Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hoping against hope

Advocates hopeful of RH Bill OK in next Congress

"MANILA, Philippines--As advocates vowed to revive the Reproductive Health (RH) bill in the 15th Congress, the arena is expected to shift on the majority of its members whose position remains unknown on the issue.

Of the 286 members of the House of Representatives, only about 65 have clear position supporting the bill, including 13 who are first termers, according to Ramon San Pascual, executive director of the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development (PLDPC) in a forum Wednesday in Quezon City.

The position of majority of the first termers, or 84 percent, remains unknown, he said."

Yeah, yeah, it's a numbers game alright, although we are hopeful that legislators would take positions based upon principled stands arising from convictions towards the RH bill's objective merits or lack thereof. Political wheeling-dealings must now be consigned to the dustbin. The nation must now be keen on observing that "kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap" is not just a slogan.

"But advocates including Akbayan partylist Representative Risa Hontiveros and Iloilo Representative Janette Garin see glimmer of hope that the controversial measure would finally hurdle Congress with incoming president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and with either Albay Representative Edcel Lagman or Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte as Speaker, who are all supportive of the bill."

Wait a minute. Lagman and Belmonte's support of the bill may presumably be counted upon, but the RH-bill advocates are being presumptuous on the position of the incoming president. For the record, Noynoy Aquino's latest statements on the RH bill do not support their optimism, and I quote: "There are provisions that I cannot support...". Therefore, the only logical conclusion one can make at this point is that in its present form, Noynoy will veto the bill.

"The church will always remain an opposition to the bill, but Hontiveros said they are hopeful Aquino and the new Speaker can stand up against the bishops and pave the way for the enactment of the measure into law."

Hah. While anti-RH advocates remain in unity with the bishops against the RH bill, the pro-RH advocates must worry about standing up against formidable arguments, not against clerics. In fact the most compelling arguments against the bill, even from a purely secular standpoint, have been culled from lay people.

" 'The hope is realistic that we can expect support from the executive,' she added."

Not so fast Risa, you have to get it voted through the Lower House and the Senate first. Too bad you didn't win a Senate seat. But of course you can always hope.

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