Reproductive Health Bill Does Not Kill, Hunger Does, Says Enrile

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial bet Cagayan Rep. Juan "Jack" Ponce Enrile Jr. yesterday shrugged off his inclusion in the so-called "Team Patay" campaign of the Diocese of Bacolod against "anti-life" solons who supported the controversial Reproductive Health law.

Enrile maintained that his vote was "a vote of my conscience."

"I stand by my vote and I am proud of it. If I earned the ire of the Catholic Church by voting yes to a bill that will now give women the right to decide for themselves, then so be it. I stand by my vote," the son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said in a statement.

"The Reproductive Health Bill does not kill, hunger does. There are 20 million Filipinos who are hungry every day. There is a looming world food crisis and in times of crisis, women and children are the most vulnerable," he added.

He explained that the Reproductive Health law "empowers women to decide what is best for herself and her family."

"It makes women and their families less vulnerable. I have been to the most impoverished provinces in the country where families of 10 or more subsist daily on root crops and salt; if there's no root crop, just salt," he said.

These families do not have access to free health services, he noted.

"They lack education on reproductive health. Eleven to 15 mothers die every day in the Philippines due to maternity-related causes," Enrile said.

"How many more mothers will die while giving life because they do not have access to even the most basic of reproductive health services?" he asked.

The Diocese of Bacolod reportedly launched a campaign for voters to junk Enrile and other "anti-life" senatorial aspirants like reelectionist senators Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero; former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros and Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño.

The same diocese meanwhile wants Negros votes to support "Team Buhay" or "pro-life" bets reelectionists senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and Gregorio Honasan; former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar; San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada and Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay.

Meanwhile, two more senatorial candidates and two party-list organizations have received notices from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) over their illegal placing of campaign materials.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, in his twitter account, said they have also sent notices to Makabayan Party's Teodoro Casiño and Rep. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara of Team PNoy.

As for party-list groups, Anak Mindanao and Sanlakas have also been sent notices for having faulty posting of campaign materials.

"They have three days to remove all their illegal posters regardless of location," said Brillantes (@ChairBrillantes).

On Friday, Comelec-Law Department Director Esmeralda Ladra disclosed that they have sent notices to Akbayan's Risa Hontiveros and independent senatorial bet Edward Hagedorn after their posters were found to be violating campaign rules.

Party-list groups earlier sent notices were the Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA); Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (Buhay); 1 Joint Alliance of Marginalized Group, Inc. (1JAMG); Piston Lang Transportation Coalition, Inc. (Piston); Kabataan; and LPG Marketers Association, Inc. (LPGMA).

And if they do not remove the campaign posters, Brillantes assured them that they will be facing cases of election offense.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Hontiveros and Angara have sent teams to take down campaign materials that have violated Comelec rules. (With reports from Leslie Ann G. Aquino and Madel S. Namit)

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