Dear Noynoy: Let me refresh your memory on FOI & RP bills (updated)

Dear President Noynoy,

Wasn’t it just last month you said that you will be presenting the Responsible Parenthood (RH) bill, together with 11 other priority bills to be chosen, to the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), to be convened later this month.

I know that Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said the shortlist of the 17 priority bills, which was finalized last week, was selected from at least 180 proposed measures earlier received by the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office from various departments and the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce of the Philippines. The priority measures were critical to achieve the priority concerns of your administration outlined in the 16-point agenda of the government.

Well. well. well. Have you turned your back on two critical bills?

Contrary to what you announced last month, the reproductive health (RH) and the responsible parenthood (RP) bills will not be among the list of measures that you are asking Congress to expedite. At least that is what your presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said today.

These bills will not include the RH and RP bills and the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill.

I would like to gently remind you on your promises.

Do you remember? Yes we listed your promises here if you forgot what you said,

You vowed to make the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill your administration priority.

Let me refresh your memory on something you said on June 6, 2010:

This was after Congress adjourned sine die last Friday without the bill’s ratification by the House of Representatives due to lack of quorum.

Asked in an ambush interview if he would prioritize the Freedom of Information bill once he assumes office, Aquino categorically said, “Yes.”

“Iba pa rin ‘yung may force of law (It would be better if there is the force of law). That would be, I think, the more complete route,” he said in the interview aired over GMA Network’s “24 Oras” Sunday night.

On Responsible Parenthood, you promised on March 6, 2010 and you re-affirmed on January 20, 2011:

“My administration will fully support the crafting of a firm policy that will address the serious problem on population. It will bebased on the idea of responsible parenthood: imposing on parents that they should play a key role in ensuring that each and every child they bring into this world has the opportunity to lead a good life, and educating them about the means with which to plan their families so they can create families based on their ability to sustain their needs. In the process of providing a range of options and information to couples, both natural family planning and modern methods shall be presented.”

Here is the video

Starts at 2:06 (his reply to RH Bill)

(Continuation :answer to maternal health and sex education)

What is the timeline if you are still studying these bills?

I am so disappointed. I did not vote for you but I learned to embrace you as the President of the Philippines with the hopes that you will deliver on your promises.

Why the change of heart?

Was it the   calls for civil disobedience. Or the threats to abort RH talks. Was it the lengthy pastoral letter rejecting the RH Bill. Or maybe it was the mandatory prayer campaign (oratio imperata) launched yesterday against the RH Bill. But whatever it was that the CBCP did to threaten Malacanang,  it seems to have worked.

Does this mean that all the CBCP needs to do to stop the RH Bill is to delay their dialogue with Malacanang? They’ve already met twice, which is two more meetings than is necessary. The RH Bill (or some form of it) has been stuck in Congress for more than a decade. All the arguments for and against it are already known. What is left to talk about? And haven’t they made it clear that their position on contraception is non-negotiable?

In the February 14 press briefing, you said that there is a lot of common ground:

‘Yung Responsible parenthood, Basically … there are a lot of common grounds … there are also common grounds with the Catholic Church, but we want to have a focus on the idea that bringing children into this world really is a responsibility of the parents, who would know best as to their capabilities to nurture all of these children. So it’s really a reorientation of what the reproductive health debate has been. This is really a refocusing on the fact that we are focused on the quality of life afforded the children, and also, focused on the idea that responsibility has to be borne out by the parents together with the churches they belong to and the State.

What are we expecting then? A watered-down RH bill?

Check out what the others are saying. Most of them voted for you. Carlos Conde also shares his thoughts below on your broken promises.

Aquino’s broken promises

(Photo by: Gil Nartea/ Marcelino Pascua/ Malacañang Photo Bureau).