FVR, 4 health chiefs call for final OK of RH bill

Posted at 12/16/12 6:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Four Philippine health chiefs, former President Fidel V. Ramos, medical groups, economists from the UP School of Economics, and at least 50 other entities have called on RH advocates to support their "legislative champions" in Congress for the final approval of the RH bill.

In a paid ad published in major newspapers, the Purple Ribbon for RH Movement, with former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral as lead convenor, said the enactment of the RH bill "is a signal victory of the Filipino people."

"Since its introduction 13 years ago, the Reproductive Health (RH) bill has faced hurdles in the legislative process. After four Congresses, the 15th Congress will finally deliver the fruition of our relentless advocacy," the movement said.

"The RH community commends President Aquino III for certifying the RH bill as urgent in the face of increasing resistance from anti-RH legislators and some members of the Catholic Church hierarchy," it added.

The movement expressed gratitude to the 113 representatives who "courageously cast their YES votes during the historic approval on second reading of the RH bill, and the many more who will vote for it on third reading, as well as the senators who remain steadfast to assure the approval of their kindred version."

"We call on all senators and representatives to firmly heed the clamor of the people and vote for their welfare, especially the women and children," the Purple Ribbon for RH Movement said.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona is also part of the group. Aside from Cabral, who was health secretary during the Arroyo government, the other ex-health chiefs in the movement are Dr. Alberto Romualdez during the Estrada administration and Jaime Galvez Tan during the Ramos administration.

Former President Fidel Ramos, former Prime Minister Cesar Virata, former Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani are also part of the movement.

UP Prof. Ernesto Pernia and 30 other economists of the UP School of Economics are likewise behind the movement.

Two bishops, Bishop Rodrigo Tano, co-chairperson, Interfaith Partnership for the Promotion of Responsible Parenthood Inc. and Bishop Efraim Tendero, executive director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, are also supporting the movement.