For Women’s Sake, Make RH see the light of day, says authors and advocates

March 22, 2012 1:10 am 

MANILA, March 21 — With black and purple ribbons tied in their arms during a press conference Tuesday, authors and supporters called on Congress to pave the way for the passage of the decade long pending Reproductive Health (RH) bill and make it see the light of day.

Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD), expressed the collective dismay of various groups who strongly believe that enacting a comprehensive law on RH bill will give poor women access to much needed RH education and services and eventually will help elevate their health, economic and social status.

“The RH bill, which has been filed and re-filed since the 10th Congress never got the chance to reach the voting period and see the light of day for our women,” said San Pascual. “RH supporters have witnessed how leaders of Congress succumbed to the whims of some bishops and Catholic leaders, thus continuing the delay of the bill,” he added.

San Pascual laments that RH continues to take a back seat particularly now that the President wants to pay primary attention to impeachment. For a while Speaker Belmonte and Majority Floor Leader wanted to close the debate on RH bill this March, the month of women. But the President thinks it’s better to do it in May since closing the debate before the Lenten season may antagonize the Bishops.

The RH bill has been debated for so long, all possible rational questions have been asked and repeatedly answered, there is no need to finish the long list of interpellators that never show up during their turn, he explained. “Clearly, the anti-RH main strategy is to delay the process until we run out of time, until election period sets in again,” he said.

According to San Pascual, the lives of women, particularly of poor women are endangered. Recent Department of Health (DOH) report revealed that 50 mothers have died in a month and that is only in Manila. Yesterday, news of abandoned new-born babies in Quezon City and Davao came out in the media. Citing a report from UNICEF, lack of services and information about adolescent RH are fueling the rise of teen pregnancies and hurting child survival rates, San Pascual asks, “what could be more glaring than that? Clearly, we have a problem in reproductive health concerns of mothers, young people, among poor couples particularly.”

Congress has to pass the RH bill now, under this administration, before it becomes too late and that we end up deeply buried in problems related to health, economic and social status of women, San Pascual added. (PNA) RSV /PR/sdt/mec

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