RH proponents retain clause that implies poor should not have kids

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MANILA, Dec. 7, 2012—After shooting down proposed amendments from pro-life lawmakers Pablo Garcia (Cebu), Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro), Lani Mercado-Revilla (Cavite), Karlo Nograles (Davao), and Hermilando Mandanas (Batangas), pro-reproductive health (RH) bill solons rejected yet another amendment, which Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing proposed due to a clause in the “substitute bill” that imposes a condition that discriminates poor people.

Bagatsing said that part of the Declaration of Policy imposes a prohibition on child-bearing on people deemed incapable of raising children properly, referring to Sec. 2 or the Declaration of Policy:

“The State shall also promote openness to life, provided that parents bring forth to the world only those children that they can raise in a truly humane way.”

Para bang kapag ikaw ay mahirap, di mo kayang magpalaki ng bata sa tamang pamamaraan, Sa anyo ngayon ng panukalang ito, parang pinagbabawalan natin ang mga Pilipinong mahihirap – at marami po ‘yon – na sila ay magkaroon ng anak sapagka’t di nila kayang palakihin,” Bagatsing said during Wednesday deliberations at the House of Representatives.

He pointed out that the government is essentially imposing a prohibition on matters that families should decide on.

“In effect, when we say ‘…provided parents bring forth to the world only those children that they can truly raise in a humane way, ang sinasabi mo dito ay ‘huwag kang magka-anak, dahil mahirap ka.’ Eh gustong magkaroon ng pamilya sapagkat ang mag-asawa kapag walang anak, malungkot. We will stop them from having babies, or a first son, or first daughter?” the Manila lawmaker asked as House Bill 4244 principal author Edcel Lagman (Albay) listened from across the plenary hall.

Marami namang mayaman dito na nanggaling sa pagka-wala,” he continued. “Eh kung hintayin muna natin silang magkaroon ng yaman bago magkaroon ng anak, eh sinusupil mo ang pamilya.”

Clause goes against family laws

Bagatsing appealed to the body that the concerned clause – found on page 3 of the 27-page measure – be removed since it runs contrary to the laws that the State has established regarding families, referring to respect for the sanctity of the family and its rights as guarantee by the Philippine Constitution.

Baka papayag naman ang sponsor na i-delete na [ang clause na] ‘yan. [Gawin na lang] ‘the state shall promote openness to life,’ period,” he said.

Lagman responded by saying that the clause, which was not in the original version of HB 4244, was placed as part of the substitute bill so that “the State will not have an anti-natalist policy.”

“We regret that we cannot receive [Bagatsing’s] amendment,” the Albay solon said.

When asked during the discussion who inserted this particular clause in the “substitute bill,” he declined to disclose the information. Pressed further by Bagatsing, Lagman said he could not reveal the person’s name. (CBCP for Life)

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