Aquino discusses RH bill with Pacquiao during Palace visit
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino took up his responsible parenthood agenda with world boxing champion Saranggani Representative Manny Pacquiao during the latter’s post-victory courtesy call in Malacañang on Friday.
Pacquiao, who recently became the champion in Congress of anti-Reproductive Health Bill advocates, also explained to the President the points he raised during his interpellation of RH bill sponsor Albay Representative Edcel Lagman.
“It was clear in the discussion that Congressman Pacquiao understood the President’s (position on responsible parenthood),” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters after the courtesy call.
“They were in agreement that there should be no abortion,” she added.
Valte said the President told Pacquiao that the administration doesn’t favor one method of family planning over another.
Pacquiao, on the other hand, raised his concern about parents who don’t want to have their children undergo sex education as provided for under the RH bill.
Asked whether the President managed to convince Pacquiao to support his responsible parenthood program, Valte said, “It would be difficult to judge.”
“Perhaps, we’d only be able to determine if there would be a change in their stand when they vote (on the RH bill) in the plenary,” Valte said.
She said Aquino and Pacquiao also talked about how American boxer Shane Mosley “fought in reverse” during their last fight that the Filipino boxer won handily.
Valte added that the Saranggani lawmaker raised concerns of his constituents in the province such as the need to be beneficiaries of PhilHealth and the government’s welfare programs.
The deputy spokesperson said Pacquiao presented Aquino with an autographed yellow shirt and a grey hooded sweater.
Valte said Aquino handed Pacquiao “a small token.”
Pacquiao, who ran and won his congressional seat under the Nacionalista Party in the last elections, expressed support to Aquino when he met with the President at his home on Times Street, Quezon City.
It was when it was clear Mr. Aquino has already won the presidential elections.
Pacquiao traditionally goes to see the President almost immediately after he returns to the country from a fight abroad.
Aquino, however, was not in Malacañang Saturday morning when Pacquiao arrived. The President, along with several Cabinet secretaries, toured the USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea as it neared Philippine waters.
The Carl Vinson was the American aircraft carrier that “buried” terrorist Osama Bin Laden’s remains after he was killed by US Navy Seals recently.
Earlier this week, Pacquiao aligned himself with Catholic leaders in the campaign against the passage of the RH Bill in Congress.
Aquino’s responsible parenthood program is anchored on making available all family planning methods to couples and allowing them to choose what is most appropriate for their needs.
These methods include artificial methods that Catholic leaders don’t approve of.
The bill also aims to provide the couple’s choice method if they couldn’t afford it.
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