More on RH Bill Exclusive interviews with Manny Pacquiao and Lea Salonga

Published by rudy Date posted on May 29, 2011

The heated debate over the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill has reached new heights with big names — on either sides — making their stands known. In exclusive one-on-one interviews with Jessica Soho, two of the most recognizable Filipino names in the world, Lea Salonga and Manny Pacquiao, defended their stance on GMA News TV’s State of the Nation.

In the boxing ring, it’s hard to see how Pacquiao could lose, but the fight against the RH bill could turn out to be one of the most challenging fights he would ever have in his life. Yet, it’s a fight he has faced head on, and one he seems to be very passionate about.

“Sa paniniwala ko, mali iyan na sisihin natin ang mga tao na kaya tayo naghihirap dahil marami tayo. Sa totoo lang, naghihirap ang mga tao dahil maraming mga korapsyon,” said Pacquiao on his first live television interview after his triumph over Sugar Shane Mosley. Pacquiao appeared on State of the Nation with Jessica Soho the night before he went on the floor of the Congress to deliver his stand on the RH bill.

Pacquiao went on to tell his own story — about how, growing up as a child in a poor family, he took odd jobs to make ends meet, and said that poor Filipinos can uplift themselves by trusting God and working hard, and not by limiting the number of children they can have.

But if couples really want to plan their families, Pacquiao says there is no shortage of condoms and contraceptives, and they’re legal. “Ngayon na wala pa iyan RH bill, ang mga tao gumagamit na ng condoms, gumagamit na ng pills, eh bakit pa natin ipasa iyong RH bill?” he said.

Salonga, who has been the de facto ambassadress of reproductive health, took a swipe at Pacquiao’s remarks in a separate interview with Soho.

“Well, you have access to it because heck, you can have access to gold-plated condom if it so behooved you to buy one. But it’s the RH bill, you’re not the target of the RH bill. It’s in favor of the midwives who fight every single day to battle this kind of ignorance, it’s for the 11 women everyday that die, it’s for the health workers that try to educate,” Salonga said.

Salonga admitted that she and her husband do not use artificial contraceptives, but sees no connection between that and her pro-RH stance. “That was a choice that we made. So you don’t have to be pro-contraception to be pro-reproductive health,” said Salonga. “I mean there are some side effects of the pill that affects me as a singer also.”

On the other hand, while there are reports quoting Jinkee, Pacquiao’s wife, saying she uses contraceptives, Pacquiao said they use natural family planning methods. “Kami pag sinabi namin, o huwag muna tayo ngayon, dahil medyo pag nag make love tayo ngayon is mabubuntis ka. Tiis lang, disiplina. Parang boxing din nagdisiplina ka sa sarili mo,” Pacquiao said. –Daily Tribune

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