Free speech has its own limits

Carlos Celdran may face a prison term with a maximum of 1 year+ after a Manila court found him guilty of “offending religious feelings". (Courtesy of Carlos Celdran's Facebook)

Carlos Celdran may face a prison term with a maximum of 1 year+ after a Manila court found him guilty of “offending religious feelings”. (Courtesy of Carlos Celdran’s Facebook)

A Manila court found famous tour guide and reproductive health advocate Carlos Celdran guilty of “offending religious feelings”, according to a statement made by Celdran himself on Twitter.

Celdran was charged with violating the Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code for “offending religious feelings” during an ecumenical meeting at the Manila Cathedral in September 2010 when he unfurled a post with the word “Damaso”,  in reference to the villainous priest in Rizal’s famous novel “Noli Me Tangere.”

He is expected to serve his sentence with a maximum of 1 year+ in prison.

I was not surprised that Carlos Celdran was sentenced for a prison term as what he did of expressing his resentment against the Catholic bishops was a deterrent to the freedom of expressing religious beliefs without disruption. Although I understand and affirm what Carlos Celdran has been fighting for, but we need to set our limits on how to express our resentments against someone we never like. For me, it is a reasonable one that if we resent someone or something, we should find a proper venue where we can express our resentments, not directly attack someone in person or an institution with its premises. We should think that our enemy or an institution we never like deserves utmost respect like how we respect ourselves.

Although the maximum prison term of 1 year+ for Carlos Celdran is too much, but what the law says should be followed not only by Celdran but also by us.

The lessons of the verdict on Carlos Celdran are we should know the limitations on how and what to express our resentments against someone or something. Freedom of self-expression, free speech, or assembly should co-exist with freedom of practicing religious beliefs. If we cannot balance those things, I think there would be more resentments from both sides of an religious-related issues where having resolution or compromise may be impossible.

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Why total gun ban will never work

A campaign poster showing an image of Ronaldo Bae, who once ran in local elections for the post of village chief, hanging from a shanty house in Kawit, south of Manila, on January 4, 2013. Bae allegedly went on a rampage and killed five people on Friday, before dying in a gunbattle with police. (AFP)

A campaign poster showing an image of Ronaldo Bae, who once ran in local elections for the post of village chief, hanging from a shanty house in Kawit, south of Manila, on January 4, 2013. Bae allegedly went on a rampage and killed five people on Friday, before dying in a gun battle with police. (AFP)

The calls for more gun control or total gun ban have increased for the first days of 2013 as series of gun-related deaths happened from the death of a 7-year old girl and 4-year old boy in a separate incident during New Year’s Eve celebrations, to a frustrated wannabe politician (the image of that wannabe politician appears above) went on a shooting rampage, killing eight people before getting killed by responding policemen himself.

Some sectors of the population including the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines are calling for an utopian gun less society, which according to gun ban advocates, would lead to genuine peace. Good to hear for a gun less society, but in reality shows that only the law-abiding citizens would follow a gun ban while those who have bad motives—crime syndicates and political tyrants—would not follow a gun ban. Even the Philippine National Police admit that there are some 600,000 loose firearms—firearms that can be easily manufactured in the black market, thus can easily be obtained by persons with bad motives—while law abiding citizens cannot easily own a legitimate firearms due to stringent gun laws in our country—during election time, you are prohibited from carrying firearms unless you obtain a gun ban exemption from the Commission on Elections or COMELEC while gun-related deaths skyrockets every election season in our country.

Why we want to penalize those who are law-abiding gun owner citizen? That is the question the gun ban advocates cannot refute and sticking with the wrong notion that guns kill people while in reality, criminals will find ways on how to achieve of what they want—hurting victims who are mostly unarmed. Maybe a psychological test for those who wants to own firearms is necessary, but a total gun ban is a knee jerk reaction of the prime cause of gun-related deaths—that are the loose firearms can easily be obtained by criminals, political tyrants, and psychopaths while law-abiding citizens cannot easily own and carry firearms anywhere in our country for self-defense from criminals. Only criminals, political tyrants, and psychopaths would be happy if there is total gun ban in our country—as no one can stop them while law-abiding citizens are disarmed. We cannot rely to our law enforcement authorities like the Philippine National Police all the time for our own safety because of lack of police manpower to safeguard all citizens of our country, thus owning a firearm is a more practical way for law-abiding citizens especially those who are living in remote areas.

