Let’s vote on RH bill, don’t delay it

News Release
24 July 2012

Transcript of interview of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
On President Aquino’s endorsement of the Responsible Parenthood/Reproductive Health Bill
Senate Plenary

SPSC: Hindi naman ako nagugulat na hindi sila nape-pressure [na] ituluy-tuloy ang RH Bill kasi ayaw naman talaga nila ng RH Bill di ba? Magugulat pa ho ba kayo dun? Alam naman natin na ayaw nila ng RH Bill, at hangga’t makakaya eh gagawin nila yung pwede nilang gawin para hindi matuloy. We already know that so I’ve already acknowledged noon pa man na trabaho ko at ng aking kasama, si Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, ang aking co-sponsor, and of course our supporters like Senator Ping [Lacson] na itulak ito. So I will do my constitutional duty which is to ensure that the procedure is followed. Ayaw man nilang bigyan ng prayoridad, hindi man sila nape-pressure, I will ‘pressure’ them simply by doing what is my job — which is to be sure na yung bill sumunod sa proseso.

Tapos na po tayo sa proseso. Under our rules, pwede nang ituloy sa amendments. Now gusto nya ng turno en contra, no problem. So bibigyan natin sya ng opportunity to do turno en contra but of course it should be done within a reasonable time. Eh paano kung sabihin nyang next month pa sya magtu- turno en contra and then meanwhile, nag-aantay lang tayo. Hindi naman ho siguro tama yun di ba? I think kahit na hindi sila nape-pressure na bigyan ng prayoridad ang RH Bill, it is the obligation of every senator na hindi naman i-delay ang bill di ba? I think we owe that to every single Filipino here. They can oppose the bill but the process must go through: The period of committee amendments, and then individual amendments, and then we vote.

And to come up with reasons not to pursue this bill is a disservice to the Filipino people. Vote against it — that is what you do if you do not like the bill. Vote against it. Or propose amendments that you think will improve the bill and if I, as sponsor, don’t accept it, then vote against the bill. Pero to just simply say, ‘Hindi yan magmo-move forward, walang priority…” bakit? May nakalagay ba sa Constitution that some bills have priority over others? Wala hong nakalagay. So I believe that it is every senator’s responsibility to put in enough time to work on a bill, and then vote on it. I already know their position. If they’re against it — then vote against it.

Q: Yung pong turno en contra parang delaying tactic po ba yun?

SPSC: Karapatan naman ng bawat senador yun so I will not be malicious and say it’s a delaying tactic. Because karapatan naman ng senador to have a turno en contra, although if you will look at our history, wala ho akong inabot sa aking walong taon in the Senate na nag-turno en contra sa bill. Pero wala naman hong problema yun. I will not object to that.

Q: Pero baka raw mag-botohan ng end of August…

SPSC: That is what I want.

Q: Yun daw po sabi ni Senator Sotto…

SPSC: Then that is wonderful. I’m very happy but that. Kaya like I said, wala namang problema na hindi nila ito priority. Na hindi nila ito gusto, kasi karapatan ng bawat senador to make their vote known. Let’s vote on it, let’s not delay it.

Q: Ano po yung tingin nyo’ng naging impact ng pag-endorse ni PNoy sa Responsible Parenthood Bill sa SONA nya? May effect po ba iyon?

SPSC: Yes, may effect yun. For one, for all the people who have been working hard on this, including my staff, including people from the DOH, including the advocates na halos araw-araw nagshu-shuttle sila between the House and Senate to give their support. Kasi sila ho ang may hawak ng data, sila ang mga tao on the ground. Noon hong kinukwestyon yung, ‘totoo bang labing-isang nanay ang namamatay kada araw?’ ito ang mga tao na nakikita nila yun. Yung isang BHW nga umiiyak sya dyan [sa gallery] nung kinukwestyon kung totoong namamatay yung mga nanay — because she’s seen it with her own eyes. These are the people who we owe this bill to. And sila po ang lubhang natuwa dun sa pagbigay ng suporta ni Presidente. Of course ako, natutuwa rin pero ako kasi po my work goes on with or without the support. But of course, I appreciate and acknowledge [the President’s support].

Q: Sa tingin n’yo did it [President’s endorsement] do anything to sway them [lawmakers, critics]?

SPSC: For those who are really opposed to it, siguro wala nang magagawa dun ano? So I would assume that for the Senate President and the Majority Floor Leader, wala namang effect sa kanila yun. Pero baka ho sa iba meron naman. For those who are wondering how important it is, siguro may effect. May persuasive effect naman po ang presidente natin di ba? I think we know that by now.

Q: Mam malinaw sa inyo itong support from the President, but in the view of the Majority Floor Leader, he [PNoy] was talking about a different bill…

SPSC: Ganito po kasi yan: If you take the time to research a little bit, I understand that Malacanang made a statement that [its] preferred terminology is ‘Responsible Parenthood.’ Kasi in fact, kahapon I gave a statement na, ‘Bakit naman ganun? Napakahirap bang sabihin ng salitang Reproductive Health?’ But for Malacanang, yun ang gusto nila, Responsible Parenthood. And I’m assuming that is because mas politically acceptable yun to some groups, correct? Now if you look at the title of the measure of the bill in the House, it is ‘Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development.’ Ang title ng bill sa Senate is just ‘Reproductive Health and Population.’ So may difference ang title, but the substance is essentially the same. There is no other Responsible Parenthood Bill that has been presented to me, and neither am I aware that Malacanang has presented anything else to the House. Therefore, yun at yun din naman ang pinag-uusapan. We are mincing words. We are misleading people to say na ‘iba yun.’ Yun din yun. Now ano ba ang scope nun? Unless may ibibigay sa akin ang Malacanang na ibang version, ibang scope, then of course I will assume na yun din yung bill na matagal na naming buinubuo sa Senate at ng House. #

Sen. Cayetano: To say that ‘Responsible Parenthood’ is different from the ‘Reproductive Health Bill’ is misleading the people

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