Punchline

When men are worthless

EFG

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

THE debate on the Reproductive Health BILL has gone bonkers. It has been reduced to name-calling and worse, to claims and counter-claims of what God is like, what makes a good Catholic or a Christian. From where I sit, it’s a no-win situation type of debate where protagonists shout their arguments hoarse and still no one benefits from the exchange. Not the government. Not the Catholic clergy. Surely not the unlettered public. It’s a “go or bust” for each position.

I wish someone would come forward to define the middle ground. We need to see a compromise to help intended beneficiaries, mainly women needing maternal health care without bordering on issues of morality. Will someone please stand up to define what could accommodate the positions of both the government and the church and still serve our mothers in need?

Can’t the Church accept the truism that it is the mandate of government to provide health services that are deemed vital to its citizens who need to survive decently? Can’t the government, being democratic in form, stipulate that none of its citizenry shall be compelled to adopt, promote and use any of the services provided by government that are deemed contrary to their religious faith?

Then we would have a boring law that will benefit all.

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But there’s one thing about the RH bill that I find amusing if not unusual.

The RH bill, being an issue on reproduction, has nothing about the role and responsibilities of men. It’s all about women and the role they play as a parent. But isn’t man the main culprit for a woman’s conception?

The only obvious reference to man (male) in both House and Senate versions is the availability of condoms for contraception purposes. Hmmm…I’m beginning to wonder if our legislators (yes, particularly the men) think that condom (in various colors and sizes) is all what man represents on the issue of reproductive health and population growth in this country.

Are men simply deemed the unthinking beings whose rightful claim to nature and mankind is what’s hanging between their legs… how and when it should be sheathed or unsheathed being lethal, dangerous or addictive organ that unleashes millions of sperm in one blow against a helpless woman’s egg?

The two versions talk of motherhood and parenthood, nothing about fatherhood. And wonder of all wonders, men have not risen to the occasion (forgive the pun) for this benign exclusion, like worthless morsels that belong to a dump.

On the other hand, women legislators appear to have defaulted as well on what role men should play in a woman’s reproductive health.  The proposed law provides for penalties against individuals, offices and facilities that fail to comply with the spirit of the law yet nothing is being discussed about a man (whether a husband, a boyfriend or a rapist) who forces himself on a woman (his wife, girlfriend or object of his desire) despite knowing that she is ovulating and, therefore, refused to have sex. Why aren’t the women suggesting that men who endangered their lives with childbearing and/ or fail or refuse to support the child they’ve caused to be conceived in their wombs, be penalized?

I thought these are some of the vital issues that are missed out in the emotional debate.  Of course, I realize that I now risk being viciously vilified, if not crucified, by my fellow men (take that literally) who believe that the RH bill should be left alone as crafted (talking about women only), and not give it an added dimension as I am suggesting here.

But guys, fair is fair.

The fact is we are responsible for making a woman pregnant, today’s euphemism for reproductive health. (Ok…ok…I submit that some women asked for it and therefore, you could not be held responsible…but that’s another contentious issue like morality).

I do wonder where and how this debate on RH bill will end.

*     *     *     *     *

CHEEKY MAYOR. What is it about Dagupan Mayor Benjie Lim that makes him cheeky when confronted with reports of scandals tainted with corruption in the city hall?

His most recent was his off-the-cuff reaction to speculations about the controversial group travel of kapitans who, at a drop of a hat, decided to join him and four councilors on a 5-day tour to Singapore (not a cruise tour?): “Inggit lang sila!” (referring to those who dare question the source of funding for the group travel).

He further insults the intelligence of his constituents by belaboring an obvious argument, i.e., citing Kapitan Saysi Samson, who belongs to an affluent family and whose father belongs to the majority in the city council), as having the means to spend for his own travel, etc. and applies the situation to all. What belies his own argument is he did not dare mention other kapitans who obviously don’t have the means to spend for such a travel unless the trip was “sponsored”.

Then what was tragically laughable was his contention that the trip being a “Lakbay Aral” activity, the group learned how Singapore revived its river.  LOL! And to justify the purpose of the trip, a consensus was reached by the group that efforts will be lent to revive the city’s rivers! LOL!

And he now expects the city to take his word. LOL!

But seriously, I believe his hubris and arrogance today is simply a result of his having had his way and ate his cake ever since he became mayor in 2001. He has so far gotten away with nary a slap on the wrist for the questionable transactions that he made the city government enter into, among them the lost P16 M for the failed sanitary landfill project, the overpriced construction of the Malimgas Market, the overpriced streetlights, useless purchase of the MC Adore Hotel, overpriced dredging machine, etc.

And as of today, it would appear he will get away with the illegal release of calamity funds and the overpriced purchases for the feeding program last year unless someone finally files a complaint against him for violating the country’ s anti-graft and corrupt practices law.

Until then, I guess the city deserves to be told off by Mayor Benjie: “Inggit lang kayo!”

*     *     *     *     *

CRIME OF CORRUPTION KNOWS NO TENURE. Here are interesting news items about the long reach of the law and justice that caught up with corrupt officials long after they left their posts.

The Sandiganbayan not only sent a former mayor of Montevista in Compostela to jail up to 6 years but also ordered him to reimburse the town in the amount of P6,356,763.44 representing the overprice that he directed the town to pay to a favored contractor ostensibly for the Botika ng Bayan.

In another case, the members of a Bids and Awards committee of a town were found guilty of rigging a bidding and were also meted a sentence,

What was common about them was the decisions came after more than 7 years after the complaints were filed, long after they left their posts.

Morale of the story: Leaving government service after violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act does not extinguish the crime.

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