• Stand up for RH, candidates urged

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    REPRODUCTIVE health advocates and leaders of various sectors called on candidates seeking national and local posts to ensure the full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law.

    In a news conference in Quezon City, the Purple Ribbon for RH Movement urged national and local candidates to give priority to public education on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the delivery of reproductive health services, including modern family planning methods.

    “An overwhelming majority of Filipinos say family planning is important and that the government should fund planning services. Candidates should heed the people’s voice,” said Romeo Dongeto, Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) executive director.

    He cited a February 2016 Pulse Asia survey that revealed that 95 percent of Filipinos believe family planning is important and 86 percent believe that it is the government’s responsibility to fund family planning services.

    The group also decried the reduction of the budget for family planning, saying it will reverse the gains in maternal and family health and development.

    Former health secretary Esperanza Cabral, convenor of the Purple Ribbon for RH Movement, challenged the candidates to bare their position and plans on RH.

    Cabral lamented that reproductive health was not discussed in the Commission and Elections (Comelec) presidential and vice presidential debates.

    “Throughout this campaign, candidates have resorted to motherhood statements instead of laying down specific plans to promote women’s rights, particularly ensuring women’s sexual and reproductive health. One candidate even made fun of rape, which is totally unacceptable and insensitive to rape victims and survivors,” Cabral said in a statement.

    “We have to end the culture that reduces women to sexual objects, the belief that women are just for childbearing and housekeeping. Candidates should stand up for women empowerment, for their health and development where reproductive health is a major component,” she added.

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