AS a new US administration and a new UN Secretary-General take over, it becomes abundantly clear that President Rodrigo Duterte could have engaged US President Barack Obama and former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the issue of human rights without resorting to invectives, by simply focusing on what these two gentlemen had done or tried to do to the universal values of human life, the family and marriage—all valid human rights issues—during all their years in office. Unfortunately he did not, so he was reduced to cursing his highly prominent critics.
I am not suggesting a more permissive reading of DU30’s extra-judicial killings. They are brutish and should remain condemned by men and women of conscience. But the world might have heard an entirely different dialogue if, instead of calling Obama “son of a whore,” and saying “f***k you, Ban Ki-moon,” DU30 had said, “let’s talk not only of my drug killings, but also about your genocide involving millions of unborn children around the world.” That might have made DU30 a champion not only of many of his bitter critics, but even of those who have borne the direct consequence of Obama’s and Ban Ki-moon’s anti-life and anti-family policies.
Had DU30 raised this issue with Obama and Ban, it might have prevented them from occupying a high moral ground in the raging debate. I base this assumption on my own limited experience with European politicians in the 1990s. During a visit to the European Parliament when I was still in the Senate, an ASEAN parliamentary delegation of which I was a part was being lectured by huge German parliamentarians on so-called Asian “double standards” on human rights. Neither our leader nor the other members wanted to respond, so I spoke for the group.
I categorically denied the accusation, and said instead that the “double standards” came from First World politicians, who denounced “genital mutilation” in some African tribes, but consecrated into law the mutilation of the unborn fetus. My remark silenced the Germans, and they became the gentlest and most charming hosts after that.
In July of 2015, Obama while on a tour of Africa tried to sell gay rights and the LGBT agenda to the Africans. He met his match in the young Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who told him politely but firmly that although Kenya and America shared many values, the issue of gay rights was “a non-issue” for Kenyans. When Obama indicated he wanted to talk about the human rights issue in DU30’s drug war, DU30 could have said he also wanted to talk about Obama’s plan to shrink the world’s population by extinguishing all childbearing through abortion, sterilization, and LGBT “rights.”
DU30 supports Obama on RH
Unfortunately, DU30 failed to seize the moment. Instead, he decided to support the RH Law Obama had imposed on the Aquino administration in exchange for a $454-million grant from the Millennium Challenge Fund. While proclaiming an allegedly “independent” foreign policy and belatedly protesting a massacre of Filipinos by American troops in a 1902 encounter during the Philippine-American war—something that pales in comparison to the atrocities committed by the Japanese occupation army on Filipino civilians—DU30 chose to support this foreign-dictated legislation, which puts the State in control of the conjugal lives of Filipinos, and “colonizes” no longer their national territory but their very souls. Some nationalism!
DU30’s new executive order mandates an aggressive implementation of the RH Law, to attain “zero unmet needs,” despite a court order restraining the acquisition and distribution of abortifacients like Implanon and Implanon NXT, and many other contraceptives which had been certified by the Food and Drugs Administration without the required official notices and public hearings.
Opposition to the RH Law will grow rather than go away because it is based on sham arguments, a continuous misreading of the Constitution, and brazen disregard of moral principles. It does not help that DU30’s Protestant spokesman Ernesto Abella mistakes basic Christian morality for “ideology” and patronizes practicing Catholics by asking them “to be more responsible” in the practice of their faith.
RH more important than the killings
In the US Senate confirmation hearings on Trump’s proposed Cabinet appointees, the question posed by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and the answer given by US Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson on DU30’s war on drugs seemed to have less bite than the series of questions posed by New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Jeane Shaheen on gay rights, the US population control and reproductive health program overseas, as a priority concern.
To Rubio’s question about DU30’s war on drugs, which has already caused over 6,200 deaths, Tillerson said he would not rely solely on what he reads in the newspapers, but would go with the facts on the ground. “America and the people of the Philippines have a longstanding friendship,” he said. “I think it’s important that we keep that in perspective in engaging with the government of the Philippines. They have been an ally, we have to ensure that they stay an ally.”
Shaheen on the other hand pressed Tillerson for a firm declaration of support for the RH and gay rights policies and structures which Obama and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State had built in the US, in the UN and around the world. “Will you pledge to continue to prioritize quality family planning and reproductive health services for women worldwide and ensure the resources and access to these programs are not conflated with support for abortion?” she asked. She wanted to be assured that Tillerson would include sexual and reproductive health service as a foreign policy priority.
Obama spent over $5 billion for family planning through global health initiatives under USAID, exclusive of State Department programs and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. For her part, Clinton established the Office of Global Women’s Issues at State, Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s issues, Global Office for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, without legislative approval. Pursuant to National Security Study Memorandum 200, she made it a point to discuss the US population control program with every foreign leader she spoke to as Secretary of State.
