Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Prescription for Objection

I first saw a friend’s Facebook post ranting about Ayala Alabang. I didn’t understand really what it was all about, and brushed it off as something personal. Oi, little did I know that there was more to the sentiment. And boy, when I found out, was I shocked! Who wasn’t? Rumor has it, you now need a prescription to buy condoms in Barangay Ayala Alabang.

No... effing... way.

I heard it on TV, read it in the papers, and of course, it’s true. I searched frantically for where this all came from. Fortunately, the Alabang Bulletin website itself carries the very source. Apparently, this was an ordinance passed by the Ayala Alabang Barangay Council just this year. Entitled “An Ordinance Providing for the Safety and Protection of the Unborn Child within the Territorial Jurisdiction of Barangay Ayala Alabang,” I just had to read it for myself.

So indeed, Section 3 which states the objectives mentions repeatedly about the unborn child, unborn child and unborn child. And right off the bat, starting with the objectives, I OBJECT! What the hell does the “unborn child” have to do with condoms?

I just think that if condoms were indeed used, and used properly, there wouldn’t be an unborn child in the first place. And if there indeed was an unborn child already - ergo sperm has met the egg - then condoms can’t do any more harm to it, can they? So the condoms and the unborn child connection absolutely does NOT compute.

At this point, I need to make clear that I can only defend condoms. The rest, which are defined to be abortifacients, I leave to the straights to take care of. I seriously doubt if I’ll ever need the service of abortifacients in my personal capacities.

In truth, condoms were only really mentioned explicitly once. Section 2 D states that the Barangay, “denounces the use of condoms as far as they promote and sanction immoral sexual congresses among the unmarried and especially among the young...”

Poor, poor condoms. Why denounce condoms? Do condoms contain subliminal messages that human beings do not have the intellectual capacity to thwart? Or is it not true that human beings entertain their own thoughts, make their own decisions, and are responsible for their own actions?

Seriously?! Are we not in 2011 to be this prude? Was it not some biblical character who said something like, “Go forth and multiply”? If that’s not promoting sex, what is? Should we then condemn the bible and Catholicism altogether?

In addition, Section 2 D also states that the Barangay, “condemns the irresponsible and indiscriminate use of contraceptives as they undermine the solidarity of families by promoting premarital sex, giving rise to more fatherless children, more single mothers, more poverty, and more abortions when the contraceptives fail to prevent conception, and by causing a decline of legitimate marriages”

So, in the same sense, should we condemn the use of seatbelts altogether because they also give rise to more fatherless children, more single mothers, more poverty and more abortions when seatbelts fail to prevent deaths due to road accidents? Duh.

And is there a study that proves that contraceptives actually cause a decline of legitimate marriages? I thought we were protecting the unborn child? How come it seems we are now protecting legitimate marriages? Again, the connection is lost.

Personally, I actually think this ordinance was just a sneaky way of getting condoms into trouble by generalizing the contraceptives category. I mean, seriously, to ask for a prescription for condoms... Isn’t that a bit much?

If doctors do prescribe condoms, I suggest they give free Viagra along with it, as people would have to sustain erections much longer to make up for the consultation time. Oh and the clinics should be open 24 hours a day, too, to accommodate late night and early morning spontaneous sex.

I mean, Filipinos are conservative now as it is, that you have to take a pack of condoms up to the cashier. And now you have to go to a doctor to prescribe them? Considering it would technically be a doctor’s consultation to have to ask for a prescription, a consultation you may have to pay for, could this be a ploy for additional income for doctors in Ayala Alabang? Don’t doctors in Ayala Alabang have anything better to do than prescribe condoms? How sad.

Fine, so maybe I’m biased towards condoms, but let me ask you a few questions...

If this were enacted just to save the unborn child, then should this prescription requirement not be targeted only to straight couples having vaginal sex? Because the last time I checked, homosexual acts, and anal and oral sex can only give rise to pregnant tonsils and fudgy cream pies. Let’s not even talk about bestiality. No unborn children there... ever.

Oi, there are so many issues in this ordinance that violate basic human rights.

