Last week, I came across with this facebook page outcrying to free Carlos Celdran. And it has been a hot topic for the past few days.

Without reading much of its content, I thought it was just a fun (fan) page as I only know Celdran as a tourist guide. And never had I thought of any reason why he will be imprisoned.

What did Celdran do?

As reported, Celdran was detained when he stood in the middle of Manila Cathedral Church lifting a placard that read “DAMASO.” It’s about his strong advocacy to impose Reproductive Health Bill and condemnation to the Catholic church for being against it.

Stand of the Catholic church

It is said that around 80% percent of the Filipino people is Catholic, and I think this is a large factor why opinions of the Catholic church (as represented by CBCP) always matter in this kind of issue.

“The Church is just being true to Christ and to the Gospel…any artificial means to control human body especially in its fertility is contrary to the Gospel…They are reacting against the stand of the Church but we cannot change the truth. This is not being narrow minded but being true to the Gospel…This is actually the source of tension from everywhere because the Church is coming from the truth of the Gospel and not from the convenience of the world as it were.”

– Fr. Melvin Castro, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (July 15th of 2008)

“Any member of the legislature has no authority to make laws that are immoral or that violates the rights of an individual…They could not change the operations manual of the people, that is what they call considerations of humanity which are outside the realm of legislation…Legislators could not meddle (on this issue) because being a parent, being a person and the right to have a family did not come from civil authority. It is a natural right…we did not create ourselves. So if we are created there are laws that dictate on how we should live and this is the natural law.”

– Atty. Jo Imbong, CBCP Legal Office (July 15th of 2008)

“the CBCP will not change its position on the RH bill because its provisions are anti-family and anti-life…especially protecting life in abortion”

– Sorsogon Bishop Arturo M. Bastes, SVD (May 18th of 2009)

And maybe to sum up their statements around – Catholic church is for natural family planning only.

See also CBCP official statement On the Government’s Revitalized Promotion of Condoms and CBCP defends position vs repro health bills.

What does Reproductive Health Bill says?

The debate on RH Bill has just been awakened again as the topic was already up ever since. In the Reproductive health bill: Facts, fallacies posted on September 3, 2008, Rep. Edcel Lagman as  the principal author, clearly presented the purpose and scope of the said bill.

The reproductive health (RH) bill promotes information on and access to both natural and modern family planning methods, which are medically safe and legally permissible. It assures an enabling environment where women and couples have the freedom of informed choice on the mode of family planning they want to adopt based on their needs, personal convictions and religious beliefs.

The bill does not have any bias for or against either natural or modern family planning. Both modes are contraceptive methods. Their common purpose is to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Coverage of RH.

(1) Information and access to natural and modern family planning

(2) Maternal, infant and child health and nutrition

(3) Promotion of breast feeding

(4) Prevention of abortion and management of post-abortion complications

(5) Adolescent and youth health

(6) Prevention and management of reproductive tract infections, HIV/AIDS and STDs

(7) Elimination of violence against women

(8) Counseling on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health

(9) Treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers

(10) Male involvement and participation in RH;

(11) Prevention and treatment of infertility and

(12) RH education for the youth.

Which also includes or focus on the following:

Strengthening of Popcom, Capability building of community-based volunteer workers, Midwives for skilled birth attendance, Emergency obstetrics care, Hospital-based family planning, Contraceptives as essential medicines, Reproductive health education, Certificate of compliance, Ideal family size, Employers’ responsibilities and Multimedia campaigns.


The imprisonment of Celdran relating to this issue had gained both supporters and critics of his action. It’s obvious that what he did is indeed disrespectful to the interest of the church.

“I really am sorry for the method but I hope you heard my message loud and clear. My message is unapologetic. But for interrupting the mass and ruining your day, sorry about that” he said with apology.

Browsing the Free Carlos Celdran page, you’ll see a lot of different opinions from people. Many are misled now of the incident’s real deal. One supporter even raised a flag regarding alleged homosexuality and incidents of pedophilia in the Catholic church. Come on! It’s a different issue to discuss and it’s not driving to justify the acts of Celdran.

Nonetheless, a big kudos to his brave and courageous advocacy, but thumbs down on the way he showed it.

Going back to the main issue (which is the RH Bill), the proponents have clearly stated the purpose and the scope of this paper. Never it promotes any anti-life message or abortion and I think it is but role of the governement to also protect each woman, young people and family against the shadow of poverty. This may not be the immediate answer but it  can be one way to alleviate (if not eliminate) the pressing problems of today.

Despite of the good purpose and motivation of the bill, still, the Catholic church strongly echoes its opposition.

And, why should they barred such resolution that the government can think now to serve or address our issue on poverty and blowing population?

Is it because of FEAR?

Most likely, we can link this again over issues about unwanted pregnancies, premarital sex, HIV/AIDS, overproduction of kids and even homosexuality…

Yes it’s true that “the separation of church and state is inviolable,” but it seems that people either disregard or had made different interpretations of the context.

Dialogue between the two stakeholders should be made possible so as to clear the grey areas and to draw the line between their roles regarding this matter.

I am putting my trust that the government is just doing their job at best scope that they have. But I want to ask too…is it really the best solution that our government can serve?

On the other hand, the Catholic church must have their say on this matter as it also touches the issues of morality. But I also want to ask them…have they really been effective (in the first place) on their role  to instill the true value of morality and Christianity among the people?

What do you think?!

  1. Liezl says:

    Naks! Keep blogging and sharing your thoughts! Love it!

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