13 August 2012
‘Turno’ issue have been settled in RH debates
Transcript of interview of Sen Pia S. Cayetano
Senate session hall
Q: Reaction n’yo po sa speech ni Sen Sotto…
SPSC: Anyone who lost a child deserves compassion and I approached Senator Sotto because I know the pain of losing a child. It’s nothing that anyone who has not experienced can understand. So I expressed my condolences [on] the anniversary of the death of his son. I know that pain and I took the opportunity to also share with him my experiences because we have that bond that we lost a child. It’s very painful.
Our experiences though are quite different because in his case, he attributes the illness and eventual death of his son to contraceptives and I shared with him that my experience was quite the opposite. Because in fact, when I gave birth to [Gabriel, who died at age of nine months in 2001 due to a rare chromosomal condition], that was my fourth pregnancy, I had a miscarriage on my second pregnancy. I never used contraceptives at that time. When I gave birth to my third child, I had not used contraceptives and I was not using when I got pregnant. But my son did have a chromosomal disorder maybe similar to his son. [Gabriel] also had a heart problem.
In the seventies, they did not have the capacity to diagnose it the way they did when my child was born in 2000. My son had Trisomy 13, he had a hole in his heart and large kidneys, cleft lip and cleft palate, and was perceived to be deaf and blind. But it had nothing to do with contraceptives, and in fact, after my son died, I could not become pregnant again because I was not emotionally ready to become a mother, I could not bear to be near a child…I will break down and cry. I was a practicing lawyer but I felt I could not be a mother to a baby. So I actually took contraceptives then so that I would not get pregnant because I would not be a good mother if I had gotten pregnant again.
So this is another side of the story that is true, and I also raised this during one of the interpellations a few months ago, that many women physically cannot get pregnant again because of different medical conditions. It will be a risk to their lives, these are women who need to use contraceptives because kung mabuntis sila, they may die and no longer be a mother to their child. In my case, I was not psychologically prepared to be a mother again [after Gabriel's death]. Thankfully, more than 10 years had passed and I am happily a mother of an adopted child. Naging ready rin ako eventually.
Q: Ma’am you’ve done extensive research on contraceptives and….
SPSC: I’d like to also say that I would prefer that you talk to medical experts because we have really done a lot of research, and I have never come across any well-founded [research]. There is no well-founded belief, there is no grounded research that shows that children with disabilities – and I put this on record in the Senate during the interpellation with Senator Lapid, and again, I also commiserate with him, because nawalan din nga ako ng anak – there is no evidence that shows that link [that the disablity is caused by contraceptives].
There may be side effects and these are clearly seen in the literature that comes with any kind of medication. Ultimo po paracetamol may indications naman po yan, and same with any other kind of medical device or medication to that matter, so you take that under the guidance of your physician. So kung sensitive ka to certain conditions, their doctor might say, “hindi bagay sa yo mag-pills, mag-condom muna kayong mag-asawa.” Or “kung marami na kayong anak, baka gusto mong magpa-ligate.” The conditions are all different. And the research po, the ill effects of pills, are old research because over the years…the formulations have changed to make it safer and safer.
But that again is why you need to use this with the advice of your doctors. Hindi naman ito pinamimigay ng basta-basta because inaayon po ang contraceptives sa need ng isang pasyente, ng isang tao. But I just like to summarize na lahat po ng issues that Senator Sotto raised have been settled in the previous interpellations. For everyone’s convenience, my staff will summarize it, and hopefully within the next few hours, ire-relase namin. Kasi wala ho siyang binanggit na hindi pa ho namin na-resolve or nasagot in session, including po yung sinasabing ’11 mothers die per day’ [maternal mortality rate]. We have the statistics and in fact, we have submitted it. So it’s there po and if some people choose not to believe it, well you can go out for yourselves and do the counting, but the statistics are there to show us that these are realities.
Q: Ma’am will you still answer his speech kapag natapos na po [Note: Sen. Sotto's speech is divided into four chapters]?
SPSC: What I will do for sure, like I said, is release a written response so that the people can understand these issues. Most of these will be based on previous debates on the floor because nasagot na nga po yan on the floor. And if not, we will just cite sources. For example, when they say na “hindi ho ito (RH bill) naaayon sa kultura natin,” but the surveys show that ito ang gusto [ng mga Pilipino]. Maybe hindi siya naaayon sa kultura natin noong 1521 or noong 1898, pero 2012 na, and based on Filipino practices and customs, they want it and they need it.
Nag-relief operations po ako all week in Taguig and meron po akong “special care pack” for breastfeeding mothers. Inaayon ko po yung pangangailangan ng isang breastfeeding mother. Ang hindi ko po naisip ay yung breastfeeding mother, anim po silang kaharap ko, pero madami, mga 60 mothers and gi-nather ko. It just so happened na yung dalawang katapat ko, tinanong ko, “Ikaw ilan ang anak mo?” “Isa pa lang,” 19 years old sya.” “Kayo po?” “Ikasampu,” sabi nung isa. Yung aking relief package para sa isang nanay, dagdag po sana yun na tubig, de lata na may protein para lang maparami yung kanyang milk supply. Eto na nga ba yung sinasabi ko na a mother will sacrifice everything for her children. And I’m sure na yung extra water na binigay ko, so sana para yun sa kanyang milk supply ay madagdagan, ishe-share pa po niya yun sa 10 anak niya. So paano ho tumagal yung aking effort to support a breastfeeding mom when she has 10 children to support? That is what RH is about. I asked them, “Kung kayo ho ba ay nabigyan ng pagkakataon, sampu pa rin ho ba ang inyong anak or nag-family planning po kayo?” [Sagot ng nanay] “Syempre ho nag-family planning pero nandiyan na po yan [sampung anak].” #
Photo: Sen Pia Cayetano raising a point of clarification on Sen Vicente Sotto III’s motion to deliver a speech against the RH bill, to be divided into four chapters.