The writer Miguel Syjuco discusses politics in the Philippines, chiefly the proposed legislation regarding reproductive health, and the plagiarism of one senator who’s opposed to the bill, with Joseph Planta.
Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:
I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver at TheCommentary.ca.
Joining me now from his home in Montreal is the award winning writer and novelist Miguel Syjuco. We’re going to discuss an issue of political concern in the Philippines, that over the last couple of weeks has caught the attention of media outlets in this country like CTV, and in the United States. In fact, Mr. Syjuco wrote about it for the New York Times. The issue is the country’s Reproductive Health bill, which is currently pending in the Philippine congress. The so-called RH Bill has been the subject of much discussion in the country, something I discussed on this program last year with a guest from the Philippines. The gist of the proposed legislation is addressing poverty, ensuring women’s rights and improving infant and maternal mortality. Opponents think it’s an attempt at population control, despite a nation with nearly a hundred million people, most of whom can’t afford contraception. As a cultural and political commentator, Mr. Syjuco is an ideal guest to talk about what’s going on in the Philippines. Though living in Canada, he’s still very tuned into the debate, not to mention a citizen. In recent weeks he’s entered the debate. I’ll ask him about the challenge he issued to a prominent Philippine senator, Tito Sotto, who opposes the bill, and who in his opposition to it has managed to plagiarise in the process. Miguel Syjuco is the author of the novel Illustrado, which garnered much acclaim in this county and prizes beyond. Please welcome back to the Planta: On the Line program, Miguel Syjuco; Mr. Syjuco, good morning.