US bankrolling RH bill with up to P50M, says lawmaker
The oldest lawmaker in Congress has accused his colleagues of being bankrolled by a huge United States lobby in pushing for the adoption of a population control measure in Congress.
The privilege speech of Cebu Representative Pablo Garcia, 86, in which he claimed the existence of a P20 million to P50 million lobby fund for the passage of the reproductive health (RH) bill had prompted one of its proponents, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Teodoro Casiño, to ask whether the US government was indeed meddling in Philippine affairs.
“I think Congressman Garcia’s accusations are too serious to be ignored and we should look at this closely,” said Casiño in a phone interview.
Garcia said the US lobby’s main vehicle in Congress was the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development led by Minority Leader Edcel Lagman.
“This committee is funded and maintained by foreign agencies and institutions in the service of a foreign power. This committee receives P20 million to P50 million a year from its foreign benefactors such as Usaid, Ford Foundation, Packard Foundation, United Nations Fund on Population and other institutions engaged in world population control.
“For several years and until 2009, this committee held office in the Batasan complex, whether in the north wing or south wing. Now it is holding office somewhere else after its presence in the Batasan complex was denounced by a member of the House on the floor,” said Garcia.
Garcia described the panel as the “unelected de facto committee on population.”
Some of the efforts of the US lobby to rush passage of the RH bill, he said, included referring the measure to the House committee on population and family relations instead of the committee on health (Garcia said the bill was not primarily about population); letting Lagman instead of the committee chairman, Biliran Representative Rogelio Espina sponsor the bill, and allowing the sponsors to take first crack at the floor debates on the bill.
Lagman did not return the Inquirer’s calls or text messages.
In his privilege speech last week, Garcia said he wanted to speak out against the “conduct of some of our colleagues that in my judgment raises questions of potential conflict of interest or the possible transgression of the boundaries of appropriate ethical conduct.”
Garcia said the United States was working to “seduce, manipulate or coerce” the state into passing the RH bill, or House Bill No. 4244, so that not even leftist and hyper-nationalist groups know that they had aligned themselves to the interest of a foreign power.
Garcia said the Philippines was only one of 13 countries that the US had targeted for “aggressive and coercive population control” using millions of dollars “ostensibly as benevolent funding assistance but actually in pursuit of its own global population-control strategy.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.