Sangunian Statement of Support for the RH Bill


A Sanggunian statement on the events following the call of 192 faculty members of the Ateneo de Manila University to Pass HB 4244

On August 19, 2012, 192 faculty members of the Ateneo de Manila University released a statement in support of House Bill 4244 or The Responsible Parenthood,Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill, urging legislators to act swiftly and judiciously on the proposed amendments to the bill and thereafter vote for its passage. The stand reiterated that they were speaking only for themselves and not on behalf of the University, the Society of Jesus, or their colleagues.

This was met with criticism by various individuals from several institutions such as theCatholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Pro-life Philippines organization. They called for the investigation of the 192 signatories, and furthermore,the CBCP warned all Catholic schools that their status as such can be removed unless they are to align their teachings on matters of life with Church teachings.

As a reply, University President Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, S.J. Released a statement reiterating the University’s stand against the passage of the bill, but expressed appreciation to the 192 esteemed faculty members for “their social compassion and intellectual efforts”, urging them to “continue in their discernment of the common good.”

The Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Pamantasang Ateneo de Manila stands behind these esteemed members of our faculty and condemns the statements made by the different institutions against them. In the exercise of academic freedom and responsibility, these professors put forward alternative and divergent views on the matter as a sign of a vibrant academic community. As such, it strengthens the institution’s capacity to instill the values of open-mindedness and critical thinking to its students while keeping their values intact and remaining grounded in logical reasoning tempered with faith seeking understanding.

We uphold the Ignatian tradition of reflection and action, and of struggling with oneʼs faith towards a deeper and more personal relationship with God. We applaud these 192 educators and all those who, like them, have not imposed their own or any institutionʼs views of the response to the Bill, but rather have presented the facts and the issuessurrounding them and given their students the tools and guidance to create their owninformed opinions about the said bill.

Our Ateneo education has taught us the importance of discernment, that is, of weighing the different perspectives and sides while being grounded on basic human values and principles. The Sanggunian recognizes the complexity of the current issue on HB 4244, but believes that in the Ateneo, the synergy between one’s faith and reasoning continues to thrive, however demanding and arduous this task may be.

Signed this 24th day of August, 2012.



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