Sen. Vicente Sotto III’s recent pronouncement against the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill caught the ire of a group of women advocates.
Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) represented by its National Chairperson Elizabeth Angsioco calls on Sen. Sotto to stop irresponsible talks and instead do his job.
According to Angsioco Sen. Sotto’s responsibility is to facilitate the legislative process, not derail it. This includes calendaring bills already reported out by the Committees for plenary debates. “Saying that he would rather be replaced from his position than see the RH bill enacted into law reeks of arrogance. It’s proof that the good Senator only cares about what he personally believes in, even if this runs counter to public welfare,” stressed Angsioco.
“If he truly is a statesman, he would not impose his personal opinion on the whole nation. Using his important position as the Senate Majority Leader to derail the legislative process is being untrue to his mandate as a lawmaker. If he doesn’t want to do his job, then he should resign,” said Angsioco.
Angsioco also stressed that, ‘Sotto’s rejection of a national RH policy based on fears that such would coerce people into using contraceptives even if they do not want to is unfounded and misguided. The services offered by the bill are for those who want and need these. Sotto, and people who believe as he does, will not be imposed on. It seems that the Senator has not studied the bill and has been relying on false things being said about it. Studying legislative proposals is part of his job description.’
‘Contrary to his perception, an RH law will provide all family planning methods, meaning, both the natural and modern methods will be equally available,’ Angsioco explains.
“Most importantly, Sen. Sotto must realize that the RH bill goes beyond providing contraceptives, it is about responsible parenthood, arresting maternal morbidity and mortality, training of skilled birth attendants, upgrading of hospital facilities and services, RH education for the youth, HIV and AIDS prevention, and many others, ” said Angsioco.
“Sen. Sotto must sit down with the bill’s proponents so he will understand its merits and perhaps realize that his opposition is misplaced. After doing that and he still refuses to perform his responsibilities as Majority Leader, then he should resign or be replaced,” she ended. xxx