FILIPINOS FOR LIFE’S OFFICIAL STATEMENT: Akbayan’s tirade vs. Sotto unfair, out of context, narrow-minded

Akbayan’s tirade vs. Sotto unfair, out of context, narrow-minded

FILIPINOS FOR LIFE (F4L) strongly condemns Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party for unfairly and maliciously accusing Senator Tito Sotto of ignoring the plight of women.

The statement by Akbayan’s youth leader is at best narrow-minded and out of context.

Sotto was merely questioning the basis of the oft-repeated statistic of 11 maternal deaths a day, in the context of a legislative debate on a bill that seeks to establish a wide-ranging national policy. It is therefore fair to examine the basis of this bill. THERE IS NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR.

In the first place, there was no derogatory statement on women, and the sarcasm, if at all, is directed at foreign lobby groups, some of them pro-abortion, that routinely peddle this statistic. The supposed offense is in the creative, nay, malicious imagination of Akbayan’s propagandists.

Based on our own estimates, the correct figure is 4.8 maternal deaths a day, based on 2008 data from the National Statistics Office and the National Statistical Coordination Board. This assumes a maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 99 per 100,000 live births and 1.784 million live births in 2008. Assuming a high MMR of 169 per 100,000 live births, the figure is 8.3.

We do not downplay the problem of maternal deaths. Indeed, it is a problem that needs concrete solutions, like more birthing centers and midwives. But we should guard against the excessive emotional use of the outdated statistic to influence Philippine government policy.

If Akbayan is really pro-women, it should tell its women constituents that contraceptive pills that would be distributed for free under the RH bill are considered by a WHO agency as a Level 1 carcinogen. Pills, according to reputable literature produced by entities such as the US National Cancer Institute and the Mayo Clinic increase the risk of breast and other cancers.

If Akbayan really is pro-women, it should tell mothers that the pills it wants them to ingest daily could expel a fertilized ovum, which is already a human being. It should inform women that pills don’t always prevent ovulation. In case the pills do not prevent ovulation and fertilization occurs, the pills have been proven to create an environment that is hostile to the beginning of life. Akbayan’s lawmakers should be reminded of what the Constitution says about the protection of the unborn.

Likewise, may we remind former Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel to elevate the level of the debate on RH. Her repeated references in social networks to an incident decades ago involving a dead movie starlet are uncalled for and below the belt.


Contact: Anthony Perez (

capax Dei.

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Posted in Position Papers
16 comments on “FILIPINOS FOR LIFE’S OFFICIAL STATEMENT: Akbayan’s tirade vs. Sotto unfair, out of context, narrow-minded
  1. achz. ma. says:

    This statement of Risa Hontiveros Bara… anyway.. was so full of malice! i thought her party list is for the good of women and to empower them, but how come they want the mothers to take pills that will be hazardous to the mothers themselves.?and lead them to their death? eh baka namn yung sinasabi nyang eleven deaths eh dahil sa kagagawan ng pills na talagang pinaglalaban nya…Kung sino pa may pinag aralan sya pang nagnglilinlang ng mga mangmang… nakakalungkot dahil minsan ginagawa pa natin silang mga mambabatas.. yung iba nagiging presidente pa talaga ha… hay.. what a shame to their parents!

    • Haggai De Cena says:

      Risa Hontiveros style is like that. Kung hindi ka niya matalo sa maayos na usapan eh idadaan ka n’yan sa ad hominems at sob stories. Buti na lang at hindi siya nakalusot sa Senado.

  2. goryo says:

    Eto sagot ng isang kakilala ko kay Sotto:

    Dear Senator Sotto and CBCP4Life,

    Hi! What’s up? I read your response to AKBAYAN’s press release and frankly, I was very worried. I care about the eleven women (or four to eight, to quote your reduced number — maybe if it’s less than ten, it ceases to matter?) who die everyday from maternal mortality, but let’s face it, that bit about pills and carcinogens really jumped out of the page for me. I voted for AKBAYAN and I’m a big fan of Risa Hontiveros, but if you were right that they withheld information from me (one of their “women constituents”, as you call us) about pills and cancer, I’d be pretty pissed.

    So here’s what I did. I looked at your claim and did research on it. I’m a bit nerdy that way. I like reading. I get off on reading. (I bet you’re now thinking, so what does she need contraceptive pills for? Haha.)

    Here’s what I found.

