As women’s group cautions on ‘watered-down’ version
By Florence F. Hibionada/ PNS
ILOILO – Iloilo First District Representative Janette Loreto Garin is all thumbs-up on the presidential endorsement of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.
Calling it “an upright decision,” the Ilongga solon lauded the latest move which had President Benigno Aquino III endorse RH in the list of priority of Legislative Agenda of the Executive (LEDAC).
Garin, a principal RH backer, has since pushed for its passage with sustained advocacies amidst attacks on her stance.
“Being one of the major proponents of RH, I am very grateful that the President has finally considered including the bill in the list of priority measures of the Executive,” Garin said in an official statement. “I salute the President for his courage and political will to endorse the RH bill despite the stiff opposition of some leaders of the Catholic Church.”
Garin explains that the political will as exemplified by our nation’s leader is the missing link we have been longing for a faster and more progressive take-off from poverty.
House Bill 4244 or the Responsible Parenthood, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development Act of 2011 has been languishing in the halls of Congress for more than 10 years. This is the first time that the Executive endorses the bill for consideration in the LEDAC.
Meantime, a conditional “victory” – it seemed – for a women’s group saying while a welcomed development, public should be cautious on “the watered-down” version.
In a news release, Elizabeth Angsioco, National Chairperson of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) said that the more than forty thousand DSWP women members nationwide have remained vigilant following PNoy’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) sans RH.
“We have to admit that the RH-less SONA concerned us, but after Malacanang’s endorsement of the measure, we see it as a good sign that the President listens to what the people say,” Angsioco explains. “And we commend him for that,” she added.
Moreover, Angsioco expressed appreciation to LEDAC members for finally including the RH bill in its priority measures despite the very strong opposition from the CBCP and its allies.
She states that this development should clearly tell Congress that the RH bill needs to be voted on and passed the soonest and that there is no reason to dilly-dally on the bill. “Taking the cue from the President himself, lawmakers should now stop dilatory tactics,” said Angsioco.
Angsioco said that the passage of this highly clamored RH bill may be this administration’s biggest legacy to women, especially those in poverty who had long been affected by the lack of access to RH services.
“However,” said Angsioco, “our group will remain vigilant and work so that the final version that will be enacted does not lose the essence of what we have been fighting for 16 long years now.”