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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A call that must be echoed throughout the Philippines

From Journal Online:

Published : Monday, September 19, 2011 00:00 
Written by : Bernadette E. Tamayo

SENATOR Vicente Sotto III yesterday dared non-governmental organizations engaged in reproductive health services to allow themselves to be subjected to scrutiny to dispel suspicion that they are being used as “channels for abortions.”

He issued the challenge after proponents of the RH bill scored him for suggesting that they are pushing for legalized abortion. “Are non-government organizations being used as conduits to facilitate abortions in the country?,” Sotto asked.

He noted that one of these groups, the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) has admitted being a “proud” member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which supports and pushes abortion.

Likewise, Sotto said that FPOP has admitted that IPPF performs abortions in countries where the termination of life in a woman’s womb is legal. Last year the FPOP got P26 million from IPPF to push its agenda.

Another group, Likhaan, has taken Sotto to task for what it called “a witch hunt” for those advocating the RH bill. Like FPOP, Likhaan has not made any categorical statement denying they are pushing for a legalized abortion in the country.

Sotto pointed out that NGOs like FPOP and Likhaan have been receiving foreign funding to push for a national policy on artificial birth control methods, including abortion, as a means of controlling the population.

“Impliedly, a portion of these foreign grants was used to carry out ‘emergency contraception’ and abortion-related services, part of the conditions for the grants,” he said.

Sotto wants to know how many emergency contraceptions –- which he claimed is a euphemism for abortion — have been implemented by these NGOs and whether these are legal in the first place.

He said that abortion, whether safe or unsafe, remains illegal in the Philippines, punishable by six years imprisonment. The Revised Penal Code imposes imprisonment for the woman who underwent the abortion, as well those who helped facilitate the abortion. Article 2, Section 12 of the Constitution mandates the State “to protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”

Sotto said reports on how the funds were spent or disbursed form part of the requirement of the funding agency, and usually before more tranches of grants are given.

He dared the NGOs, which are supposed to be “epitomes” of transparency and accountability, to make their reports public.”

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