Monday, July 14, 2008
Cebu fourth district Rep. Benhur Salimbangon is unfazed by criticisms he received from religious groups for his support to the Reproductive Health Bill.
Salimbangon and Cebu sixth district Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz were called as “anti-Filipino” and “anti-God” by Human Life International Pilipinas director Rene Josef Bullecer in a prayer rally the other day for signing in support of the bill.
“Such comment is very unkind and very unreasonable. I am not anti-Filipino nor anti-life. I challenge those who called themselves as pro-life to come to my district and help me in addressing the needs of the people,” Salimbangon said in an interview with The FREEMAN yesterday.
Salimbangon gave out relief goods to more than 5,000 households affected by Typhoon Frank in eight barangays of Bogo City and Medellin town yesterday.
The lawmaker said he signed the Reproductive Health Bill as he believed that it is one way of solving poverty caused by overpopulation.
Ruiz and Salimbangon were among the 34 signatories to the “Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development.”
Salimbangon said his plans and programs such as free hospitalization, free burial assistance, scholarship programs, livelihood assistance, among others, are aimed to benefit the people of his district.
“How about those who claimed to be truly pro-God, pro-people and pro-life, what have you done to alleviate the suffering of the people due to extreme poverty?” Salimbangon asked.
The fourth district comprises 161 barangays with a population of over 500,000, many of whom are children.
Soon-Ruiz said she is not anti-life and pro-abortion, saying she just wants a population policy for the country so the distribution of resources and food can be managed well.
As of August 2007, the country’s population hovered at 88.5 million, according to the National Statistics Office. It has an average annual growth rate of 2.04 percent from 2000 to 2007.
With 3.85 million people, Cebu is one of the country’s most populous provinces. — Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/LPM
Thousands stage rally vs reproductive health bill