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The six congressmen and three congresswomen who made the declaration were Dakila Carlo Cua (Quirino, lone district), Allan Velasco (Marinduque, lone district), Rachel Marguerite del Mar (Cebu, 1st district), Fatima Aliah Dimaporo (Lanao del Norte, 2nd district), Lucy Torres-Gomez (Leyte, 4th district), Karlo Alexei Nograles (Davao City, 1st district), Gabriel Quisumbing (Cebu, 6th district), and Irwin Tieng and Mariano Michael Velarde, Jr., both of Buhay Partylist.
According to the solons, P3 billion — the proposed annual budget for the RH bill — is a huge amount of taxpayers’ money and will be more useful in addressing the poor’s lack of access to education, employment opportunities and better health care, which are the real causes of poverty, said the statement.
“The proposed P3 billion appropriation for the RH bill, if put towards education, can help secure the future of young Filipinos. That amount can build 4,644 new classrooms…or it can subsidize the college education of 300,000 scholars — a chance for underprivileged student achievers to earn their diploma.”
“With precious few teachers fighting the good fight in our public schools, P3 billion can fund the salaries of 13,000 additional teachers to boost up their ranks,” the statement continued.
The legislators also said that the amount would be better off used for providing job opportunities to the poor, whose financial stability will be bolstered by gainful employment. Part of this will be the provision of better skills training, the development of farm-to-market roads, and programs such as micro-lending funds to empower small businesses.
The statement also zeroed in on the need to prioritize health services for the poor, including provision of PhilHealth coverage, building and maintenance of birthing facilities, and carrying out family nutrition programs.
“In short, this proposed P3 billion allocation for the RH bill, if better utilized, can be a catalyst for real solutions that will give Filipinos the means to rise above poverty. Each Filipino should be seen not as a mouth to feed, but as a person with a mind to be educated and hands that can be trained to work,” the lawmakers declared.
“This Filipino that we feed and educate today will be one more thinking mind to solve problems of future generations, and one more pair of arms to lift up our nation,” they further stated.
“Population is not the cause of poverty. Therefore, the RH bill is not the solution we need.” (CBCP for Life)