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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        14  March 2011

Reproductive bill supporters reach out to women

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Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela party-list said over the weekend that they will try first to convince the spouses of the lawmakers to support the Reproductive Health (RH) bill now being considered in the Philippine legislature.

This is was what Gabriela will do in explaining to the spouses the importance of the passage of the bill, which is now called Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Development Act. “The soonest possible time, we will use the backdoor to help us convince our fellow legislators to open their minds and hearts to listen to our position that RH bill is not abortion but giving every couple a chance to choose which way they want to be a responsible parents,” Ilagan told newsmen at the weekly forum, Kapihan sa Sulo.

The idea was suggested by veteran columnist Neil Cruz during the forum to influence the spouses who will in turn be their spokesmen to convince their partners to give RH bill a chance.

Among the first target of the proponents are the spouses of Representatives Karlo Alexei Nograles, Rachel Marguerite del Mar, Pablo Garcia, Roilo Golez, Rufus Rodriguez, Irwin Tieng, Mariano Michael Velarde Jr., Amado Bagatsing, Raul Daza and Manny Pacquiao.

The revitalized bill also includes putting up mobile clinic vehicles in every municipalities and cities equipped with sophisticated apparatus that will take care of the health of every individual in the community.

Employers are mandated by the law to be responsible to the health care of their women employees. According to Ilagan, they are passing the needle’s hole because those who are against RH bill are blowing the debates and becoming an obstructionist to reform their present stand.

She said that since election is still distant, this is the best time to tackle the issue because most legislators are being cowed by the Catholic Church.

Former Rep. Jun Baculio of Misamis Oriental said in the same forum that he was forced to abandon the bill because, he is being branded as a demon by the priest in his jurisdiction by using the pulpit in cursing him.

“Even the Catholic organizations like the Knights of Columbus and the Couples for Christ are being used as wrecking crews to demolish my position. I admit that I am forced to abandon my position just to cool the hot headed Catholic leaders,” Baculio recalled.

The RH bill is now being deliberated in the plenary and the proponents are eager to explain their position hoping that the bill may have its way to be approved and become a law—to give every couple a choice on what method they will use in securing the future of their family.

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