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Passage of the RH Bill, urgent appeal of women

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Former President of the Philippines, Fidel V. Ramos continues his urgent call for the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill as the country and the rest of the world observes International Women’s Month.  Among the country’s past and present leaders, former President Ramos has been the strongest supporter of the RH Bill.  Today, he joins the ranks of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) calling on Congress to vote on the measure.

The former President made the appeal before he left for a four day business and sports summit to Taiwan, leading a delegation of 60 business and sports executives of the country.  He is scheduled to make courtesy calls to Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, former Vice President and National Policy Foundation Chair Vincent Siew and other senior national and business leaders of Taiwan.
Last week, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said he and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. are exploring the possibility of a vote on whether or not to terminate the period of debates on House Bill 4244 otherwise known as the RH bill, before sessions adjourn on March 21.

Pro-RH Civil society organizations welcomed the proposal of Cong. Gonzales.  “We believe that it’s about time that Congress takes a vote on the RH Bill.  All of us, especially our women have been waiting for this law to be passed for more than ten years.  This is more than enough time to put the issues on the bill to rest and to finally take a stand and make a decision.”  Benjamin de Leon, President of Forum for FP and Development (The Forum) said. The Forum is one among many CSOs supporting the RH Bill. Former President Ramos is an Eminent Person of The Forum.

Supporters of the HB 4244 said that circuitous and repetitive arguments of anti-RH Bill legislators are only tactics to delay the legislative process and is a form of disservice to the Filipino people. “It is a disservice because survey after survey shows that majority of the Filipino supports the RH Bill and as representatives of the people in Congress, they should listen to the voice of their constituents.” De Leon said. 

According to a survey done by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in 2009 in the province of Cebu, 9 out of 10 Cebuanos say that the province should have a policy on RH and family planning while 76% say that they are in favor of the RH Bill.  However, among the legislators who are against the RH Bill are representatives from the province of Cebu including Cong. Pabling Garcia and Cong. Rachel “Cutie” del Mar.
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