Risen Garden, Quezon City Hall Compound
Employees and heads of various government agencies are joining hands with civil society organizations in calling for the prioritization of the Reproductive Health Bill by the Aquino Administration. Government agencies, such as the Philippine Commission on Women, the National Anti-Poverty Commission, POPCOM and the Department of Health, will present a joint statement of support calling for the immediate passage of the RH Bill. Thousands are expected to attend this gathering of GOs and CSOs at the Risen Garden in front of the Quezon City Hall on Friday, 18 February 2011.
Welcome Remarks and Rationale for the Event
Hon. Florencia Dorotan
Undersecretary, National Anti-Poverty Commission
A Call for the Passage of the RH Bill
Dr. Leticia Ramos Shahani
Former AKBAYAN Partylist Representative
Hon. Edcel Lagman
Representative, 1st District of Albay
Benjamin de Leon
President, Forum for FP and Development, Inc.
Lila Ramos Shahani
Assistant Secretary, NAPC
10:30–10:45: Interfaith Prayer
by Bishop Rodrigo D. Taño,
Chairperson, Interfaith Partnership for the Promotion of Responsible Parenthood, Inc.
Acknowledgement of Delegations
by Hon. Joy G. Belmonte,
Vice-Mayor, Quezon City
10:45–11:00: Rationale and Objectives for the Activity
Hon. Remedios Ignacio-Rikken,
Chair, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW)
11:00–11:15: Intermission Number
Mr. Noel Cabangon and/or Ms. Lea Salonga
1. RH Advocates
Dr. Junice Lirza Melgar,
Convenor, Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN)
2. Urban Poor
Ms. Magdalena Bacalando,
Pinagsamang Lakas ng Kababaihan at Kabataan (PILAKK)
3. Rural Women
Ms. Trinidad M. Domingo,
Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK)
Dr. Ernesto Pernia,
UP School of Economics
Ms. Lady Lisondra,
Family Planning Organization of the Philippines Youth (FPOP)
11:45–12:00: Solidarity Messages
1. Former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani
2. Hon. Jose Eliseo M. Rocamora,
Lead Convenor, National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC)
3. Hon. Feliciano Belmonte,
Speaker of the House of Representatives
12:00–onwards: Signing of Joint Statement
As members of both government and civil society -- and as Filipino patriots, above all -- we strongly encourage a firm national policy on Reproductive Health for the following reasons:
- Maternal mortality rates in this country remain deeply troubling. Eleven mothers die of child birth and pregnancy complications every day, while seven out of ten infant deaths occur at child birth or within a day of delivery.
- Poorest women remain marginalized. Data from the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) indicates that women in the lowest income quintile tend to have not only the highest number of children but also the greatest difficulty in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.
- RH is not only about women’s rights, but about human rights in general. The right to plan one’s family is a fundamental and indispensable human right, and parents should be entitled to freely and responsibly determine the number and spacing of their own children.
- The heart of the Reproductive Health bill is about informed choice. Should a couple decide that they want to plan and space their children, they should be provided with relevant, evidence-based and timely information and services on family planning options that are legal, effective and medically safe. Ultimately, this is a matter of saving human lives. The state, which bears much of the responsibility for the provision of these services, will have to make the necessary budgetary allocations to facilitate this, especially for the poor and marginalized sectors. However, neither the state nor the Church should dictate which family planning method/s a given family chooses to adopt.
- Overpopulation: our population has burgeoned to the point of leading to significant scarcity, deprivation and environmental degradation. This reality can only worsen over time, particularly if reproductive health is not treated as an urgent national priority.
- Inclusiveness for a better Philippines: the state is mandated by the Constitution to provide the Filipino people with a comprehensive and accessible health-care program. The Constitution further prohibits any discrimination on religious grounds. We therefore recommend that the government take the lead in crafting and implementing a health-care policy that eschews all forms of religious, cultural and gender bias, and therefore contributes to building a more inclusive Philippines.