Published in Davao Catholic HERALD
April 20, 2008
When the Local Development Plan for Children (LDPC) was approved through a voting of 18-4-2 (YES, NO, abstained, respectively), the immediate reaction of almost every Catholic faithful present in the gallery of the Davao City Council session hall – especially those who understand deeply the implication of the said approval – was of utter fear and disturbance.
Despite the efforts of the main proponent of the plan, Councilor Angela Librado-Trinidad assuring the Council that the plan does not promote contraception, every well-informed Catholic is aware that the plan is tainted with “contraceptive flavor” (borrowing the words of Councilor Tessie Mata-Marañon, who strongly opposes the plan).
Councilor Peter Laviña, one who voted NO, said the LDPC “appears innocent at first glance.” However, “a large portion of it deals with reproductive health issues continuously opposed by pro-lifers, family crusaders and the Catholic Church.”
Why afraid of LDPC? The fact that it is under the guise of “reproductive health” and “safe pregnancy” is one good reason to be afraid. But a bigger reason is that our Honorable Councilors are aware of it and they just closed their eyes and raised their hands to say YES to it!
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“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God; have faith also in me.”
Jesus’ words in this Sunday’s Gospel were my sole consolation as I walked out the session hall gnawing my tongue in disappointment. My irritation was fueled by the thought that some councilors whom I have voted last elections – to the best of their acting abilities – even made themselves appear to be against the plan. In the end, they were the first and the last to raise their hands.
What is there to be afraid of LDPC? Archbishop Capalla said it denigrates the virtue of chastity. I think he has a point. For even its proponent affirmed during the session: “We did not touch the issue on chastity (during the formulation of the principles), as it may not be sensitive to everybody.”
Well, to have a city councilor who is the head of the committee on women and children to say that is one big reason enough to “let our hearts be troubled”. I, for one, am disturbed by the idea that the issue on chastity “may not be sensitive to everybody”. To whom should this issue be sensitive? To the Church alone? To the parents alone?
The issue on chastity and how this virtue should be taught to our young is everybody’s concern. If the LDPC has to be integral and authentic, it has to consider teaching our children and youth the said virtue. Chastity-based education is what our children need, rather than education on the use of contraceptives.
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“Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Thomas asked Jesus.
How can we know the way towards the authentic and integral development of our children in Davao City? I don’t think this was the prevailing spirit last Tuesday in the session hall.
True. Councilor Mahipus had raised concern about the second Pastoral Statement of Archbishop Capalla but only to let Councilor Librado-Trinidad answer each of the five objections of the archbishop in a literal manner, by saying that “the objections are nowhere to be found explicitly in the plan”.
But then, when Councilor Marañon wished to present as an amendment the separation or the rejection of the “contraceptive flavor” from the plan, almost everyone was groping for a way out. And the house rules are the most convenient way.
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Jesus answered: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
Jesus offers us “the Way, the Truth and the Life”. Yet, instead of admitting to ourselves that “we do not know the way; how can we know the way?” we look for our own way, we create our own truth and we make a living out of it.
The way to real and authentic children development is when they are taught the truth about themselves. For only in that truth can they live a life to the full.
But how could we educate these children on the truth about themselves if by giving them “full access to affordable services and accurate information that will promote safe pregnancies and produce and nurture healthy babies” (LDPC, Chap 2, sec. b), we are actually reinforcing in them the fallacy that their sexual urges cannot be controlled.
In giving them “full access to affordable services and accurate information” regarding contraceptives, we are actually telling our children that you cannot control yourselves; hence, use condoms and pills. And still we ask: Why afraid of LDPC?
Well, in the end, there’s nothing to be afraid of LDPC. For as the Good Book says, “People may plan all kinds of things but the Lord’s will is going to be done” (Proverbs 19:21).