If in this Barangay, commercial entities are not allowed the fair right to do business and sell their innocent goods, then they should pack up and move out of the Barangay. If schools are not allowed to be proactive and care enough to uphold their constituents’ rights to education, albeit sex education, then these schools should move where they are free to do their duty. Barangays need to care for businesses too, ya know.

Clearly, this Barangay has a hidden agenda, and does not truly care about the wellbeing of their people. To everyone living in Ayala Alabang, move out, and go to where you will be cared for. Or stay there, and just go to neighboring barangays to get condoms and get the health services you deserve.

Oh, and next time, do NOT vote for the people behind this ordinance, namely Barangay Captain ALFRED A. XEREZ-BURGOS, JR., Barangay Councilors JOANNA CALUGCUG, ALICE A. BACANI, MARIA CARMEN G. REYES, MA. SOLEDAD M. TUGADE, MARIANO S.MANAS, JR., APOLINARIO R. DE LOS SANTOS III, GIANCARLO A. NAZARIO, and SK Chairman JUAN ENRICO A. PARFAN.

They are NOT at your service. They are not very smart either. While Ayala Alabang is known to be the village of the rich and cultured, clearly, the rich and cultured are not exempt from being uneducated.

A quick search reveals that Alfred A. Xerez-Burgos Jr. is President and CEO Landco Pacific Corporation (I would think twice about living in Landco properties now). He is President of the Muntinlupa Development Foundation, a 20-year old Foundation helping the poor people of Muntinlupa (helping themm multiply?). He is also the President of Club Punta Fuego, Inc., and Chairman of Philippine Red Cross, Rizal Chapter (seriously?). He graduated from the Asian Institute of Management in 1971. Prior to this, he graduated among the top 25% of his class from the De La Salle University in 1969 (yes, La Salle, he is your product).

One last question. If I move to Ayala Alabang and have unprotected sex with everyone there and infect everyone with HIV, would I be applauded and excused because of the unavailability of condoms? You know, for the protection of the unborn child? Hmm, interesting.


Read the entire text of the ordinance below, or visit the Alabang Bulletin website.


Republic of the Philippines, City of Muntinlupa
Sanggunian Barangay of Ayala Alabang
Barangay Ordinance No. 01, Series of 2011

AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE SAFETY AND PROTECTION OF THE UNBORN CHILD WITHIN THE TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION OF BARANGAY AYALA ALABANG; FIXING PENALTIES FOR ITS VIOLATIONS, AND, FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Be it enacted by the Sangguniang Barangay of Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Ordinance shall be known as the Protection of the Unborn Child Ordinance of 2011.

SECTION 2. DECLARATION OF BARANGAY POLICIES
A. BARANGAY AYALA ALABANG (hereafter, the BARANGAY) upholds (a) the State’s recognition of the sanctity of family life and its obligation to protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution (Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution); (b) the duty of the State “to equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child from conception” (Ibid.) since the unborn is the family’s most vulnerable member, and, (c) the State’s identification of the Filipino family including the unborn child as “the foundation of the nation” and its pledge to “strengthen the family’s solidarity and actively promote its total development” [Article XV, Section 3 (1)];

B. The BARANGAY also adheres to (a) the State’s declared policy of “full respect for human rights” (Article II, Section 11), the most basic of which is the right to life for without it all other rights become meaningless; (b) the implicit Constitutional principle that the people’s right to life (Article III, Section 1) like that of the unborn child is an absolute value and norm that cannot be repealed by ordinary legislation;

C. The BARANGAY likewise supports the State’s recognition of (a) the right of children to proper care and nutrition, protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development [Article XV, Section 3 (2)]; (b) the vital role of the youth in nation building, and (c) its commitment to promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being, and, (d) the role of women in nation-building, and, its pledge to ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men (Article II, Sections 13 & 14);

D. The BARANGAY as well (a) endorses the view that contraceptive pills and hormonal contraceptives and the IUD may kill children and injure the health of women who use them; (b) condemns the irresponsible and indiscriminate use of contraceptives as they undermine the solidarity of families by promoting premarital sex, giving rise to more fatherless children, more single mothers, more poverty, and more abortions when the contraceptives fail to prevent conception, and by causing a decline of legitimate marriages, and, (c) denounces the use of condoms as far as they promote and sanction immoral sexual congresses among the unmarried and especially among the young, thereby contradicting the Constitutional injunction that the State “shall promote and protect … the physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being” of the youth;

