Politics derailing implementation of RH Law

RH lawThere is no doubt that politics, or the crucial 2016 presidential election, is causing the derailment of the much needed Reproductive Health (RH) Law in the country.

This could be considered as one of the biggest fallacy of the “tuwid na daan” (straight path) under President Benigno Aquino (PNoy) who, if one remembers, moved heaven and earth for the passage of the law.

It took political will to go against the Catholic Church and many believed that it was the right thing to do, the straight path to follow, if we wanted to see the country progress while at the same time decrease maternal deaths and improve the quality of life of Filipinos, especially the poor, who are the ones miserably affected.

But, afraid of the backlash that could further affect the winnability of PNoy’s presidential bet in the 2016 elections, he succumbed to the political pressure and allowed the paralyzing cut of over P 1-billion in the budget for the implementation of the RH Law.

Could PNoy have done something about it? Damn right, he could have! He could have used his powerful veto prerogative when the budget was signed on Dec 22.

It was reported that the P1 billion went primarily to the purchase of warplanes, which Sen. Loren Legarda said is “timely” given the issue in the West Philippine Sea.

The use of the “timely” statement by Legarda is simply stupid. As if the purchase of the warplanes could make a dent in China’s aggressive occupation and militarization of the West Philippine Sea.

I could only agree with presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago when she issued a statement, saying, “The P1-billion budget cut threatens to deprive some seven million women of reproductive health services. This abandonment is immoral in a country where some 200 out of 100,000 women who give birth die. The enemies of reproductive health never sleep. We, too, must not rest in fighting for women’s health.”

And more so that I agree with Yoriko Yasukawa, UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) regional director for Asia and the Pacific, who said that the “failure to sustain this commitment (to fund family planning programs) can swiftly reverse gains and put the country in a more difficult position to achieve its vital development target to reduce maternal deaths.”

“For a country with a large population of young people such as the Philippines, important investments should be made on comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, including access to contraceptives, to achieve a more educated and healthy population, more productive workforce and growing economy to maximize the potential of the huge population.”

PNoy may not realize it but his politically motivated action may be considered his greatest disservice to the country.

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