MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III never mentioned the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III said Monday.
“[Aquino] said ‘responsible parenting’ but he did not say ‘bill’. He only said ‘we should practice responsible parenting.’ Correct, we are in favor of that, all of us are in favor of that,” Sotto said in an ambush interview after Aquino’s hour and a half long speech.
“He did not mention anything about contraceptives, abortion, birth control, and population control, nothing about that. That is what is contained in the RH Bill. There’s nothing (in his speech about that),” Sotto said.
Aquino said in his speech that he hoped the now shrinking backlog in education would not become a problem again because of the large number of students. He added, “I think, responsible Pparenthood is the answer,” for which he got the loudest applause from the audience in the gallery.
Sotto said that “even those who are opposed to RH Bill are in favor of responsible parenting.”
“When you want to declare contraceptives, IUDs, injectibles, and condoms as essential medicines, that’s not responsible parenting. When you are consenting to abortion, that is not responsible parenting. When you are going to spend P3 billion to buy contraceptives, that is not responsible parenting. So the President did not say anything about that,” Sotto said.
When asked to rate Aquino’s speech, Sotto said, “I believe this is the best Sona of the president. He covered everything, he was confident, he exuded confidence, he exuded sincerity in what he was saying.”