E. The BARANGAY (a) acknowledges that the unborn possesses and enjoys all human rights like other persons by nature and by law and that he or she shall be entitled first and foremost to the right of life, safety and protection even as he or she may still be in his or her mother’s womb; (b) follows the mandate of the Constitution that the unborn child shall be protected from the moment of conception from all outside interventions, interferences or intrusions, including, but not limited to, intentional acts that may be medically considered as abortive whether through the use of chemicals, surgical or abdominal massage during the natural process of growth of the fertilized ovum, and (c) backs up the principle that the right of the parents over their minor daughters with unborn children is superior to that of the State in instances involving the safety, protection and welfare of the said unborn children and their mothers of minor age; and,

F. The BARANGAY lastly deduces from pertinent Constitutional tenets that since life begins at conception there is no place for the so-called “free choice” argument to justify compulsory sex education in the schools within its territorial jurisdiction that, among other things, disregards “the right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them” [(Article XV, Section 3 (2)] or that insidiously allows the State to take over “the natural and primary right and duty of parents” to rear their children “for civic efficiency and the development of (their) moral character” (Article II, Section 12 last sentence).

SECTION 3. OBJECTIVES
The ordinance has the following objectives:
(a) to promote the safety, protection, and, welfare of the unborn child from the moment of conception or fertilization and during all stages of development while inside the mother’s womb;

(b) to acknowledge the unborn child as a human being with human personality and to extend the mantle of legal protection to the child from the moment of his or her conception or fertilization;

(c) to mandate that the delivery of health services to the mother during pregnancy shall be done without prejudice to the unborn child;

(d) to ensure the continued well-being and good health of the mother by protecting her from any act or threat that may adversely affect the viability of the unborn child in all stages of the mother’s pregnancy and even after the child’s delivery;

(e) to encourage the legal, moral and healthy sexual relationships among those entitled thereto under the laws of the country and pursuant to the religious convictions of the couples concerned as mandated by the Constitution; and

(f) to support the Constitutional precept that the total development of the child is a primordial duty of both the parents and the State and its agencies, including the BARANGAY.

(g) to promote and provide effective and scientifically proven Natural Family Planning (NFP) services to married couples and those engaged to be married, because NFP, unlike contraceptives, strengthens rather than weakens the marriage bond between husband and wife, which is the foundation stone of the family, the foundation of the nation.

SECTION 4. DEFINITION OF TERMS
For purposes of the Ordinance, the following terms are defined as follows:
Unborn – refers to a child at any stage of his or her existence and development beginning from the union of the sperm and the egg until the birth stage;

Conception or Fertilization – refers to the time that the sperm fertilizes the egg, which starts a new life that has a distinct existence and genetic make-up of its own;

Implantation – refers to that stage of development of the fetal life which takes place around five days after fertilization when the fertilized egg is implanted in the ovum.

Fetal development – refers to the development process of human life from the union of the sperm and egg until the birth of the child.

Abortion – any act or practice whether done intentionally or unintentionally to endanger, cause or bring about the death, injury, damage, expulsion or interference in the natural development of the fetus or the unborn child such as through “hilot” (abdominal massage), administration of certain medicines or herbal concoctions, suction, hysterectomy, saline injection, hormonal contraceptives, intra-uterine devices (IUD’s) or other similar means or devices like vacuum aspirators or abortifacient substances whether used singly or in combination with other substances.

Abortive acts – abortion practiced by the woman herself or by her parents or guardians, physicians or midwives or pharmacists who dispense abortives in violation of the provisions of the Revised Penal Code (Articles 256-259).

Contraceptive – any device or drug that is intended or has the purpose or effect of preventing conception as a consequence of sexual intercourse.