The recent and future gun-related incidents in our country should not be exploited by some interests to deprive the right of the citizens for self-defense—owning a firearms. Instead, the government should look after those who are manufacturing loose firearms—many of which end up to criminals, political tyrants, and psychopaths while they should improve and train law-abiding citizens on how to use firearms properly, so that it would not end up to persons with bad motives.

Plagiarist Tito Sotto

SHAME ON YOU TITO SOTTO!

Last Monday, Senator Vicente “Tito Sotto, III gave his emotional rebuttal on Reproductive Health Bill or RH Bill using his personal experience when his third child died from heart complications due to contraceptive usage by his wife.

Most people initially never knows that his speech was a carbon copy of a blog entry by “Sarah, the healthy home economist,” a US-based writer who also opposes vaccines for children and offers recipes for goodies like grain-free pumpkin cookies.

Sotto did not attribute any of his words or research to “Sarah, the healthy home economist”, whose disclaimer cautions that “the nutritional and other information on this website are not intended to be and do not constitute health care or medical advice.”

The connection to “Sarah, the healthy home economist” was first exposed by Alfredo Melgar of Filipino Freethinkers.

However, after he was bombarded with criticism yesterday, Tito Sotto belied claims of plagiarism and answered his critics unreasonably with:

“I always say a blanket disclosure these are not from me, ano plagiarism dun?”.

Sotto said that he and the blogger quoted from the book of Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, whom he cited in his speech.

Here is a comparison of Sotto’s speech and Sarah’s blog:
Sotto’s speech (second to last paragraph):
“According to Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride MD, the use of the pill also causes severe gut dysbiosis. What is worse, drug inducted gut imbalance is especially intractable and resistant to treatment either with probiotics or diet change.”
Sarah’s blog:
“According, to Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride MD, use of other drugs such as the Pill also cause severe gut dybiosis. What’s worse, drug induced gut imbalance is especially intractable and resistant to treatment either with probiotics or diet change.”
2. Sotto’s speech:
“Gut imbalance brought on through use of the pill negatively impacts the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. As a result, even if a woman eats spectacularly will during pregnancy, if she has been taking oral contraceptives for a period of time beforehand, it is highly likely that she and her baby are not reaping the full benefits of all this healthy food as the lack of beneficial flora in her gut preclude this from occurring.”
Sarah’s blog:
“Gut imbalance brought on through use of the Pill negatively impacts the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. As a result, even if a women eats spectacularly well during pregnancy, if she has been taking oral contraceptives for a period of time beforehand, it is highly likely that she and her baby are not reaping the full benefits of all this healthy food as the lack of beneficial flora in her gut preclude this from occurring.”
3. Sotto’s speech:
“Pathogenic, opportunistic flora that take hold in the gut when the pill is used constantly produce toxic substances which are the by-products of their metabolism. These toxins leak into the woman’s bloodstream and they have the potential to cross the placenta . Therefore, gut dysbiosis exposes the fetus to toxin.”
Sarah’s blog:
“Pathoginic, opportunistic flora that take hold in the gut when The Pill is used constantly produce toxic substances which are the by-products of their metabolism. These toxins leak into the woman’s bloodstream and guess what, they have the potential to cross the placenta! Therefore, gut dysbiosis exposes the fetus to toxins.”
4. Sotto’s speech:
“Not well known is the fact that use of the pill depletes zinc in the body. Zinc is called ‘the intelligence material’ as it is intimately involved in mental development.”
Sarah’s blog:
“Not well known is the fact that use of The Pill depletes zine in the body. Zinc is called ‘the intelligence mineral’ as it is intimately involved in mental development.”
On the same day after this plagiarism issue came out within the online community, “Sarah, the healthy home economist”, the blogger who published Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD’s works condemned what Tito Sotto and his staff have done of using her blog entry without permission and in fact, “Sarah, the healthy home economist” states that even her words were twisted by Tito Sotto’s speech.
Then, one of the staffs of Senator Tito Sotto issues an apology:

Lame excuse.