    The organisation that you talk about, the World Health Organization agency, is the International Agency for Research on Cancer. So I went to their portal and looked at their journals. I looked at the journals for each year until I found the one that corresponded to birth control and cancer (that took some time, but like I said, I’m a nerd.) This is the journal, in case you want to read it.

    This is the relevant portion:

    The weight of the evidence suggested a small increase in the relative risk among current and recent users of combined oral contraceptives. The small increase in risk was not related to duration of use, type of use or dose of the preparation used. By 10 years after cessation of use, the risk for breast cancer in women who had used combined oral contraceptives was similar to that of women who had never used this type of contraception (Figure 2). It was concluded that, if the reported association was causal, the excess risk for breast cancer associated with typical patterns of current use of combined oral contraceptives was very small.

    The increase in risk for breast cancer associated with the use of combined oral contraceptives in younger women could be due to more frequent contacts with doctors, which leads to earlier detection of breast cancer through mammography, breast examination or echography. An effect of early detection would normally lead to an increase in the number of women diagnosed with in-situ or early stage breast cancer (i.e. tumour node metastasisstage I or cancer < 2 cm in size). (page 50).

    In an interview by MSNBC with the head of the agency himself, Vincent Cogliano, the increased risk of the birth control pill was called "small and transient" and the study itself confirmed that the pill protects against endometrial and ovarian cancers.

    Oh, and both the New York University Medical Center and the American Cancer Society believed that it was premature to link birth control pills with cancer.


    Well, that's all. Nerdiness pays, after all. Cheers!

    with kindness,


  3. E. Pagaspas says:

    Ms Hontiveros:
    The fact that this RH bill has been an issue for more than a decade already tells you that it is a very controversial and polarizing issue with or without Sotto. You have your reasons why you believe in it, Sotto has his why he doesn’t. Sotto is a son of a staunch women’s rights activist and the first Medical Commissioner of Workmen’s Compensation Commission and President Emeritus of the Kababaihang Rizalista ng Pilipinas. Obviously, Sen Sotto has respect for women. He has helped build the women and children’s center in Vicente Sotto Hospital in Cebu and continues to support it to this day. I know you are passionate about this RH bill and maybe for the right reason if I may dare say so myself. However, Sen Sotto has his noble reasons too. I hope you stick to the issues and fight fair. To claim he dishonors women is a careless statement. To bring up an old issue where he wasn’t even involved in just to create bad press for Sotto is way below the belt. I used to admire you. Now you have sunk to Willie Revillame level.

    • goryo says:

      “Sotto is a son of a staunch women’s rights activist and the first Medical Commissioner of Workmen’s Compensation Commission and President Emeritus of the Kababaihang Rizalista ng Pilipinas. Obviously, Sen Sotto has respect for women.”

      wow. non sequitor. hindi porke’t anak ng peminista ay may paggalang sa kababaihan. sa kanyang pagpapatawa tungkol sa statistics ng maternal deaths, niyurakan niya ang alaala ng kanyang ina.

      • E. Pagaspas says:

        Hindi ba non sequitor din yung claim na porke’t anti RH bill ang isang tao eh wala na agad respeto or pakialam sa kababaihan? It is true that the RH bill may be one obvious way to show concern for women, but it is not the only way. We all have mothers. Whether we are pro or anti RH bill, we all have mothers. Ibig mo ba sabihin lahat ng anti RH bill ay disrespectful sa mga nanay nila? Lahat? Ikaw na! Da best ka!

      • goryo says:

        mali naman ang konek mo Ms. Pagaspas eh. Non sequitor ka ulit. Hindi ko naman sinabi — at hindi rin sinabi ng Akbayan — na lahat ng anti-RH ay disrespectful sa mga kababaihan. si Sotto lang. Kasi tinatawanan niya ang datos na may 11 maternal deaths per day. Gusto niya ipahanap ang 11 maternal deaths per day? He only has to check with the Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu, sabi nga ni Ms. Hontiveros. Then multiply that with the number of hospitals all over the country, na yung iba mas masahol pa sa Sotto Medical Center. The numbers were not even recorded by pro-RH people but by the hospital itself. Kung hindi maglalaan ang gobyerno ng pera para sa reproductive health (at hindi lang ito contraceptives ha, basahin mo ang bill), baka ganito na ang trend sa Pinas. So cool ka lang, and continue loving your mom.

