Anti-RH lawmakers raise no new arguments

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011


DISCUSSIONS on the reproductive health (RH) bill continued Tuesday with no new arguments from interpellators against the controversial measure.

Lawmakers again continued to debate on House Bill 4244, otherwise known as “An act providing for a comprehensive policy on responsible parenthood, reproductive health, and population and development, and for other purposes”, raising questions on abortion, population, and even faith.

Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing asked RH author, Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, why the RH measure aims to “depopulate” the country noting that China and India, whose populations continue to increase, have sustained a sound economy.

“Pag pinasa ba ito ay parang wala ng mahirap? I cannot see the logic on the population issue,” Bagatsing, the first interpellator on the bill, remarked.

To this, Lagman replied: “The RH bill is not a magic wand, magic pill to vanish poverty in the country.”

Bagatsing also raised the issue on abortion, the similar subject pointed out by the Church. Leaders of the Catholic Church claim that the RH bill will pave the way in legalizing abortion in the country.

Lagman pointed out that the measure, in fact, is an anti-abortion bill because the use of artificial contraceptives will actually reduce abortion rates.
Deputy Speaker Pablo “Pabling” Garcia (Cebu), the second interpellator, meanwhile, went on to question the sponsor’s belief in God and in the rights of Filipinos as stated in the Constitution.

“I assume that the distinguished sponsor believes in God…This bill violates the will of God… The RH bill cannot be disassociated from God. This bill is about life,” Garcia, a known anti-RH lawmaker, said.

Lagman refused to debate involving faith saying “I'm not here to hear a sermon, or to have a discourse on religion, I'm here to debate on the RH bill.”

The Minority Leader argued that Garcia should heed the call of his constituents citing that 76 percent of the population in Cebu has been found to be in favor of the RH bill; and 87 percent also approves of a law on providing family planning choices to couples.

During his interpellation, Representative Garcia claimed that his and Cebu City Representative Rachel Del Mar’s districts were targeted by the Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development to “embarrass” them to their constituents.

Del Mar is one of at least 38 lawmakers who have lined-up to interpellate the sponsors of HB 4244. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)

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