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Solve small problems first, Mr. Singson

/ 10:13 PM August 15, 2012

Even if they disagree with him, many people now understand Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto, who is against the passage of the reproductive health (RH) bill.

After a lengthy attack on the RH bill, Sotto broke into tears and explained that his stand against it was both “professional and personal.”

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For the first time, the public learned that Sotto lost his infant son, Vincent Paul, 37 years ago because his wife Helen Gamboa took contraceptive pills.

A doctor friend, Sotto said, had suggested Helen take contraceptives after the birth of their first child, Romina, so she could resume her show biz career.

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Even while she was taking contraceptives, Helen got pregnant and Vincent Paul was born.

The baby boy was born with a weak heart as a result of the contraceptive Helen took, Sotto said.

The baby never left the hospital and died five months later.

Tito and Helen have four children: Romina, Diorela, Gian and Ciara.

Vincent Paul would have been the only boy.

After Sotto made the disclosure, even his critics have come to love him.

“No wonder he is an ardent opponent of the RH bill. I no longer hate him,” said a woman friend who thought Sotto’s stand against the controversial measure was to please the Catholic Church.

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The RH bill, vehemently opposed by Catholic bishops, would encourage couples to limit the number of children in order to slow down population growth.

The Philippines has one of the highest population in the world.

Sotto doesn’t have to please the Catholic Church since he’s not running for reelection next year.

And even if he’s a practicing Catholic, he doesn’t have to rely on the Catholic vote since it’s a myth.

Sotto, who ran as an independent in the 2007 election, won because of his popularity among the masses and not because of any particular sector.

* * *

Speaking of Sotto being Catholic, he and this columnist were classmates in Grade VII at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, an all-boys, Catholic-run school.

Sotto was the youngest among his classmates to finish elementary school because he was accelerated twice for his high grades.

People who think Sotto is of average intelligence have another think coming.

* * *

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is talking of an ambitious P352-billion flood control program.

But it was not able to solve a simple flooding problem at the Taguig section of C-5 Road in front of a gasoline station.

All the DPWH has to do is remove the concrete wall barrier on both sides of C-5 that separates the six-lane highway from the service road.

The barrier caused floods on that stretch of C-5 at the height of the monsoon rains that made it impassable to all vehicles.

The concrete barrier was installed in 2010 during the term of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Bayani Fernando.

InfraWatch, a nongovernment organization, asked Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson to remove the concrete barriers 15 months ago in a letter.

Singson did nothing.

The DPHW secretary should first solve the problem of small floods before tackling the big ones.

* * *

A  friend said that on Tuesday’s On Target column, I missed out on George Ty, owner of Metrobank who, he said, is the “most generous among the taipans.”

Metrobank Foundation probably has the biggest funds among all the other corporate foundations, with close to  P2 billion worth of bank shares and cash Ty has donated, according to my friend who didn’t want to be quoted.

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