October 11, 2010 - The Forum Letter to P-Noy

WE FIRMLY SUPPORT P-NOY

H.E. Benigno Simeon Aquino III

President of the Philippines
Malacañang, Manila


Dear Mr. President,

In 1994, the Philippines joined 178 other nations in Cairo, Egypt for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The conference put the individual’s rights and needs at the center of its 20-year Programme of Action rather than achieving demographic targets. Nations also agreed that population and sustainable development are inextricably linked and committed to save the lives of women who die unnecessarily during pregnancy and childbirth. It advocated to make family planning universally available by 2015.

Again, at the Millennium Summit in 2000, the Philippines was one of the 189 countries that adopted the Millennium Development Goals, which calls for the reduction of maternal mortality and universal access to reproductive health by 2015.

With just five years to 2015 it is unfortunate that we continue to debate on the reproductive health issue. It is unfortunate that attempts to enact a law that could accelerate the country’s efforts to reduce maternal deaths and provide Filipino women and their families a better opportunity to improve their lives remains a dream.

While people are debating whether family planning is moral or immoral and whether government funding for contraceptives is right or wrong, the issue of maternal and infant deaths resulting from untimely and unwanted pregnancies is being left out.

Each day that the debates continues, 11 mothers die, leaving behind some 30 children motherless everyday, and putting the lives of their newborn infants at risk as well.

They have spoken in surveys borne out by the prestigious Social Weather Stations and the Pulse Asia. They want a law that would institute a family planning program providing couples information, services and commodities as well as a budget that would help them plan the size of their family and the spacing of their children.

They have spoken during the elections. Despite the Roman Catholic Church’s aggressive campaign against pro-RH candidates, the Filipino people – most of whom are Catholics – elected these candidates, including a President who has expressed his pro-choice stance on family planning.

It is about time that we heed the voice of the people. The reproductive health issue is not just about sex and contraceptives. More than anything, it is about saving the lives of mothers; mothers who make up the very fabric of society; the women who bore us. Saving lives should be a concern not only of lay people, but more so of the people who preach about the value of life.

We are for the quality of our population which heretofore our country will be most proud of.

Mr. President, we are one with you in your unequivocal support for families who want information and services on family planning and responsible parenthood. Likewise, we agree that neither the state nor religion should dictate the kind of family planning method once couples or individuals have decided to plan their families based on proper information.

Signed:
Eminent Persons
  • Fidel V. Ramos
  • Cesar EA Virata
  • Washington Z. Sycip
  • Mercedes B. Concepcion
  • Oscar M. Lopez
  • Loida Nicolas Lewis
Advisers
  • Dante B. Canlas
  • Menardo R. Jimenez
  • Ma. Yolanda V. Ong
  • Leticia Ramos Shahani
  • Carmelita Villanueva
  • Perter L. Wallace
Trustees
  • Benjamin D. De leon
  • Alberto G. Romualdez, jr.
  • Corazon M. Raymundo,
  • Eden R. Divinagracia
  • Cecilia Oreña Drilon
  • Felipe M. Medalla
  • Ernesto M. Pernia
  • Jaime Z. Galvez-Tan
  • Cyndy Tan-Jarabata
  • Tomas M. Osias,
  • Jose Miguel R. De La Rosa
  • Margarito M. Teves
  • Elizabeth Eder Zobel
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