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makabayan bloc gears to terminate RH debates on aug 7; safeguard RH bill's positive provision vs population control agenda
Press Release Posted on August 5th, 2012.
The Makabayan progressive partylist bloc at the House of Representatives reiterated today their support for the Reproductive Health Bill. The solons expressed their intent to vote in favor of terminating the period of interpellation and debates on August 7 to immediately proceed to the period of amendments where the fight against population control will take place.
The Makabayan bloc is composed of Reps. Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus (GABRIELA Women’s Party), Teddy Casino and Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna), Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis), Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers Partylist) and Raymond Palatino (Kabataan).
“The Reproductive Health bill has been discussed at length in both the Committee level and plenary debates. The exhaustive debates are more than enough to give members of Congress the chance to make an informed and intelligent decision on the Reproductive Health bill. It’s time that we allow the RH Bill to move forward in the legislative mill and allow further modification in the period or amendments,” said Rep. Ilagan who is among the authors of the bill.
Rep. Emmi De Jesus also said, “The urgency of the RH bill is in the fact that a growing number of poor mothers and children are being deprived of health services. As a result, the country’s maternal mortality rate continues to rise and an increase in fetal deaths has been recorded in at least three regions in 2010.”
The maternal mortality rate has increased from 168 to 221 for every 100,000 live births. A recent report from the National Statistics Office revealed that 2 in every 10 infants die in Metro Manila.
“The RH bill contains several pro-poor provisions that will benefit the majority of women at risk during pregnancy and childbirth in the poorest rural communities. making it a policy to upgrade health facilities, mandating pro-bono services for indigents and trainings for midwives and health workers,” said Rep. Mariano.
Rep. Teddy Casino for his part said, “Makabayan is pressing for the passage of the RH bill because of its sincere desire to curb maternal and child mortality and give greater support and funding for reproductive health. It is for this reason, and not the Malthusian population control framework, that we support the passage of RH bill.”
The Makabayan bloc said that following the termination of debates, they will push for amendments in the RH bill that will make it more responsive to the needs of marginalized women and children, making the delivery of comprehensive healthcare its focus over population control or responsible parenthood. They explained there are at least three provisions in the current draft that needs to be amended.
“The fate of RH bill under President Aquino's definition of responsible parenthood to curb the problem of overpopulation is anti-women and anti-poor,” they said.
Reps. Raymond Palatino and Antonio Tinio explained it was totally wrong for President Aquino to rationalize his endorsement of the bill on the shortages in education in his SONA. “This clearly shows that the President is specifically endorsing the RH bill towards implementing a population control policy rather than a rights-based, health-based reproductive health policy. This, along with the full swing implementation of privatized health care system will further put the lives and health of women at stake and must be met with strong opposition.” #