Friday, 27 May 2011

RH Bill redundant, similar to int’l agreement on population

http://cbcpnews.com/?q=node/15615

MANILA, May 26, 2011― Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez has underscored the redundancy of a portion of the Reproductive Health bill during interpellation in Congress on Wednesday.

After disclosing a crucial inconsistency committed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman concerning a document referring to the RH Bill, then seguing into a reminder of the solon's false claims of proposed amendments to the bill being made, Golez stressed the redundancy of a portion of the measure, owing to a Republic Act signed into law in 2009.

The solon, after giving a rundown on Wednesday of the Magna Carta of Women's provisions concerning women's right to health and showing the same provisions contained in the RH Bill, said, "We have no need for this bill because this is like repacking something and making it appear as if it were your own, when it's not.

"I have shown that this [House Bill 4244] has been copied almost word for word, without attribution, from an existing law. Alam niyo, kapag ganitong kinopya lang, redundant na itong bill na ito as far as these provisions are concerned. Inulit lang eh."

Golez referred to parts of the RH Bill and the Magna Carta of Women―or Republic Act 9710―which specified access to "comprehensive health services" such as maternal care, safe and effective family planning methods, sexuality education, prevention and management of gynecological reproductive tract disorders and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), prevention of abortion, assistance to victims of violence against women and children, and prevention and management of infertility and sexual dysfunction.

The Parañaque solon likewise emphasized the close similarity between the list of definitions in the RH Bill―titled the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011―and that in the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action.

The United Nations-organized ICPD, held in Cairo with almost 200 countries participating, formulated a programme of action which mandates all signatory countries to carry out various measures, including the following:

"As part of the effort to meet unmet needs, all countries are asked to identify and remove all major remaining barriers to the use of family planning services. Governments are urged to provide a climate that is favourable to good-quality public and private family planning and reproductive health information and services through all possible channels. The international community is urged to move, on an immediate basis, to establish an efficient coordination system and global, regional and subregional facilities for the procurement of contraceptives and other commodities essential to reproductive health programmes of developing countries and countries with economies in transition."

Golez then reiterated a statement made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in recent years pertaining to the scope of reproductive health:

“You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health and reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions,” Clinton stated.

Though abortion is unlawful in the Philippines, "the abortion law can be amended at any time," the Parañaque congressman pointed out, adding that not a few citizens are concerned that the long-term plans for any piece of legislation on reproductive health may include the legalization of abortion.

Not only is a significant portion of the RH Bill redundant, he said; it appears to be also based on an international agreement―in which the Philippines is a signatory―that mandates governments worldwide to use all means at their disposal to push for reproductive health in their respective countries. (Diana Uichanco)

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