måndag 3 september 2012

Press Statement

Reproductive Health - On 26-29 August, 5 Members of Parliaments from Europe visited Manila, Philippines for a Parliamentary Study Tour on Family Planning and Reproductive Health.


Members of the delegation were:

-       Hon. Helen Grant, Member of House of Commons from UK

-       Hon. Carina Hägg, Member of Parliament from Sweden

-       Hon. Ricardo Baptista Leite, Member of Parliament from Portugal

-       Hon. Eleni Theocharous, Member of the European Parliament from Cyprus

-       Hon. Birute Vesaite, Member of Parliament from Lithuania


The visit was organized by EPF - European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development, and locally hosted by PLCPD - Philippines Legislators Committee on Population and Development.


The Members of Parliaments met with community members, civil society organisations and youth activists. They had the opportunity to visit vulnerable communities that are both most affected by the recent floods, as well as most lack access to basic healthcare including reproductive health service. The visits were done in order to familiarize themselves with the reproductive health and rights situation of people in the Philippines. The European Parliamentarians shared experiences of improving reproductive health, rights, and access to services and information from Sweden, Cyprus, Portugal, Lithuania, and the UK. Discussions were dynamic with legislators and champions of the RH bill from both Houses of Senate and Congress.  


The Parliamentarians assert that the RH Bill promotes access to maternal and reproductive health services, education, gender equality and the promotion of rights of all Filipinos, especially the women. Hon. Helen Grant emphasized that “we need to ensure that people have children by choice and not by chance as it will make people healthier, wealthier and better educated”. It was acknowledged that the debate is a very sensitive one but as Hon. Ricardo Baptista Leite reminded: “saving lives is the most human and Christian act one can do”. We recognize both the potential and the challenges in implementing such a groundbreaking piece of legislation. Hon. Birute Vesaite insists: “Fruits of economic development must reach poor people and economic development should go along social development”. Hon. Eleni Theocharous proclaims: “The implementation of the law would be a test of the strength of the public provision of health services and for the eradication of poverty”. This law will improve the lives of millions of Filipino women, will help the Philippines reduce maternal mortality, and will be crucial to meet the Millennium Development goals as Hon. Carina Hägg stressed.


It is obvious that the debate has been exhausted and it is now time to let the legitimate representatives of the Filipino people express with their vote what they know is important for their country. The European Parliamentarians affirmed admiration of the drive of President Aquino, the Speaker of the House, and the legislators to realise the desire of 70% of the population and pass the RH Bill.