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PRESS RELEASE
07 October 2008

BISHOPS HEEDLESS ON CATHOLICS’ FREE CHOICE

“Bishop Patricio Alo refuses to see that Catholics themselves want to mitigate their fertility and plan their families,” Rep. Edcel Lagman said in reaction to Alo’s statement that pro-reproductive health solons should resign because they are not representing the Filipino people’s sentiments on the issue of reproductive health and family planning.

Lagman is the principal author of House Bill No. 5043 on reproductive health, responsible parenthood and population development, which now has 108 coauthors.

PRESS RELEASE
05 October 2008

The growing multi-sectoral support for the reproductive health bill isolates the Catholic hierarchy and ultraconservative lay organizations as the principal oppositors of the measure.

“There is emerging victory of progressive advocacy over orthodox dogma,” according to Rep. Edcel Lagman, principal author of House Bill No, 5043 or the “Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development Act of 2008”.

The General Appropriations Bill (GAB) is like an ordinary bill which comes in two (2) versions, the bill on first reading and the bill on third reading after committee and individual amendments are adopted on second reading.

The referral of Sen. Panfilo Lacson to the House “Red” and “Black” versions of the GAB is traditional. The “Red” version is the GAB originally filed on first reading and the “Black” version is the amended GAB for third reading, which has an increased allocation consequent to the amendments.

To explain further, the GAB with red prints is filed by the Committee on Appropriations based on the National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted by the President to Congress. It usually contains minor amendments introduced by the Committee on the NEP which is termed as the Original Bill.

The GAB with black prints already contains amendments introduced by the Committee and approved amendments introduced by Members of the House of Representatives for approval on third reading. There is definitely nothing unusual or sinister about having two versions which is consistent with recognized parliamentary procedure.

Filipinos do not only recognize the importance of family planning, they also strongly approve of government’s allocation of funds for modern contraceptives.

The latest Pulse Asia Survey concluded just before the 2007 elections showed an overwhelming majority of Filipinos (92%) believe it is important to mitigate fertility and plan their family.