PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — AKBAYAN Rep. Risa Hontiveros will not withdraw her signature from the Reproductive Health bill.
In fact, she vowed to continue pushing the measure. She said it is corruption and not the RH bill that is morally unacceptable to the people.
Reports said there is only a slim chance of passing the RH bill in the 14th Congress because many of the lawmakers are seeking reelection and afraid to earn the ire of the Catholic Church.
The Church has expressed strong objection to the bill. It also urged the public not to vote for politicians who are advocating for its passage in the May elections.
“I will not withdraw my signature. Catholic voters would cast their ballots according to their conscience, and I am confident that they will vote for pro-RH candidates,” Hontiveros said.
“It will be their secular conscience – one that upholds the welfare of mothers, women, and children and one that considers the plight of Filipino families – that will guide their decision,” she said.
Hontiveros instead urged Catholics to junk corrupt candidates and for the Catholic Church to issue guidelines on anti-corruption.
“We actually encourage everyone, including the Catholic Church, to help voters screen out corrupt politicians, especially those who are running for higher offices,” she said.
Hontiveros said not all Filipinos are rejecting the RH bill as shown by many surveys because of the belief that it will help the couples practice birth spacing.
“There have been numerous surveys proving that the Filipino public supports the RH bill’s passage and candidates should not consider the bill as an electoral baggage,” she said.
In fact, Hontiveros said the RH bill is a good electoral issue and platform of presidential hopefuls.
The bill promotes the use of artificial birth control methods such as pills, condoms, IUDs, among others. It is not pro-abortion as what many perceived it to be.
“The bill has always been labeled as pro-abortion despite repeated clarifications made by the authors. We expect the same malicious propaganda would be spread during the campaign period, but at least this would be a chance for the voters to see who’s lying and who’s telling the truth,” she said.
She urged the House of Representatives to pass the measure before Congress goes on recess for the May elections.