Sex and Religion

Finding Religion and Spirituality in Population, Gender, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health Advocacy in the Philippines.

Monday, May 24, 2010

New materials from HAIN

Keeping the Faith Alive : A Slimbook on Responding to the Challenges Posed by the Catholic Church Hierarchy on Reproductive Health. (by Giney Villar and Corazon dela Paz) aims to contribute to the work of Catholic RH advocates as they bridge the gaps between their personal faith and the work they do—through a series of exercises on real-life situations that require advocates to effectively communicate with facts, composure and with their faith in place.

Bagong Pag-asa, Bagong Buhay (comics on RH for the community). To help raise the awareness on RH at the community level, HAIN produced a comics in Filipino which covered topics on violence against women, sexually transmitted infections, and family planning methods. To complement the discussions given by the barangay health workers, it is hoped that this resource material could help the people make informed decisions about family planning and other RH concerns.

Bulong ng Panahon (Whisper of the Times), produced by Celso Espaldon of Tubig Kanlungan, is a 15-minuter educational/advocacy film discusses the link between climate change and reproductive health. It focused on the experiences of a selected community in Botolan, Zambales, and how a big calamity and the women’s reproductive health are affected and experienced. It is targeted to raise the level of awareness of women and girls in communities, policy and decision-makers, health workers and program managers.

Tungkol kay Olivia (About Olivia) is , produced by Maricar Vallido (The Forum), is a short film documentary which aims to draw attention to the very alarming maternal mortality rate in the country. The film focuses on the lives of the 11 children whose mother died while giving birth to the 11th child. The video aims to raise awareness on the status of poor urban dwellers that will result in better health and services particularly RH services for women, and establish support from the local government and other key decision and policymakers.

Health Alert Special Anniversary Issue highlights HAIN's 25 years of health advocacy.

These materials were made possible through the support of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. To request copies, please email


Monday, May 03, 2010

Puso, Puson, Pananampalataya at Pulitika

With the upcoming 2010 national and local elections, candidates are being asked of their position on the issue of reproductive health. Apparently, there is a veiled threat that the Church will use the pulpit to campaign against candidates who will support reproductive health programs and services. Catholics who comprised the majority of the voting public must then be given a chance to hear other progressive voices in the Church. In an article, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. has written a thoughtful and balanced opinion on the danger of the Church’s direct interference in the elections. Other RH advocates who are also Catholics also have a stake in the issue and must make to make their voices heard so as to have an influence on the electorate in this very important issue.

The Catholics for Reproductive Health (C4RH) conducted series of fora from February to April 2010 entitled “Puso, Puson, Pananampalataya at Pulitika” or P4RH.

The objective for conducting this series is to help Catholics make an informed decision on choosing national and local leaders in the coming May 2010 elections. The forums presented a layered and multi-faceted perspective on the issue of how Catholics in good conscience can vote for candidates who are supportive of reproductive health.

The forum served as a better way of reaching out to people around the country, bringing other alternative voices and perspective on the issue. We invited speakers who could enlighten the audience to become more critical of their faith and in choosing candidates to vote. In each of the area, the set of speakers included a respected community leader who talked about the RH situation in the community. A local politician was also included to contextualize the experience of local advocates in championing reproductive health in their locality. Maricar Vallido of the Forum for Family Planning and Development presented facts and figures about how Catholics have been voting in the past elections as well as the latest survey results of how Catholics view RH as an electoral issue. Fr. Percy Bacani presented an alternative perspective from the religious sector on how Catholics can be guided by their conscience in making their decisions.

The forums were held in the cities of Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, Legaspi and Tagbilaran. The group tapped local partners in conducting these forums such as the Development of People’s Foundation (Davao), College of Social Work of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (Cebu), Office of Student Affairs in University of the Philippines (Iloilo), Bicol Integrated Reproductive Health Alliance or BIRHA (Legaspi, Albay) and Process Foundation (Tagbilaran, Bohol).

Earlier in 2007, the group also conducted the first series of this kind of forum in Quezon City, Cebu and Davao. It was then called “Puso, Puson at Pananampalataya.” This 2010, in time for the national elections, we added another concern (Pulitika) to stress the importance of RH in Filipinos lives, hence, it should be part of the political platforms of the candidates.

Core members of the Catholics for Reproductive Health Speakout Movement consist of the Institute for International Education-Philippines, Health Action Information Network (HAIN) and The Forum for Family Planning and Development.