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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why the hurry to pass the RH Bill?

From Bobit Avila's latest column entitled Foreign agents funding the RH bill? Hmmmm (December 13, 2011)

A very impatient Pres. Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III has tasked House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. to push harder for the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, but the House Speaker pointed out that there are still a lot of people who want to interpellate this in the plenary hall. 
Now why is the President so much in a hurry to push the RH bill? Is he under some kind of outside pressure? If so, who is pressuring him? Surely, it is not the Americans pressuring him because last week I met with US Ambassador Harry Thomas at the Cebu Country Club and he told me in no uncertain terms, “The United States does not have a policy regarding the RH bill in the Philippines.” With that statement, then there must be others who are pressuring the President to speed up the passage of this bill. 
P-Noy should also show some kind of respect to House Speaker Belmonte; after all, he is also the head of a co-equal branch of the government, which should not be subservient with the Executive Branch. Having said that, I can understand why Speaker Belmonte told the President that there are still many Congressmen who have questions in their minds to ask especially who are the foreign backers of the RH bill? 
Does the President even know that there is a law dubbed Batas Pambansa Bilang 39, An Act Regulating the Activities and Requiring the Registration of Foreign Agents in the Philippines” or the Foreign Agents Act of 1979? Why am I mentioning this? Well, I gathered that there’s a group called the Forum for Family Planning Development who I heard was trying to recruit prominent or celebrity Catholics to back the RH bill. 
Just a week ago, I saw a vehicle with a loudspeaker going around the streets of Cebu espousing the need for an RH bill. Where did this people get the funding for this? Come on guys, we were not born yesterday, someone is paying the tab for this and it surely isn’t the Catholic Church! So could they very well be funded by those so-called “foreign agents?” 
In section 3 of BP No. 39, a “foreign agent” refers to any person who acts or agrees to act as political consultant, public relations counsel, publicity agent, information representative, or as agent, servant, representative, or attorney for a foreign principal or for any domestic organization subsidized directly or indirectly in whole or in part by a foreign principal. The term “foreign agent” shall not include a duly accredited diplomatic or consular officer of a foreign country or officials of the United Nations and its agencies and of other international organizations recognized by the Republic of the Philippines. Ask where is the headquarters of the Forum for Family Planning Development and you will know if they are foreign agents or not. 
So now that we are clear on this, we should allow our Congressmen and Women to interpellate in the plenary session as to who are the principal backers of the RH bill and why there’s so much money being poured into this controversy and this country, Gads, even ABS-CBN came up with its own RH promo. So now let’s ask them who paid the bill for that promo? 
There’s also a group called the Wallace Global Fund or the Catholics For Choice that gave $75,000 in the year 2009 for a pilot program dubbed “Translating Research into Action” in support of the advocacy for Reproductive Health Rights in the Philippines. Is this group registered under BP No. 39 or the Foreign Agents Act? There are many other such organizations that have apparently targeted the Philippines for funding in support of the RH bill and I shudder to think that some members of the House of Representatives could have gotten a piece of this fund, which is why they are so rabidly promoting the passage of the RH bill.

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