Obama completely rolled back Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City policy of 1984 which barred US funding of international organizations that performed or promoted abortion. Instead, Obama promoted the so-called right to abortion on demand as a primary and priority foreign policy concern of the US. Expectations are high that there will be dramatic change under Trump and under UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutierres. The new powerholders will now decide what legacy to keep and what legacy to abandon.
The first likely candidate for junking is the legacy of abortion, same-sex marriage and the more notorious LGBT rights. This was Obama’s priority foreign policy export to the developing world, and also Ban Ki-moon’s bequest to his successor. Ban promoted abortion as a right under the laws of war, for which he was praised by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers as a “zealot defender” of LGBT rights. Now we have a pro-life UN Secretary-General.
New man at the UN
Gutierres, former prime minister of Portugal and UN high commissioner for refugees, is the first former head of government to be named to his office. He recognizes the shortcomings of global institutions and the growing mistrust of the UN on the ground. “It’s time to change,” he said upon assumption of his post on January 1. Among journalists and diplomats at the UN, he commands high respect for his moral, political and intellectual qualifications. I met him at the Democracy Award Dinner of the National Democratic Institute at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, D.C., on November 10, 2015, where he gave a brilliant keynote after an equally brilliant introduction by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the NDI chair. Without reading a written text, he showed an impressive grasp of the global situation.
Observers expect Gutierres to arrest, if not reverse, the growing trend among UN bureaucrats to invent a so-called human right to abortion, and expand the interpretation of certain treaties to cover their own particular agendas. Trump’s supporters have similar expectations of his administration, as Democrats in Congress try to defend Obama’s policies. As C-Fam’s Stefano Gennarini, J.D. sees it, Trump’s followers expect the administration to:
1) Oppose the entrenchment of sexual and RH policies in UN resolutions and programming, roll back egregious policies targeting children, and insisting on caveats that explicitly preclude an international right to abortion;
2) Restore and strengthen the Mexico City Policy and keep the US away from foreign abortion groups;
3) Rein in UN bureaucrats from inventing all sorts of human rights, and remind the UN that the Secretary General is not the head of the UN but merely its servant;
4) Reform the treaty bodies and return them to their original role—not to replace the member states and try to proclaim that abortion is part of the right to life; and
5) Include a family policy in UN resolutions in line with international law, stop the State Department from treating LGBT “rights” as a foreign policy priority, and reaffirm the recognition of the family as “the natural and fundamental group unit of society,” as proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
DU30 stuck with RH Law, new EO built on a LIE
All these likely changes should serve as an eye-opener to DU30, who wants to have closer ties with Trump after declaring his desire to separate economically and politically from the US because of Obama. Unfortunately, he has just inked an EO which seeks to sanctify a patently unconstitutional and immoral law—even though the Supreme Court says it is “not unconstitutional”—on the basis of so-called “unmet needs.”
It has been years since Harvard’s Lant Pritchett exposed these so-called “unmet needs” as a sham—there’s “no need for unmet needs.” To the eternal shame of the NEDA director-general and secretary of economic planning (are we now a planned economy?) Dr. Pernia, we are being asked to believe that the State has to provide contraceptives (and even abortifacients) because of the “unmet needs” of Filipino women. This is a fabrication of the first order. The most plausible reason for this E0 is monetary and financial—the Philippine government has to support the contraceptives industry abroad, and the legislators and middlemen who had pushed for the passage of the RH Law must continue to receive their due.
According to the 2013 data from the US Demographic and Health Services, a widely recognized and legitimate project of USAID, these are the reasons why Filipino women do not use contraceptives:
Health concerns, 25.7 percent; sub-fecund or infecund, 17.5 percent; want more children, 17.1 percent; menopausal, hysterectomized, 12 percent; infrequent sex, 9.2 percent; spouse opposed, 3.4 percent; postpartum amenorrheic breastfeeding infertility, 3.3 percent; religious prohibition, 3 percent; respondent opposed, 2.6 percent; other fertility-related issues, 2.4 percent;
Cost too much, 1.2 percent; interfere with body, 0.9 percent; inconvenient to use, 0.8 percent;
Knows no method, 0.3 percent; lack of access, 0.2 percent; others opposed, 0.1 percent; knows no source, 0.1 percent; others, 0.1 percent.
The Constitution names the State as the primary protector of the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The State cannot therefore be the legitimate source of contraception. Yet the RH Law makes the State the primary source of contraception, and what the Constitution says is patently unconstitutional, the Supreme Court says is “not unconstitutional.” To all this, DU30 has just added an EO that is built on a BIG LIE. There is no unmet need for contraceptives, and no unmet demand.