Sunday, February 10, 2013

Team PNoy senatorial bets to push PNoy’s peace policy in Mindanao, says Drilon

MANILA, February 10, 2013-Team PNoy campaign manager, Senator Franklin M. Drilon on Sunday stressed that it is vital for the President Aquino to have a majority in Congress for the remainder of his term in order not to undermine his ongoing efforts to bring an enduring peace in Mindanao.

Drilon said the President needs his team in Congress to push, as a pillar of his peace-making initiative, the creation of a Bangsamoro Republic that would take the place of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.  The Bangsamoro Republic is one of the milestones in the framework agreement of the ongoing peace negotiation between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“If the electorate did not vote for the team of the President in the coming elections, the creation of a new basic law that will establish the Bangsamoro Republic may be put in peril because the President would have no allies to  fight for this in the next Congress,” said Drilon.

“Kaya kung hindi maniniwala ang tao sa kanya at hindi dadalin ang mga kandidato na kaniyang ineendorso, there’s a clear signal from the electorate na hindi payag ang taumbayan sa konsepto ng framework agreement,” he said.

That is why, Drilon said, it is important that the candidates the President has handpicked,for Team PNoy will make it to the Senate so they could help the President advance the necessary reforms, especially his policy in establishing peace and development in Mindanao.

Fighting ignited by Muslim sentiment for a homeland has rocked Mindanao for more than four decades, claiming thousands of lives and setting back economic and social development in the resource-rich island, the country's second largest.

Drilon said an enduring peace in Mindanao is so important to the President he is going to make an unprecedented visit to the Muslim stronghold in Sultan Kudarat.   

“That is also why the President is spending his political capital for his candidates," Drilon said,."Kaya ngayon, kung hindi mailuklok ang kaniyang mga inendorsosa Kongreso, hindi mabubuo yung bagong basic law.” 

RH backers fear ghost of RH inutility

MANILA, February 10, 2013-Having won the battle to dole out free condoms and other contraceptives is apparently not enough for the proponents and supporters of the Reproductive Health Law. Now they are peddling half-truths and outright lies to cover up for the duplicity of the new law.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III yesterday took exception to the claim of Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman that the RH law will suffer if the lawmakers who pushed for it in the House of Representatives do not get a fresh term.
“There is a huge amount of money for reproductive, maternal and infant health even without the RH law. The fear of some RH supporters is misplaced, if not a non-sequitur.  Let us not simplify the elections as an issue between pro and anti-RH,” Sotto said.
On Tuesday, as pro-RH lawmakers celebrate the spoils of the war, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman pitched for the election of more pro-RH lawmakers to ensure sufficient yearly funding for its implementation.
“We must ensure in the coming May elections that the RH advocates get the people’s mandate so that adequate and responsive appropriations will be allocated for the RH law,” Lagman, who was the main sponsor of the measure in the Lower House, said.
He said one of the major challenges faced by the RH law is for Congress to provide budget for the new law.
On the contrary, Sotto said a cursory check in the 2013 General Appropriations Act for the Department of Health showed that more than P9.1-billion is already allocated for RH-related programs catering to maternal and infant health care.

 These are made up of the following items in the budget allocation of the Department of Health:
1.  Women’s Health And Safe Motherhood Project- 269,860,000.00
2.  Family Health and Responsible Parenthood- 2,539,420,000.00
3.  Health Family Planning Operations and Infrastructure Programs- 3. 268,902,000.00
4.  Health Human Resource Development- 2,952,832,000.00
5.  Implementation of Doctors to Barrios and Rural Health Practice Program- 2,799,383,000.00
6.  National Health Insurance Programs- 12,612,283,000.00
7.  Health Promotion- 162,479,000.00
8.  POPCOM -Coordination of the Population Policy and Programs- 187,822,000.00
“All in all, to include other items related to RH programs, there is a whopping P21-billion in the DOH budget that seeks to address maternal and infant health concerns,” Sotto said.
Sotto, who questioned the measure in the Senate, said RH proponents could be engaging a self-fulfilling prophecy that the law is actually useless and is bound to be a huge failure.
Even without the RH law, he pointed out that the government has been distributing condoms and pills for free in health clinics that only resulted to wastage of public funds since only a few avail of these artificial birth control methods.
“Our Filipino culture loves children. The Filipino culture is family-oriented. The RH law seeks to debase that culture,” he said.
Sotto said that RH proponents and supporters have no one else to blame, except themselves, if the law is found to be inutile in the end. “Are they conditioning the public for scapegoats to blame?” he asked.
The RH law seeks to propagate contraceptive use among the poor to arrest population growth, as well as improving health care for pregnant women. It also provides for age-appropriate sex education in public schools.


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