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20 neophyte House members back RH bill

31 May 2011 No Comment


Twenty neophyte lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Wednesday expressed support for the controversial Reproductive Health bill, contrary to the position of their fellow first-timer, international acclaimed boxer and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.

Act Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said they are confident the number of lawmakers that would support the bill would eventually grow.

“Sa tingin namin ang mga karamihan sa Congress ay pro-RH bill. Pero sa tingin namin nape-pressure sila na ayaw umiwas sa mga pari kaya ayaw muna nila lumantad,” he said.

Tinio said they recently conducted an informal survey among House members and found out that 43 percent of the 285 lawmakers were in favor of the proposed measure. He said only 37 percent of the lawmakers were against it, while 20 percent were undecided.

The statement of support from neophyte congressmen came after Pacquiao — arguably the most popular among the newcomers at the House — expressed his opposition to the RH bill because he said it is against Catholic teachings.

Diwa party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay, for her part, said “pressure” from the Catholic Church, the staunchest critic of the RH bill, was inevitable.

Aglipay, however, said pro-RH bill legislators have proven that they were willing to reach out to the other side when they allowed “numerous amendments” to the House version of the bill. “These [amendments] show our concern on whatever qualms that can be ironed out between both sides,” she said.

Meanwhile, another supporter, Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmie de Jesus, insisted that it is the government’s role to extend reproductive health assistance to Filipinos and ensure that this is made accessible to everyone.

“Marapat lamang na i-push ang isang bill na nasa framework talaga ng provison niya na nagsasabi ang reproductive health ay tungkulin ng Estado at pangalawa na dapat may access,” she said.

She said subsequent debates on the plenary on the controversial bill should already focus on specific provisions of the measure.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., another neophyte lawmaker supporting the bill, said he has initiated discussions in his community about the importance of the RH bill and has received positive results from his constituents.

Tinio told GMA News Online his group is hoping that chamber would finish with its amendments on their version of the bill by June, and that it should have approved the bill by September.

“We are really targeting the undecided. We are expecting that the undecided and those belonging to the 43 percent who have not yet come out will finally make public their support as we get closer to voting,” he said. — KBK, GMA News

(Source: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/220905/nation/20-neophyte-house-members-back-rh-bill?utm_source=GMANews.TV&utm_medium=twitter)

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