s very publically neutral comment. The criticism might come because common western belief is that politicians must take a stand and hold to their ideals. What an outsider may not culturally understand is that in the Philippines, just raising this issue or responding to this issue can be political, professional and moral suicide.

On this day in front of so many of the country’s leaders, this man was making a statement of choice diplomatically and clearly. He was saying he is honest and serious about evaluating the issue:  That he is coming to terms with his feelings.

His statement a huge step forward for one man in one very conservative religious Catholic state.

Similar to the early days of Roe and Wade in the USA— those for PRO CHOICE had much harder political career tracks  than those who were PRO LIFE.  Having lived in and out of this country for thirty years I have learned the politics of Catholics, the dominance of the church, and the naivety of the Filipino (of all economic levels) on health care issues.

For me to hear this male politician so clearly express his view in a single statement on the RH issue was both surprising and thoughtful. His comparison to increasing/and or decreasing pregnancy risk by having sex with CHOICE  tells me,  he too, accepts the fact that men and women take too many risks having sex at times of fertility, ‘risky moments” and the consequence of their action is more children than less, more spaced closely than safely farther away.

I may be reading more into his statement , call it wishful listening…..But, to me he was definitely infering  that he knows that condoms and contraception are the CHOICE in 2011 , no longer natural planning methods.

The Filipino’s are clever with words. They are people who joke easily and laugh much. They are story tellers and comedians. And, by nature they approach conflict with humor. To get the point across, few words need to be stated to convey the message.

I applaud him for being brave face this audience with even the shortest inference. I believe the listeners heard his message and left the room remembering CHOICE.

He planted a seed in their minds to consider all options. And, with his short humorous statement, in the Filipino way, he gave me hope…..

Less children , further spaced apart by using contraception ….



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