Abortifacient – is any device, medicine, substance or practice which may damage, injure, interfere with the natural development, endanger or cause the expulsion or death of an unborn child; except for such devices, medicines, substances or practices which are standard medical treatments for medical conditions which threaten the life or physical health of a pregnant woman or an unborn child, when used to treat such medical conditions, and neither the primary effect nor purpose of such device, medicine, substance, or practice is to cause the termination of a pregnancy or prevent conception. Abortifacients include Intrauterine Devices (IUD’s), and hormonal contraceptives, as well as any and all other devices, medicines, substances or practices which fall within the foregoing definition, including but not limited to the list hereto attached as Annex A entitled as List of Hormonal Contraceptives. This list shall be updated from time to time as the need arises.

Human personality – refers to the status that is gained and attaches to an unborn child from the moment of conception.

Parental Right – refers to the right of parents to give or withhold consent when minors are involved in any decision or disposition relating to unborn children at any stage of their development in the wombs of their minor mothers.

SECTION 5. HEALTH SERVICE DELIVERY
All health services performed within the territorial jurisdiction of the BARANGAY including any other institution or person, whether natural or juridical, the Barangay Health Centers and any domestic health care institution, which is duly licensed and accredited and devoted primarily to the maintenance and operation of facilities for health promotion, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals suffering from illness, disease, injury, disability or deformity, or in need of obstetrical or other medical and nursing care shall use only safe, ethical, effective, legal and non-abortifacient medicines or drugs or machines, devices or methods of treatment that do not cause abortion intentionally or unintentionally.

For the protection of the unborn and the institutions of marriage and family, no abortifacients shall be prescribed by health care providers within the territorial jurisdiction of the BARANGAY.

All funds which are budgeted or disbursed by the BARANGAY for programs to support responsible parenthood shall be used exclusively to promote and provide effective and scientifically proven Natural Family Planning (NFP) services to married couples and those engaged to be married.

The BARANGAY shall encourage, and where possible support, financially and otherwise, the establishment of one or more crisis pregnancy centers within the Barangay, to provide assistance in the form of counseling, and, if possible, medical and material support to women who are experiencing a crisis pregnancy.

SECTION 6. PROHIBITED ACTS
It is hereby declared illegal and unlawful for:
1. Any natural or juridical person to advertise within the territorial jurisdiction of the BARANGAY by billboards, brochures, leaflets, flyers or similar means or in any manner or form, sell, offer for free or endorse, promote, prescribe or distribute abortifacients as defined in Section 4. Definition of Terms.

2. Any person to subject an unborn child or his or her mother to acts that may endanger or expose the unborn child or mother to injury or death.

3. Any person to hold, conduct or teach compulsory sex education without prior consultation with, and written permission of, the parents or guardians of minor students in any school, public or private within the territorial jurisdiction of the BARANGAY;

4. Any funds of the BARANGAY to be used for the purchase or provision of contraceptives as defined in Section 4. Definition of Terms; and,

5. Either the BARANGAY or its employees or its agencies to solicit, accept or dispense contraceptives as defined in Section 4. Definition of Terms.

SECTION 7. REGULATED ACTS
The pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 5921 entitled AN ACT REGULATING THE PRACTICE OF PHARMACY AND SETTING STANDARDS OF PHARMACEUTICAL EDUCATION IN THE PHILIPPINES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES enacted into law June 21, 1969 are hereby incorporated into the Ordinance as an integral part thereof and are reproduced as follows:

“Section 37. Provisions relative to dispensing of anti-conceptional substances and devices. No drug or chemical product or device capable of provoking abortion or preventing conception as classified by the Food and Drug Administration shall be delivered or sold to any person without a proper prescription by a duly licensed physician.

The pharmacist in charge of a drug store or pharmacy after filling a prescription containing abortive or anti-conceptional substance or devices shall record in a separate register book for abortives and anti-conceptionals, the following data;

(a) Number and date of the prescription;
(b) Name and address of the physician;
(c) Name, quantity and manufacturer of the drug;
(d) Name and address of the purchaser;
(e) Date of filling the prescription; and
(f) Signature of the pharmacist filling the prescription.

“Section. 41. Other penalties. Any pharmacist who shall violate any of the provisions of Sections twenty-eight, thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-seven and thirty-eight of this Act or any pharmacist after his certificate of registration has been lawfully suspended or revoked, who continues to engage in the practice of pharmacy, shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to a fine of not less than one hundred pesos but shall not exceed five hundred pesos or to an imprisonment of not less than thirty days but not more than four months, in the discretion of the court.