      • E. Pagaspas says:

        Mr Goryo, Sotto was merely doubtful sa 11 deaths data. Check out link… Whether it’s 11, 5, or 4 or even just 1, Sotto has said it should not be happening. He says what they need are adequate resources, facilities, and services and we can address all these now. I just think it is not fair to conclude that the guy disrespects women bec he is against the RH bill. He obviously is concerned as the article mentions his support for the women and children’s center in Cebu. He is very obviously doing his part to help women independent of the RH bill. It’s just that his efforts are maybe different from what the RH bill dictates. And just because his way of helping is not in line with the pro RH bill people’s way of thinking, immediately he must be deemed disrespectful to women and must be condemned? He has built that center precisely to be of help to women. That is factual. I am doubtful there are many politicians out there who has done something directly if not exclusively dedicated for women.

  4. goryo says:

    eto ang satire, pero baka di maintindihan ni Tito Sotto kasi mas mataas na level ng comedy ang satire:

  5. chester m. lastica says:

    Kung Bakit ang RH Bill 4244 ay laban sa matuwid na landas.

    Nag-umpisa ang buhay ng tao sa FERTILISASYON kung saan nag-kaisa ang sperm ng lalaki at ang egg ng babae. Ito ang nagkakaisang pananaw ng mga siyentipiko at dalubhasa mula sa prestihiyosong Harvard Medical School at Mayo Clinic.

    Ayon sa siyentipikong babasahin ng American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology noong 2005. Bukod sa aksyon ng pildoras at AIUD sa pagpipigil ng fertilisasyon, ang mga ito ay nakapapatay ng embryo o lumalaking sanggol sa sinapupunan.

    Ulat sa isang pag-aaral o research ng International Agency for Research on Cancer. Ang kakayahan ng pildoras na magdulot ng kanser ay inihalintulad sa sigarilyo at sa asbestos. Ito rin ay nakadudulot ng strokes at tumataas ang posibilidad ng pagkakaroon ng atake sa puso.

    Ang malawakang paggamit ng mga kontraceptibo ay magdudulot ng pagkawasak ng pamilya at iba pang masasamang epekto sa lipunan ayon sa mga pag-aaral ni George Akerlof, Nobel Prize winner. Ang laganap na pag-seks bago ikasal, mas maraming anak na walang ama, mas maraming single mother, mas laganap na kahirapan, at mas maraming pagpapalaglag. Ito rin ay magdudulot ng mas maraming iresponsableng kalalakihan, mas maraming krimen, mga sakit ng lipunan.

    Ayon sa mga pinakamaayos na pag-aaral, ang konklusyon ni Edward C. Green, Director para sa AIDS Prevention sa Harvard University. Sa malawakang distribusyon ng condom sa mga tao, ang mga tao ay mas magiging pariwara sa mga desisyon sa pag-seks, kaya’t lalong lalala ang pagdami ng sakit na AIDS. Ang condom ay may mga butas (rubber intrinsic voids) na kung minsan ay mas malaki kaysa semilya at lalong mas malaki kaysa HIV. Inilahad ni Green na ang pagiging tapat sa asawa at pagpipigil o abstinence ang pinakamagandang solusyon sa malawakang pagdami ng AIDS.

    Walang maliwanag na ugnayan ang apagdami ng populasyon sa pagsulong ng ekonomia ayon kay Simon Kuznets, Nobel Prize winner, sa larangan ng ekonomia. Pinagtibay ito ng marami pang sumunod na pag-aaral katulad ng RAND Corporation.
    Ang pag-kontrol ng population ay hindi kasama sa limang kasagutan o sangkap ng paglago ng ekonomia ayon sa pananaliksik ng 2008 Commission on Growth and Development na pinamumunuan ni Michael Spence, isang tanyag na siyentipikong Nobel Prize winner. Ang sangkap sa maayos na paglago ng ekonomia ay:

    1. Pagiging bukas sa kaalaman
    2. Matatag na pananalapi
    3. Tamang alokasyon sa mga merkado
    4. Pamumuhunan at ipon mula sa pagtitipid

    RH Bill 4244 ay hindi tamang pamamaraan upang malutas and kahirapan. Isa itong pamamaraan upang magkaroon ng malawakang kalakal ang mga Multi-National Pharmaceutical Industrreis sa ating bansa sa pamamagitan ng pag-sasabatas ng mga kontraceptibong gamot bilang “Essential medicines”. Paraan upang makapag lagay ng budget sa DOH, DepEd ukol dito.

