Archive for January, 2010

Gibo Tedoro’s Conditional Cash Transfer for Natural Family Planning only Good for Sound Bites

Posted in Governance, Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , , , on January 28, 2010 by Ruffy Biazon

The proposal of Presidential Candidate Gibo Teodoro to give cash incentives for those practicing natural family planning methods only good for sound bites but in the real world, it is difficult to implement, impossible to monitor and will only tempt the unscrupulous to engage in deceit just to avail of the cash incentives.

While the intentions are good, the implementation is not clear. Teodoro proposed that “If they use the rhythm method, we can have some resources to support that by a conditional cash transfer if they do not a have birth within a year or so for the poorest of the poor”. His policy proposal raises a lot of questions on how government will implement his alternative program.

How will it be determined who will qualify? Will the government monitor the sex life of couples who want to avail of the program? How will the government determine the start of the one year period? How will the government know that the couple indeed is using the natural method during that one year period? How much resources will government need to monitor those participating in the program?

And most importantly, how will government determine that the couple claiming the benefit is not trying to pull one over the government’s head? A couple may claim to be using the natural method but actually use other methods such as using condoms or birth control pills. Or worse, they may even not be fertile at all and still claim the cash incentive. While these may be determined through medical tests, it is a cost which the government cannot afford to shoulder just to screen those who will claim the cash incentive.

For those who are against the Reproductive Health Bill, Tedoro’s proposal should also merit their opposition on the basis that it is no different from the objectionable proposal in the bill which provides for incentives to those who limit their children to two. Oppositors to this provision of the RH Bill say that this could lead to an aging of the population and a demographic winter. Under Teodoro’s proposal, couples are encouraged not to have children for one year in order for them to claim the cash transfer. So if a couple would like to receive the cash incentives for the next several years, or even forever, they only have to stop producing offspring.

While it is Gibo Teodoro’s right to change his mind about the RH Bill and withdraw his support from the bill, it is a pity that he has retreated into a proposal which seems to lack substance and wisdom. It is only good for sound bites and publicity, not public policy.


Oppose Marriage Contract Expiration

Posted in Governance with tags , , on January 12, 2010 by Ruffy Biazon

A party list group participating in the 2010 elections proposed the establishment of an expiration for marriage contracts.

The proposed marriage contract expiration should be opposed because it will endanger the integrity of the ties that bind Philippine Society. The Filipino Family is acknowledged as the basic unit of society and it cannot be denied that marriage is the foundation of most Filipino Families.

Marriage and families cannot be treated separately and impose policies on one and not consider the other. The Philippine Constitution guarantees the protection of the family’s integrity and states that marriage is an inviolable social institution. The non-expiring marriage contract is not a violation of any human right because entering into a marriage is an option where those engaging in it are well aware of the terms.

To give marriage an expiration is also to give families an expiration. It will be dangerous to open Philippine Society to the mindset that marriages and families have a predetermined end. While proponents may argue that the contract is renewable, the fact that when you enter into marriage you already know it will expire at a certain date, it already affects the way society will look at marital unions.

And how will we treat the offspring produced by marriages? What will happen to the legal status of children produced by marriages if they expire? It will be as if we have predetermined the legal existence of children even before they are born.

While I will fight for the rights of women, I put more premium in protecting the integrity of the Filipino Family. I will oppose marriage contract expiration.

A Leader’s Integrity

Posted in Inner Thoughts, Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , on January 11, 2010 by Ruffy Biazon

I have experienced it many times, so much that it has become a concern…I say that integrity is an important quality that our next president should have, there would be someone who would object and say, “it is not enough that the president has integrity”. They then emphasize that it should be competence that should first be considered.

I don’t argue against competence being a requirement for a president. In fact, all public officials should be competent. That is an undisputable proposition. But why the seemingly hostile reaction to the statement that a president should be trustworthy?

Why isn’t it possible for these people to say, “yes I agree that a President should possess a high degree of integrity, as well as competence.” Why does it have to be an Either/Or debate?

In selecting a president, it should not be a matter of choosing between integrity and competence. The two should go hand in hand because our country needs a leader who can govern with skill and at the same time the people need a leader whom they can trust.

But for public officials, there is a higher degree of expectation with regard to integrity. In the Philippine Constitution, Article XI, Section 1 states in the first sentence “Public office is a public trust”. By this simple six word sentence, the framers of the Constitution the most important benchmark for those who serve the People—trust.

It does not need to be emphasized that competence is a requirement for public officials. It even comes naturally. It is a rare occasion that an incompetent person rises to the higher levels of public service. Just getting oneself elected has some credit for competence because not everyone can run for office and win. But of course, we should not settle for mediocrity and still demand a high standard of competence for public officials.

Incompetence has no place in public service. But just for the sake of argument, a less competent leader may still be effective by tapping the expertise and competence of those around him. In fact, one of the best qualities of a leader is the ability to harness the talents of those around and under him. Leaders are not expected to do all the work themselves but to gather the strengths of their team to collectively deliver to their constituents.

But integrity is a quality that is exclusive to a person. It cannot be augmented by those who surround the leader. It cannot be borrowed and it cannot be sourced out. That’s why there is a need for it to be a primary consideration aside from other qualities we should look for in a leader.

Which brings me back to the question which prompted me to write this in the first place…why can’t people simply agree that integrity has a premium in the selection of the next president of the country? Why are there counter arguments, justifications, qualifying statements and what-have-you against the statement that integrity is a primary consideration?

For the record, I value competence in a leader. I will not settle for incompetence. But the competent leader should be trustworthy. So will the competent leader with unquestionable integrity please stand up?