Any person other than citizens of the Philippines having been found guilty of any violation as provided for in this and the preceding section shall, after having paid the fine or having served his sentence or both when so required be also subject to deportation.”

In addition to the above provisions of Republic Act No. 5921, classifications of drugs or chemical products or devices that are abortifacients as defined in Section 4. Definition of Terms shall also fall under the regulatory provision of this Section.

SECTION 8. PENALTIES
(a) Any person found guilty for the first time of violating any provision of Section 6 of the Ordinance shall be fined in an amount not less than P1,000 but not exceeding P5,000; for the second offense, he or she shall be fined in the amount of not less than P5,000 and be imprisoned for not less than one month but not exceeding six months; and for the third and succeeding offenses, he or she shall be sentenced to an imprisonment for not less than six months but not exceeding one year. Violators of the Ordinance shall also be held civilly liable to the offended party.

(b) If the person violating any provision of the Ordinance is an employee of the BARANGAY, he or she shall also be dismissed from his or her office and shall thereafter be barred from holding any public office.

(c) If the person violating any provision of the Ordinance is a business enterprise, firm, company or corporation or an educational institution, its president, chief executive officer or any other person responsible for the management and/or operation of the enterprise in the BARANGAY, shall suffer the penalties provided for in Section 7. In addition, the BARANGAY permit to engage in business of the said business enterprise, firm, company or corporation or to operate a private educational institution in the Barangay shall be declared null and void.

SECTION 9. EXCLUSIONARY PROVISION
Acts already proscribed by the revised penal code or by any special law are excluded from the purview of the ordinance and shall be penalized pursuant to the provisions of the code or the applicable special law.

SECTION 10. SEPARABILITY CLAUSE
If any provision of this Ordinance or part thereof is declared invalid or unconstitutional, the remaining provisions shall remain valid and subsisting.

SECTION 11. EFFECTIVITY
Within three (3) days from the enactment of this Ordinance, the Sangguniang Barangay shall furnish copies thereof to the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Muntinlupa for review. If the Sangguniang Panlungsod fails to take appropriate action on the Ordinance within thirty (30) days from receipt hereof, the same shall be deemed approved. The Ordinance shall take effect upon the approval by the Sangguniang Panlungsod or as herein provided and after its posting at two conspicuous places, one at the entrance of the Barangay Hall of Ayala Alabang and another at a visible place accessible to the public in the BARANGAY for three (3) consecutive weeks and its publication in a newspaper of general circulation for one (1) week.

PASSED AND APPROVED, JANUARY 3, 2011.

Signed by Punong Barangay ALFRED A. XEREZ-BURGOS, JR., Barangay Kagawads JOANNA CALUGCUG, ALICE A. BACANI, MARIA CARMEN G. REYES, MA. SOLEDAD M. TUGADE, MARIANO S.MANAS, JR., APOLINARIO R. DE LOS SANTOS III, GIANCARLO A. NAZARIO, and SK Chairman JUAN ENRICO A. PARFAN. Attested by Barangay Secretary SANTOS A. RANCUDO.

4 comments:

john stanley said...

if i'm not mistaken, this resolution was already overruled by the sangguniang bayan of muntinlupa.

PinoyPoz said...

According to Yahoo News' "Senator hits Brgy Ayala Alabang council for ordinance on contraceptives",

"The proposed measure was submitted to the city council for approval last January 3. But it has not been discussed yet. It has to be approved first by the city council before it can be implemented," said Omar Acosta, Muntinlupa City PIO chief.

But then, part of the Ordinance states "Within three (3) days from the enactment of this Ordinance, the Sangguniang Barangay shall furnish copies thereof to the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Muntinlupa for review. If the Sangguniang Panlungsod fails to take appropriate action on the Ordinance within thirty (30) days from receipt hereof, the same shall be deemed approved."

It's been more than 30 days since it was submitted for review, so dapat "approved" na according to the power-tripping Barangay Council, dabah...

Michael Offutt said...

There's so much injustice in the world. Add to that the availability of condoms. It sucks that people are suffering and we can only hope it gets better as people become educated.

Ming Meows said...

i dont think drugstores will follow this. malulugi sila.