MANILA, Philippines - The Akbayan Youth group on Monday said Sen. Tito Sotto should take up the challenge for a debate on the controversial Reproductive Health bill and government statistics on maternal mortality incidence in the country.
Akbayan Youth Chairperson Leloy Claudio first called out Sotto to a debate after the senator questioned a survey that said 11 mothers die everyday of pregnancy-related complications.
"Eleven maternal deaths a day multiplied by 365 days a year...there should be a death certificate. Even just the 11 mothers that died yesterday," Sotto said during the debates on the RH bill.
In response, Akbayan Youth media officer Emman Hizon said Sotto should be able to back up his statements in a public debate in front of the Ateneo de Manila University community.
Hizon said the Ateneo Debate Society (ADS) headed by Job de Leon has offered to host the debate between Claudio and Sotto inside the AdMU, should Sotto accept.
“The ADS has vast experience in hosting debate tournaments and academic forums. And there will definitely be an audience eager to hear what the senator has to say," de Leon said in a statement.
Hizon said the senator should also refrain from using "Iskul Bukol" arguments to oppose the passage of the RH Bill. "Iskul Bukol" is a comedy show that aired from 1977 to 1988, and starred Sotto as one of the Escalera brothers.
"We call it Iskul Bukol kasi some of his arguments are just amusing. For example, he wants to produce the death certificates of the mothers who die everyday when this is a national average. He wants a body count instead of raising the level of discourse," Hizon said.