SENATE Majority Floor Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has turned down the suggestion of at least two youth organizations that he engage in an academic debate with them on the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill.
“We are already debating it in the Senate. No point in debating it outside,” Sotto told GMA News Online in a text message on Monday.
The senator, who strongly opposes the passage of Senate Bill No.2865 or The Reproductive Health Act of 2011, issued the statement after Akbayan Youth and the Ateneo Debate Society (ADS) asked him to participate in a academic debate on the controversial measure.
The RH bill is a highly contentious issue in the Philippines which is predominantly Catholic. The Catholic Church accepts only natural family planning methods while the RH bill promotes both natural and artificial methods of contraception.
Sotto said the two groups’ proposal to conduct a debate different from the one being held in the Senate was “not flattering” to SB 2865′s sponsors — senators Pia Cayetano and Miriam Defensor-Santiago — who have been defending the RH bill in the chamber.
Akbayan and ADS challenged Sotto to a debate after the senator doubted the frequently cited data saying that 11 maternal deaths occur every day in the Philippines.
Sotto, however, had said he has been to several public hospitals and that he has yet to see proof of the said figures.
He likewise said that Akbayan should not immediately believe figures just because they came from the United Nations, which he said had always provided him with wrong data in the past.
Report from GMANews.TV