Noynoy tells Congress No pressure, but vote on RH bill

Posted on December 2, 2012

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There won’t be any pressure applied on House allies to vote for the Reproductive Health Bill, President Benigno Aquino III said last Friday.

The President, who was in Cebu to meet with local Liberal Party (LP) members and attend the Thanksgiving Mass for San Pedro Calungsod in the South Road Properties (SRP), said it’s more important for Congress to finally vote on the bill.

The President confirmed that he would meet with all 287 legislators in a Palace luncheon tomorrow and said the lawmakers should decide based on their conscience.

“If left undecided, it will already have a divisive factor. There should be a decision either way,” said Aquino.

The President said he would respect the personal stand of the lawmakers and won’t certify the RH bill as urgent.

House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales said the RH bill may finally be voted on tomorrow depending on the number of supporters or opponents to be known in Palace luncheon.

“I am for Responsible Parenthood but this is a matter of conscience. All of us have a value system and belief system and we should follow what our conscience dictates,” he said.

The President’s cousin and LP senatorial aspirant Paulo Benigno “Bam” Aquino said he would rather that Congress pass the alternative bill being proposed by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. because “this satisfies both sides.”

House Bill 4244 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Bill allows poor and marginalized women access to free reproductive health services and supplies. It also allows government to provide funding support for the promotion of modern methods of family planning.

Bam Aquino said while camps only “want the best for the country, they just don’t agree” on the bill.

While he supports the Feliciano bill, Bam Aquino said he wanted a provision added to allow the inclusion of a values based sex education into the curriculum of high school students.

He said it’s important for high school students to undergo sex education to deter the rising number of teenage pregnancies.

Former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, an Aquino ally, said she preferred that the RH bill not be passed.

“Pro-life ako. I don’t believe in the RH bill and that we should quarrel over it. There are lots of laws that covers (health benefits for women) already,” she said. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters with an Inquirer report

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