Pulse: 69% Favor RH Bill

Support for measure up 6 percentage points

By TJ Burgonio, Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:08:00 12/01/2010

MANILA, Philippines – Proponents of the reproductive health (RH) bill Tuesday cheered the results of a new Pulse Asia survey showing that 69 percent of Filipinos favored the population management measure, while others scoffed at the survey.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, author of a comprehensive RH bill for women, said the latest poll merely reaffirmed the sentiments of the majority of Filipinos about the RH measure.

“The time has come for the passage of the bill. This is the right time to pass it,” Ilagan said in an interview by phone.

President Benigno Aquino III acknowledged that the results of the Pulse Asia survey could be an indication that the people recognized that there were problems that need to be addressed in connection with the huge population.

The President said his stand on reproductive health issues was not dictated by what surveys found.

“I’m not going to base any of my decisions or my stand on what the survey says. But, may I just reiterate, that I have not changed my position,” he told reporters in Malacañang.

“It’s still called responsible parenthood,” he said.

Mr. Aquino has said that he is in favor of allowing couples to choose what birth control method is appropriate for them. He also said that government should provide these methods to those who don’t have the means to afford them.

“[What] it seeks to do is to remind all prospective parents or parents that they have to respond to their responsibilities,” the President said.

The Pulse Asia survey, conducted using face-to-face interviews from Oct. 20 to 29, showed that 69 percent of Filipinos supported the RH measure.

The survey, results of which were released Tuesday, also found that 80 percent of Filipinos were aware of the measure.

High awareness level

The high level of awareness ranged from 66 percent in the Visayas to 90 percent in Metro Manila, and from 72 percent among Class E to 93 percent among Class ABC.

Twenty percent learned about the bill while being interviewed for the survey.

Only 7 percent disagreed with the bill, while 24 percent were undecided on the matter.

The noncommissioned survey covered 1,200 respondents across the country and had a margin of error of plus-or-minus three percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

Support up 6 points

House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman said the survey exposes the dwindling influence of the Catholic hierarchy when it comes to persuading the faithful to eschew modern methods of family planning.

He noted that the support for the measure had risen by 6 percentage points from 63 percent in January 2009.

The House committee on population and family relations resumes its hearing on six RH bills on Wednesday.

With the backing of Mr. Aquino, proponents have predicted the approval of the RH measure by the end of the first regular session of the 15th Congress in June next year.

Real majority

Another RH bill author, Akbayan party-list Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, said the survey results showed who’s the real majority in the RH debate.

“We’ve always known that the bill has the firm support of the majority of Filipinos who believe in the bill because of their conscience and pro-life principles. They, too, want to prevent the death of 11 women a day,” Bag-ao said.

Other lawmakers, however, scoffed at the results.

Informed opinion

Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez, author of a bill protecting the rights of the unborn child, wondered if those polled have read the RH bills pending in the House.

“I understand at least 90 percent of the folks have not read the RH bill. How can someone who has not read the bill have an informed opinion on the bill?” Golez said.

He proposed that any survey firm first ask respondents if they had read the measure, and if the answer was affirmative, then it should ask them whether or not they favored the bill.


Bacolod City Rep. Anthony Golez, a medical doctor, said the survey showed that just as many Filipinos were not informed about the dangers of health services offered by the measure.

“More than half of the services it offer are abortifacient,” Golez said, referring to modern methods espoused by the bill that prevent pregnancy.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said: “I wonder if our countrymen actually agree with all provisions of the RH bill. Or just the concept of it (population management).” With a report from Inquirer Research

Copyright 2012 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20101201-306256/Pulse-69-favor-RH-bill


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