    Nawawalan ng 400 bilyong piso ang Pilipinas taun-taon dahil sa katiwalian. Bakit hindi na lang pairalin ang natural na paraan ng pagplano ng pamilya sa pamamagitan ng Billings Ovulation Method. Wala itong masamang “side effects”, at ito ay 99.5% epecktibo. At natuturuan ang mag-asawa kung paano mag ugnayan sa parte ng pag-plano ng pamilya. Ito ang tunay na Responsible Parenthood. At higit sa lahat, walang malaking halagang budget para sa gobyerno upang ito ay mapalaganap sa mga mag-asawa.

    Bakit may “penalty clause” ang RH Bill 4244? Ito ba ay tanda tungo diktadoryang rehimen?
    Isa itong dahilan upang mawalan ng saysay ang “constitutional right of the unborn to life.” Hindi ito kasagutan sa matuwid na karapatang pang tao, dahil isinasantabi nito ang responsibilidad sa pagiging bukas sa kaalaman.
    Dapat lang na mapa-alalahanan tayo ng ating Saligang Batas:
    “Sec.12, Art. II; States the sanctity of the Filipino Family as a basic autonomous social institution and protects the right of the unborn from conception.”

    • goryo says:

      There are 12.86 million currently married women of reproductive age in the country. But we have a contraceptive prevalence rate of only 49.3% (2006 Family Planning Survey). A little over half of married women do not use any form of contraception, either natural or artificial.

      For those who are using any form of contraception, 72% use modern methods with 53% using supply methods like condoms, pills and IUDs and 19% using permanent methods like ligation and vasectomy. Twenty-seven percent of women use traditional methods such as withdrawal and calendar-rhythm and only 0.4% use modern natural family planning like Standard Days, Billings Ovulation and Lactational Amenorrhea Methods.

      THE BILL DOES NOT FAVOR MODERN FAMILY PLANNING METHODS OVER NFP. Both natural and modern family planning techniques are contraceptive methods. Their common purpose is to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the bill does not impose a bias for either method. Section 3(a) of the bill unmistakably provides: “In the promotion of reproductive health, there should be no bias for either modern or natural methods of family planning.”

      The unfortunate BIAS of the government today is actually for natural family planning methods because currently, the POPCOM is promoting only NFP even though only 27% of women acceptors employ NFP and traditional methods compared to the 73% who use modern methods.

      The bill in fact DEMOCRATIZES family planning because it will make available to couples all possible family planning methods and not just NFP methods preferred by the Catholic hierarchy. It does NOT endorse abortion in any way.

      And, by the way, Akerlof himself did not recommend legal restrictions on the availability of contraceptives.🙂

  6. Ariel de Castro says:

    To Ms. Jae & Mr. Goryo: You mentioned that in one of the journals of WHO that you read the non-relationship of contraceptives and cancer. Don’t you think that it’s a glaring contradiction to put the contraceptives in carcinogen group 1 and at the same time say there’s almost no relationship between the two? It’s quite unthinkable for a professional and respectable organization like WHO to do such a thing. Common sense tells me that one is an official statement and the other is an opinion who might not be agreeing with WHO (probably pro-RH). The same way that there are people here like you who are pro-RH and want to justify the contraceptives, there are also such people in that part of the world whom you chose to quote. Thanks.

    • goryo says:

      Ariel, baka naman ang common sense mo ang mali. The WHO could classify as carcinogen level 1 those risks that may be “linked” to the use of some substance but such “link” may not be “causal.” And what part of “…the study itself confirmed that the pill protects against endometrial and ovarian cancers” don’t you understand?

      • Ariel de Castro says:

        Hi Mr. Goryo. I did not actually write “my” common sense, as you can read. I meant common sense for all people. Let’s see if your argument makes sense: contraceptives are in Carcinogen Group 1 (not group 2 or 3, etc., it’s actually the highest), but it does not really cause (“causal”) cancer. Does that makes sense to you? Let’s take another example in that same list of Group 1: asbestos. “Asbestos is in Carcinogen Group 1, but it does not actually cause cancer.” Do you call this common sense or absurdity? What’s the sense of putting that element in Carcinogen Group 1 if it does not cause cancer? Just remove it from the list then. I think, sir, you just have to be sincere with yourself: what is common sense and what is not common sense… That the pill protects the ovary from cancer has been answered by many other people: what’s the use of your cancer-free ovary if you are dead with breast cancer?… Sorry, sir, for speaking this way, i just think this is the truth, and the truth is not relative.

  7. Marvin says:

    Seriously, if you don’t want to have a baby, don’t have sex.

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