Barangay Ayala Alabang retreats on contraceptive ban

From Manila Standard Today

by Ferdinand E. Fabella

THE chairman of Ayala Alabang village admitted Tuesday that an ordinance banning sex education and the distribution of contraceptives in the posh subdivision could not be enforced without the approval of the Muntinlupa City Council.

“It’s not going to be enforced yet. It’s not even complete,” Ayala Alabang chairman Alfred Xerez-Burgos Jr. said of the Protection of the Unborn Child Ordinance of 2011, which has drawn criticism and ridicule from various sectors.

His statement came a day after the village council drew the ire of Muntinlupa Mayor Aldrin San Pedro, who threatened sanctions against the officers if they tried to enforce the ordinance.

In Congress, the long-awaited debates on the reproductive health bill were delayed when the air conditioning in the session hall broke down.

The postponement of the debates incensed the supporters of the reproductive health bill, who had trooped to the House to lobby Congress to pass the measure that seeks to establish a national policy on population management and family planning.

The Catholic Church has fiercely opposed the bill because it allows the use of contraceptives as a method of family planning.

In Ayala Alabang, Xerez-Burgos said he and the village councilors were surprised by the violent reactions from women’s rights groups, reproductive health bill advocates, lawmakers, City Hall, and various social networking sites.

He blamed Luis Sison, spokesman of the Ayala Alabang Village Association, the group of homeowners at the exclusive subdivision, for it.

“Attorney Sison is not representing the [village]. What he’s been saying were his legal opinions,” Burgos said.

He said Sison, former president of Philippine National Construction Corp., was an avid proponent of the contraceptive ban and claimed that the ordinance took effect because the city council did not veto it.

Burgos said a group of villagers proposed the measure during a regular council meeting, and that the council deliberated on it and passed the ordinance through a lawful process.

“The ordinance is legal and defensible. We had public hearings. But we know we cannot implement it without the approval of the city council,” he said.

They would be meeting with City Hall officials to explain their action, he said.

San Pedro had warned Xerez-Burgos and the village councilors that they faced administrative charges if they continued acting like “a separate republic.”

The village ordinance explicitly prohibits sex education and the use and promotion of birth control devices within the village. Only those with a prescription may buy contraceptives such as pills and condoms from the village pharmacies.

Violators face a fine of P1,000 to P5,000 for the first offense, P5,000 and one to six months’ imprisonment for the second offense, and six months to one year in jail for the third and succeeding offenses.

If the violator is a village employee, he or she will be dismissed and barred from holding any public office.

Ayala Alabang, The third largest village in Muntinlupa, covers the 700-hectare Ayala Alabang Village, the Ayala Commercial Center, and the Alabang Country Club.

The village has a population of about 40,000.

In Congress, House leaders sought to allay fears that there was a deliberate effort to delay the deliberations on the reproductive health bill.

“We are doing everything to fix the problem on the air conditioning,” said An Waray Rep. Florencio Bem Noel, chairman of the House committee on accounts.

“Let us not rush into believing that this had anything to do with the RH bill because we all know that even the Speaker, the Majority Leader, the Minority Leader and other House leaders want the RH bill debated and voted on the floor.” With Christine F. Herrera

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  1. Carla cruz says:

    I am personally happy of what the local government from Ayala Alabang is doing. They are guided by the law of God. I am a faithful who believe in the commandment, THOU SHALT NOT KILL. If you pursue with the RH Bill, you are to answer it before the Lord. Your life is only one and soon you are to return to HIM. Please don’t allow the devil to blind your mind just because of money and pleasure. You are not going to bring that when you die? Those who suppot the RH Bill don’t really care for the mothers and the children? They just love pleasure and money…Shall we be deceived like them????Please open your eyes so you can see the TRUTH.

  2. L'Annie Field says:

    Dear Sirs
    I am glad that common sense is prevailing on this issue. I agree with Mr Burgos that, unfornately, there is a law that substantiates the Council’s proposal. Section 37 of Republic Act 5921 (pls correct me if I am wrong) may be in place, but I question how they intend to police it – even if they could, it is to be noted that this is actually the domain of the Department of Health, a much higher power than the Council itself. It seems to me that if the issue here is policing promiscuity amongst teenagers within Ayala Alabang – this is a misguided and archaic way to go about it. The restricting of access to contraception has failed time and time again. What the Council needs it the courage to look at other ways to encourage the youth to abstain (hard task) but in failing that to implement sex education classes with parental permission in schools, to encourage parents to talk to their children openly about sex and its repurcussions. May I also encourage parents to be brave and put aside their own discomfort about the topic of sex in order that their children are then able to come to them to discuss sex. After all I believe that this topic is best handled at home. As a mother, it is my duty to ensure the safety of my child, that includes educating them about their options and discussing with them when I believe they are ready or not for sex. And when that time comes, I hope the government is with me in making available tools to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
    I thank you for the opportunity to voice my opinion on behalf of my family who still reside in the Philippines. I am a proud Filipo and always will be!

  3. Vicky Hilado says:

    The law cited in support of the ordinance, a part of which requires a prescription before a condom may be bought is Sec. 37 of Republic Act 5921 which provides as follows:

    “Section 37. Provisions relative to dispensing of abolifecients or 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 operative words are “AS CLASSIFIED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION” . So, if condoms ARE NOT classified by the FDA as anti-conceptual then a proper prescription is NOT required to purchase a condom. So, the question then is– is a condom classified as an atni-conceptual device by the FDA? If it is not, then you cannot use this law to support the portion of the ordinance requiring a prescription to buy a condom.