The Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), The Forum for Family Planning, and the Philippine NGO Council for Population, Health and Welfare take this opportunity of celebrating Year One of Aquino Administration to thank the President for his unflinching support to defend maternal and child health and build strong future for Filipino families.
By consistently and persistently supporting Responsible Parenthood and the Reproductive Health Bill, the country has seen in the last 12 months how a determined and courageous leadership shapes and hastens the policy debate on this important measure. By lending support to the efforts of civil society advocates and legislators championing the RH Bill inside and outside of Congress, President Aquino has shown his commitment to promote human development.
Despite the heavy, underhanded and at times personal attack of leaders of the Catholic Church hierarchy, the President stood his ground and even took pain in publicly explaining his five principles of Responsible Parenthood. Raised as a good Catholic by his parents, the President has shown his Christian character in siding with the poor on the issue of providing access to reproductive health care, including family planning information and services.
Inasmuch as the advanced state of the RH Bill in the House and the Senate is attributable to the untiring efforts of members of Congress, President Aquino’s contribution is undeniably critical in broadening the support for this measure. Moreover, the support of the people for this Administration is expressed in many ways through the support of ordinary people in the RH Bill. Consequently, the critical view of some Catholic bishops on the Aquino administration is due largely to the President’s steadfast position on Responsible Parenthood and the RH Bill.
What the President has started in his Year One in providing support for RH Bill, he must bring to completion immediately in his second year. Thus, we urge the President, in his courage and forthrightness, to prioritize the RH Bill when he delivers his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July. In so doing, we assure our President of enduring support for his Administration’s mission of delivering better health care and better future to the Filipino people. -30- Ramon San Pascual, PLCPD Executive Director