Then the blogger responds him with harsh words:

Great rebuttal.

Tito Sotto and your staff, you should have attributed the name of the blogger first before you delivered your emotional rebuttal on RH Bill but what you and your staff have done was not just an intellectual dishonesty but a moral sin in the face of the society and your church where you and your staff belong. People are not buying your personal experience as they want a more access to artificial family planning like condom and many others without moral impediments from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

For sure, Tito Sotto, your grandfather would roll in his grave on what you did last Monday and choke you to death as your grandfather became a great poet and journalist of my mother language, Cebuano, not through copying other people’s works but creating through his own ideas.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the information I stated here are derived from GMA News Online.

Why RH Bill is necessary for us

Pass the RH Bill now!

Today I wrote this blog entry regarding on my stand on House Bill 4244 or more known as Reproductive Health Bill or RH Bill. For the first 6 days of this month, this issue resurrects from the dormancy of discussion after the Congress tackles the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona earlier this this. This bill is on the heat of discussion because the House of Representatives would judge on whether to pass this bill or not by tomorrow, 7 August. This bill gained support from the President, Benigno S. Aquino during his third State of the Nation Address last 23 July.

This bill has been controversial for many years even way back during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo because of massive and firm opposition from social conservative elements of our society especially from the hierarchy of Philippine Catholic Bishops who opposed the bill with their reason that it would encourage more abortion cases among Filipino woman.

The bishop’s stand on RH bill does not even gain a majority support among Catholics and in fact it created a massive division between various factions of Philippine Catholics especially between social conservatives and social liberals. Other Christian and non-Christian denominations like from the Islamic sector supports the passage of this bill.

The passage of this RH bill would give a comprehensive reproductive health policy of our government as the Philippines is among the countries in Asia that does not have that definite reproductive health policy in our laws as of this moment. The absence of a comprehensive reproductive health policy creates a big headache not just by our government but also to our environment and our economic growth.

The uncontrolled population growth creates a headache for the part of the government as the government cannot formulate a definite allocation of services as their annual budget cannot pace up with the increasingly needs of the Filipino people.

The uncontrolled population growth creates a headache for the part of the environment as the increasingly needs of the Filipino people needs to consume more non-renewable and renewable natural resources and in addition our monopolistic economic structure worsens the unequal distribution of resources.

The uncontrolled population growth creates a headache for the part of the economic growth as the monopolistic economic structure of ours does not cope up the increasingly labor market of our country due to lack of competition in our domestic economy as the 1987 constitution restricts foreign equity ownership of businesses to only 40%, restricts foreign equity ownership in natural resources extraction; public utilities; telecommunications; and education to only 40%, restricts foreign equity ownership in advertising to 30%, and prohibits foreign investors to invest in media sector.

This monopolistic economic structure of our country drives most of our skilled workers to abroad in which the other countries benefited the talents of our skilled workers and force many families to break up in order for their respective family breadwinners to work abroad to support their remaining children. This monopolistic economic structure of our country only shines the consumption side while we neglected the investment side which is more crucial to our future economic prospects as far as our level of our economic development is concerned.

Therefore, if we want our country to progress economically, politically, and especially socially speaking, we need to pass this Reproductive Health Bill in order for our Filipino families to have a freedom to choose which family planning methods to be used, to utilize our vast labor market that is untapped, to reduce the responsibility of the government to manage the allocation of resources, to decentralize the population concentration from Metro Manila to the provinces, to reduce the influence of the Catholic Church among the lives of the Filipino people, and most of all, to preserve our environment from population pressures.

PASS THE RH BILL NOW!