Pro-RH cooks 'electoral campaign' vs anti-RH solons
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - December 12, 2012 - 4:17pm

MANILA, Philippines - Supporters of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill are expecting a "historic vote" for its approval on Wednesday, saying they would "come in droves" at the House of Representatives to urge lawmakers to vote.

Likhaan Women's Center executive director Junice Melgar said in a statement that the pro-RH side of the debate will carry out a campaign in the 2013 polls against lawmakers blocking its passage.

"We are preparing an electoral campaign for those who made it hard for this bill to be enacted into law. We are determined to carry on the fight up to the mid-term elections in 2013," Melgar said.

Backed by Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) executive director Rom Dongeto also agreed that their groups will refuse to endorse re-electionists for Congress.

Dongeto hit legislators introducing multiple amendments to the divisive measure, saying these "tactics" are causes for its delay.

"We will be keeping an eye on the plenary session and we are expecting a historic vote for the enactment of the RH bill before the Christmas break," said Dongeto, whose organization is chaired by RH author Rep. Edcel Lagman.

'Don't be afraid'

Meanwhile, the country's Catholic hierarchy encouraged lawmakers who oppose the measure not to be afraid of the "many voices" that attempt to influence their decisions.

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Jose Palma urged lawmakers to respect "basic human rights," which he enumerated as "right to life, the right of married couples ... and to be the primary educators of children."

A vocal critic of the measure, Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay said although members of the lower house are "threatened" by Malacanang, they are motivated with the presence of clergymen in Congress.

"Our problem here is that we are up against a very powerful bloc… the party that provides funding for most of politicians in the country," Magsaysay said.

The solon reiterated the assertion that the Palace is putting "pressure" on lawmakers to put the RH bill to a vote or the Priority Assistance Development Fund (PDAF) would be held from them.

“Sino ang nang-ha-harass? The bishops — all the bishops and faithful show is the presence of the Church – or salita ng partido na ginagamit nila ang PDAF para maging sangkalan ng pagboto o di pagboto ng RH bill?” Magsaysay said in a forum Tuesday.

ARCHBISHOP JOSE PALMA CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES DONGETO EDCEL LAGMAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JUNICE MELGAR LIKHAAN WOMEN MAGSAYSAY MITOS MAGSAYSAY PHILIPPINE LEGISLATORS COMMITTEE
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