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Sotto claims international pro-abortion conspiracy behind RH bill

In the second part of his Turno En Contra against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday “exposed” local and international groups which, he claimed, were behind the RH bill and advocating abortion and population control. Sotto said the measure was "significantly influenced" by these groups of "doubtful character." "They have been pushing for the passage of this bill to serve their ulterior motives far off from the aims of the proponents of the bill," he said during his nearly hour-long speech. He said that among the foreign organizations that "surreptitiously impose" their hidden agenda through the measure are: - the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which Sotto called the instrument of the United States in controlling population through birth control and which supposedly contacted, supported, and funded NGOs and government agencies in the Philippines; - United Nations agencies, which supposedly use UN resources to push their population control programs, with a report by the UN Human Rights Council reportedly saying women "must be granted access to legal abortion in order for them to fully enjoy their human rights"; and - The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which supposedly lobbies for the liberalization and repeal of laws against abortion; its founder Margaret Sanger was supposedly intent on reducing family size. Sotto said that local groups in on the plot include the following: - Family Planning Organizations of the Philippines, an IPPF member that participated in RH bill hearings (Sotto said that according to IPPF’s recent financial statement, the FPOP received a subsidy amounting to $625,095 or almost Php 27.5M in 2011); - Reproductive Health Advocacy Network, which supposedly has a budget allocation for “nurturing legislators” to expedite the passage of the RH bill;   - LIKHAAN, a RHAN affiliate that reportedly received funds from the UNFPD for the passage of the RH bill (Sotto claimed that its website features a step by step procedure on how to abort a baby); and - the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines, which supposedly excludes the unborn from the definition of “children."   "These foreign organizations underhandedly seek to legalize abortion in countries where it is still a crime," said Sotto. "And that I believe is exactly what they’re doing now in our country through this bill. This bill is a foreign-dictated policy, forcing us to adopt population control and abortion, contrary to the values that we uphold," he added. Dubious data? Sotto also questioned the "credibility and trustworthiness" of the source of data of the proponents of the RH bill. "Reliable ba ang sources na ito? May pinapaboran ba ang source dahil makikinabang sila dito kalaunan? At ano ang motibo ng mga organisasyong nagtutulak nito?" he said. He cited the statistics mentioned by RH bill sponsor Senator Pia Cayetano, including the 2008 Philippine National Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the National Statistics Office. He said USAID funded the culling of data, as well as funded the Dharmendra Kumar Tyagi (DKT), one of the largest manufacturers of condoms, pills and other contraceptives. "USAID ang magpopondo sa NSO para lumabas ang impormasyong kailangan ng population control sa bansa, at USAID din ang tumutulong sa DKT na mapalaganap ang produkto nila. Gagawa ka ng demand for contraceptives, tapos ikaw ang magsu-supply ng solusyon," he said. "Magandang ideya sa marketing pero hindi sa paggawa ng batas. Sana wag nating gawing pain ang ating bansa sa ganitong pageeksperimento," he added. Sotto also questioned the motives of the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), which he said was also used by Cayetano for sources. But he said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile had already pointed out that the AGI came into existence as the marketing arm of Planned Parenthood in 1968. "The Institute is predisposed to a particular line of attitude in relation to population and birth, and that is to control population and not to deal with health concerns," he said.   "We cannot simply rely on these questionable institutions to provide the statistics for us, since these statistical data would help us make intelligible and accurate judgment on the issue at hand," he added. He specifically cited the controversial 11 maternal deaths a day statistic, which he maintained was incorrect. He said that his staff went around the country and found that in some areas, not more than 11 mothers die every year. He likewise cited a 2010 report of the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Bank which supposedly estimated the annual maternal deaths in the country at 2,100 in 2008, or 5.75 deaths a day. He said the report of 11.2 maternal deaths a day or 4,100 annual deaths was published seven years ago by the same agencies. "Hindi po sa wala akong pakialam sa mga nanay na namamatay, ang punto ko po ay ayokong gamitin nila ang maling figures at statistics na ito para lamang hikayatin ang nakakarami na ipasa ang RH bill," he said. Sotto said he will deliver the third and fourth parts of his Turno En Contra another day. - BM, GMA News