MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Wednesday rejected statistics being used by Reproductive Health (RH) Bill advocates that an average of 11 Filipino mothers die daily due to complications from childbirth.
In the continuation of his "turno en contra" speech, Sotto asserted that the figures on 11 maternal deaths daily did not come from the Department of Health but from a census conducted by the National Statistics Office in 2000.
He likened the figure to Nazi propaganda, saying that the “11 mothers dying daily” is the same statistic being used to promote birth control in Uganda.
“It's like a template… I think it was Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s hated propagandist, who said a lie repeated often enough becomes truth,” he said.
Sotto said he asked his own staff to conduct research about maternal mortality in the Philippines and found that the actual maternal deaths in 2011 was less than half of the 11 deaths daily being pushed by RH advocates.
He also cited a World Health Organization report that showed that the maternal mortality ratio in the Philippines was at 5.75 deaths a day in 2008, down from the 11 deaths in 2000.
Sotto said he first started doubting the accuracy of statistics being pushed by foreign groups due to an incident in 2009 when he was still Dangerous Drugs Board chairman.
He said he was surprised when the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated during a convention in Vienna that the Philippines had 6.7 million drug dependents.
“With a population of 90 million, that’s a big figure. And then they placed China at 1 million drug dependents. Sa China, na bilyones ang tao, na pinagmulan ng opium? 1 million lang daw ang drug dependents. Sa Pilipinas, 6.7 million,” he said.
He said he and Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency chief Dionisio Santiago protested the figure and was told that the 1 million drug dependents in China was actually the number of drug users in rehab centers.
He said he asked the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Philippine Normal University to conduct their own survey and found out that the Philippines only had 1.7 million drug dependents, of whom 56,000 were in rehab centers, in 2009.
Sotto asserted that the Reproductive Health Bill is premised on shoddy statistics being pushed by international organizations with a hidden agenda. He blamed organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development, the Guttmacher Institute and the International Planned Parenthood Federation for pushing massive propaganda to push for the passage of the RH bill.
“We should not be pushed over by any state or international organizations in determining what is best for our country,” he said.
“We should be assured that the statistics presented to support the bill should be beyond doubt.”