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Monday, July 21, 2008

Nograles seeks truce but 2 solons firm on population bill

And the HEAT is ON!!!

Kudos to Rep. Garina and Soon Ruiz.

And to all other legislators, may you be reminded that in passing and/or opposing legislative measures, do so in accordance with reasonable standards addressing the people's concerns and not simply on the basis of your religious affiliations. As Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama once said:

Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason.

It is your duty to do what is best for the country and not what is best for your "political" career. Don't you think if you do good for your constituents, they will not take notice and remember you in the next elections?

The Church is NOT the State, that is why there is separation of powers. What pleases the Church does not necessarily please the voters. Ever consider that? Think about the many children who are suffering because their parents can no longer provide them with basic needs? This is something the government should have addressed a long time ago. Don't back down now.

God only helps those who help themselves. Be bold. Take a chance. For once, do something relevant in Congress. Please!

By: Maila Ager
First Posted 17:53:00 07/21/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- As Speaker Prospero Nograles called for a ceasefire, two principal authors of the controversial reproductive health bill bucked pressures from the Catholic Church to abandon the measure.

Cebu Representative Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, head of the committee on millenium development goal, and Iloilo Representative Janette Garin, said they would stick to their position even as they acknowledged the pressures they had been getting from the Church.

"I'm not withdrawing my signature. I'm convinced [the bill] is not anti-life and it’s definitely not legalizing abortion," Soon-Ruiz said over the phone.

"I firmly believe that the bill is really needed, necessary to manage the population in our country," she said.

Garin said she would not also withdraw her support for the bill as she called on her colleagues not to be swayed by any pressure.

"I call on the congressmen to really consult their people kasi yun ang dapat sundin [because that is what they should do]. Ang [The] pressure will always be there but we should what is good for the people," Garin said in a separate phone interview.

"If we follow the voice of the people, we will be vindicated. The truth will set us free," she said.

Garin accused the Church of resorting to dirty politics by spreading false information about the bill and against those advocating it.

Soon-Ruiz said her support for the measure was also used against her in the past.

To avoid further conflict, Nograles called for a ceasefire and asked the Church not to "antagonize" the lawmakers.

"Kailangan natin dito ay [What we need to do here is to] vote. When you ask Congress to vote for your measure, let’s not antagonize them. Kasi kung magbangayan yan, imbes na open mind pa yan hindi na tuloy susuporta [Because if they start sniping at each other, instead of keeping an open mind, they might no longer support it]. Baka [What might happen would be] those who are supporting the measure, those against the measure magkabaligtaran, nagkainsultuhan [they might flip-flop or insult each other]," he told reporters.

"So ceasefire muna [let’s have a ceasefire first]. This is something that is on the floor, something that has been sponsored on the floor, and something that must be subjected to open debates," he said.

And at the end of the day, Nograles said, each congressman would vote on the issue based on their conscience.

Nograles admitted that he himself did not escape the strong lobbying of the Church.

He said the archbishop of his province in Davao approached him last year to ask if he could support the position of the Catholic on that issue.

"My answer was, I was a devout Catholic. Meaning, I was a devout Catholic. Yun na yun [That’s it]," he said.