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Sponsorship Speech on House Bill 5043

“An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development”
(delivered by REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN on 16 September 2008)

House Bill No. 5043 or “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development” should unite us, not divide us.

We are all confronted by common problems spawned by an inordinately huge population which we must collectively address, like:

  • High maternal and infant mortality;
  • Escalating incidence of abortions;
  • Growing number of malnourished and stunted children;
  • Increasing proportion of children of school-age who are out of school;
  • Serious social costs of labor migration;
  • Dearth of local employment;
  • Scarcity of food supply;
  • Inadequate mass housing; and
  • Despoliation of the environment.

We must open our minds to the import and merits of the Reproductive Health Bill and reject contrived criticisms, expose barefaced lies, refute malicious innuendoes, and resist menacing threats.

We must not fear to legislate because it is courage which is the handmaiden of a good and vital law.

This bill is not solely about pills, condoms and IUDs. Neither is it about sex, morality or religion no matter how desperately its oppositors claim it is.

It does not legalize abortion nor does it seek the legalization of abortifacients.

The bill is rights-based and does not have a demographic target. It is even a misnomer to call it a “birth control” measure.

There is no bias for or against natural or modern family planning methods because both will be promoted with equal vigor to truly assure freedom of informed choice.

The bill is principally about rights, health and sustainable human development. The bill is fully transparent. There is no hidden agenda. There are no caveats.

(Delivered by Rep. Edcel C. Lagman during the Teachers’ Day Celebration of the DepEd Tabaco City on 14 December 2007 at the Tabaco City Terrace)

When my immediate kin talk of public servants, the first person that comes to mind is my mother, Mrs. Cecilia Castelar-Lagman, a public school teacher for thirty-five long but rewarding years. Genuine public service necessarily entails devotion to duty and often even self-sacrifice. In Mama I have seen not only dedication and commitment to her job and to her students. I have also seen in her the passion and the heart which is indispensable if one is to become a real educator.

(Speech delivered by REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN at the
2007 Oath Taking Ceremonies of Barangay Officials of the First Congressional District of Albay)

The Barangay as a political unit is the most enduring legacy of our pre-Hispanic past. As pupils we learned that the word barangay traces its roots to balangay – the small but sturdy boats that our Malay ancestors used to navigate the rough seas of the Pacific to settle in these lands.

As barangay officials, it would be best to understand the history of this unique political unit so as to better recognize its indispensability to effective local and national governance. 

(Speech delivered by REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN at the Bicol Federation of Population Officers and Workers (BFPOW) Orientation on Responsible Parenthood on
11 July 2007 in Legaspi City)

Last week, a reporter from ABS-CBN called to ask if I planned to re-file the so-called “two-child policy” bill. I was dismayed that up to now, the deliberate misinformation of those opposed to a consistent and coherent national policy on responsible parenthood and reproductive health has managed to confuse not only the public but also media practioners who ought to know better. I had no choice but to strongly admonish her for resorting to misguided labels.

The first bill that sought to criminalize enforced disappearance (then called unexplained disappearance) was filed on 04 September 1990 by Rep. Eduardo Nonato Joson, Jr.  Other bills penalizing enforced disappearance were filed in the following Congresses. The House of Representatives in the 13th Congress approved the Anti-Disappearance Bill on 3rd and final reading on 29 May 2006 and was received by the Senate two days later. Lamentaby, the Senate failed to act on it and its own counterpart versions of the measure.

I see no reason for the current Congress to temporize on passing a special law penalizing enforced disappearance as a distinct crime separate from kidnapping, serious illegal detention and/or murder.