By Jefferson Antiporda, Reporter
A controversial reproductive health measure passed on second reading last week by Quezon City must be given the chance to succeed if it is passed into an ordinance, a councilor of the city said over the weekend.
“Read first the ordinance before you crucify us.” This was the appeal made by Quezon City Majority Floor Leader Ariel Inton to the continued objection and criticism hurled by some sectors, particularly the Catholic Church, on the reproductive health ordinance, which was passed on second reading last week.
In an interview, Inton said members of the city council decided to approve the “QC population and reproductive health management policy” on the second reading, but only after giving it several revisions.
“If they [critics] will only read the new version of the ordinance, they can see that there have been many revisions particularly on certain provisions they have raised during the public hearing called by the city council last December,” Inton explained.
The ordinance was authored by Councilor Joseph Juico.
Among the changes made by the council is the exclusion of elementary students in the teaching of reproduction. That subject will be taught only to high-school students.
Under the original measure, reproductive health would be included in the curriculum of public school students from Grade 5 to fourth-year high school.
The provision regarding imprisonment and fines against those who will not implement the ordinance was also scrapped.
Pro-life, not pro-abortion
“We want to tell the Church and those sectors against the measure that all the concerns they raised earlier have already been considered and addressed, and the new version will be acceptable to them,” Inton said, adding the city council is pro-life. Supporters of the measure even claim it does not encourage abortion.
The Catholic Church has been very vocal against the passage of the ordinance which they claimed is “anti-life,” imperils “the sanctity of human life and the family,” and “kills unborn children.”
Another circular was issued by Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco on Sunday reiterating the Church’s stand against the measure.
Members of the city council is set to approve today in the third and final reading the ordinance which will be forwarded to Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte for signature.
Once approved, the council will formulate the implementing rules and regulation, and all sectors, including the Church, will be invited for the crafting of the guidelines.