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No foreign funding for RH lobby -- Lagman

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- One of the staunchest advocates of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill in the House of Representatives on Monday rebuffed reports that population control groups are funding their initiatives to have it passed in Congress.

Minority Leader and Albay Representative Edcel Lagman directed his tirade at another senior member of the chamber, Deputy Speaker and Cebu Representative Pablo Garcia, who exposed the existence of P20 million to P50 million lobby fund from the US to pass the RH bill.

“The allegation of a United States multi-million peso lobby fund for the enactment of the RH bill is an old yarn which is destitute of factual basis. This is a dead and fossilized tirade which anti-RH
solons like Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia try to resurrect every time the RH bill is at the threshold of approval,” Lagman said in a statement.

“The principal proponents of the RH bill are recognized nationalist legislators who will not take a cent from foreign lobbyists,” he added.

In a privilege speech last week, Garcia said the US funds the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) “led by Lagman” as its vehicle to get the bill going in Congress.

Lagman dared Garcia to prove his allegations, noting that no one in the House took his “bait” when he delivered his privilege speech because the congressmen knew that it was done only to further delay the passage of the bill.

Turning the tables on his colleague, Lagman said Garcia should not ignore the reality that it is the lobby against the RH bill that is well-funded by the “wealthy Catholic hierarchy with the aid of dozens of lay organizations.”

 “Garcia has long been the conservative spokesman who has been pontificating from the antediluvian pulpit like when he vociferously opposed progressive legislation such as the institution of a comprehensive agrarian reform program and the abolition of the death penalty, both battles he had lost,” Lagman said.

He said the PLCPD has been in existence for more than two decades, even before the RH campaign started.

“PLCPD does not promote population control, but advocates freedom of informed choice with respect to reproductive health and the various forms of family planning from the natural to the modern which are medically safe, legal, and truly effective,” he said.

In an earlier statement, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also claimed that “pro-abortion groups” have been showering RH lobbyists with millions in funding to promote the Western agenda of contraception and population control.

In a statement quoting the Filipinos for Life (F4L), it said that funders include Planned Parenthood and its international arm, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Marie Stopes International, the Packard Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The group said that documents revealed the following financial grants for RH lobby groups:

* $90,000 to the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) for promotion, from the UN Population Fund or UNFPA (2011);


* $6.6 million to Planned Parenthood arm Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) from UNFPA (2009);

* $1.6 million to FPOP from IPPF for the years 2005, 2009, and 2010;

* $1.2 million to PSPI from Marie Stopes (2009);

* $39,000 to Likhaan from Planned Parenthood (2007);

* $88,000 to FPOP in 2009 from Marie Stopes for RH kits; and

* $75,000 to “Catholics” for Choice to promote RH, from the Wallace Global Fund (2009)  

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