Monday, December 3, 2012

On the President’s Meeting with the Members of the House of Representatives regarding the Responsible Parenthood Bill

MANILA, December 3, 2012-The President met today with members of the House of Representatives to discuss the Responsible Parenthood Bill. The President began his remarks by telling the gathered representatives that, if he were still a member of the House, he would vote for the Responsible Parenthood Bill. He shared with the gathered congressmen and women the discernment that led to his taking this position.
The President recalled a visit to the Baseco compound in Manila, during which he met a 16 year-old mother who had just given birth to her second child and whose husband had no stable source of income. The President reflected on the sobering realities the young lady's plight represented: instead of being able to have a normal adolescence, here was a young lady already struggling with the truth of having two children. He asked the representatives to consider, too, the circumstances surrounding the child born to such a young parent: what kind of a future would such a child have, in terms of basic needs like nutrition, and other future prospects down the line?
The President said that confronted with the girl's story, he had to ask himself, whose failure was it for the young girl and her children to be so disadvantaged? The President said that such a situation posed a challenge of conscience and leadership to all those who have put themselves forward to serve their constituents. Can you, the President asked, in good conscience, consent to the perpetuation of this state of affairs?
The President discussed with the congressmen his belief that genuine leaders cannot postpone a decision on what is a divisive issue. It should be resolved at the soonest possible time. Leadership comes not just with perks, but also with responsibilities, and among those responsibilities is that of making a choice. He asked how anyone could oppose offering parents the opportunity to make informed choices about the number of children they have, and about having the fullest opportunity to understand the requirements for raising healthy offspring.
The President also pointed out that the House must act on the pending bill sooner rather than later. The issue has been divisive for too long; the time has come to put the matter to rest. He suggested that a week should be adequate time to consider amendments that genuinely improve the bill – in contrast to "killer amendments" – and that at the end of that period, it is incumbent on representatives to vote.
There are material issues that we need to address – and we must address them in conscience, the President said. He further told the lawmakers that we are taught that our conscience is the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong – and that at the end of the day, we will all be asked: What did you do to the least of your brethren?
The President closed his remarks by stating that to do nothing is to exacerbate the problem. Our responsibility is to craft the best possible measure, to offer the best possible opportunities for our children to grow and prosper.

Legarda Supports Passage of FOI Bill

MANILA, December 3, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today expressed support to the proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, stressing that honesty, transparency and accountability must always be upheld to gain back the people’s confidence and faith in the bureaucracy.

“While the present administration is undertaking efforts to elevate the citizens’ trust and confidence in the government, we must give the people something that they can hold on to,” said Legarda.

In her co-sponsorship speech for Senate Bill 3208, An Act Fortifying the People’s Right of Ownership over Information Held by the People’s Government, Legarda explained that the various controversies in the past decade have left Filipino citizens doubting the capability of the government to do its mandate of serving the best interest of the people.

“Under this proposed measure, we aim to feed our people with information about us, the leaders they elected in office, and the businesses our offices deal with. All government agencies will be mandated to disclose information on public interest transactions, documents or records,” she pointed out.

The Senator said that the compulsory disclosure shall be done by posting the aforementioned documents on government websites for easy access, aside from providing these documents upon a person’s request. Furthermore, vital information must be translated into major Filipino languages and made easier to comprehend.

Legarda Pushes for Senate Concurrence in UNESCO Learning Center for Sustainable Development

MANILA, December 3, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today urged the Senate to concur in the agreement between the Philippines and the UNESCO concerning the establishment of a South-East Asian Center for Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development (SEA CLLSD) in the country.

“The establishment of the SEA CLLSD seeks to develop and provide appropriate learning programs, which aim to benefit the marginalized, the disadvantaged, and the underserved members of the population, including our indigenous peoples, our out-of-school youth and our non-literate adults, as it envisions to create an educational framework that works for sustainable development,” she explained in her sponsorship speech for Senate Resolution No. 898, under Committee Report No. 482.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, noted that the UNESCO CLLSD is intended to serve the Southeast Asian sub-region.

“It will provide the Philippines with the opportunity for technical exchanges, collaboration and cooperation with our immediate neighbors in the field of lifelong education for sustainability. We will not only gain knowledge, we will also grow closer to our Southeast Asian neighbors,” she said.

“We will be able to share, compare, and learn from one another’s practices and experiences. Through this, we can expect to continuously renew, improve and innovate on our learning and education systems to serve the higher goals of social development and sustainability,” Legarda concluded.


MANILA, December 3, 2012-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, seeks to pass Senate Bill 3328 or the "Centenarian Act of 2012".

"We would do well to honor our elderly, especially those who have reached the age of 100. They comprise less than one percent of our population, and it is a remarkable feat to have lived for that long."

The bill seeks to grant centenarians Php100,000 and to declare September 25 as National Respect for Centenarians Day.

"It is rare that anyone reaches the age of 100. Most live up to 60 years old; some reach the age of 80 if lucky. The amount of Php100,000 would be a small token from the government in recognition of our centenarians."

The Senate Committee on Social Justice will hear the bill on December 4, 2012.


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