Thank you legislators, salamat PNoy

The passage of Reproductive Health and Responsible Parenthood Bills on the third and final reading is a monumental win for women. Finally, after long years of sustained lobbying of different groups and organizations, RH Bill is now getting closer into becoming a law. The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the national machinery for gender equality and women’s empowerment, commends the senators and representatives for listening to the clamor of their constituents, especially women, to pass an RH law.

“What happened on Monday is a big affirmative step for women’s human rights in the country. This is in consonance with President Aquino’s Social Contract No.13 on Gender Equality,” PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa exclaims.

President Benigno C. Aquino III’s Social Contract No. 13 with the Filipino People states his commitment to rid of “gender disparities and shortfalls” and promote “equal gender opportunity in all spheres of public policies and programs.”

“We commend the President for certifying the RH bill as urgent and for firmly holding on to his commitment to provide better access to RH information and services, in public and private spheres, at the national and local levels of governance,” Verzosa added.

PCW lauds the legislators for abiding by Philippine obligations to international human rights commitments such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Aside from reaffirming women’s rights to health, the RH Bill complements the provisions of Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women (MCW). The current RH bill recognizes the unequal power relations between couples on decisions regarding sexual and reproductive health. It includes men’s roles and responsibilities and addresses the concerns of adolescents.

PCW Chairperson Remedios I. Rikken reminds supporters of the bill not to lose momentum and see through the bill’s passage. “After 14 years of advocating for an RH law, we finally see all our efforts bearing fruit. Let us keep all our energies up and envision a Reproductive Health Act before we all break for the Holidays,” Rikken said.