Passage of RH bill this year is imminent, says women’s group

Despite the constant below-the-belt-attacks from some Catholic bishops, priests and lay leaders, the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill continuously draws support from major decision-makers of the country including Sen. Lacson, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and President Aquino himself. This wave of support paves the way for the passage of this proposed legislative measure this year, says Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP).

DSWP, a national group of women working in grassroots communities, has been in the forefront of doing advocacy work for the RH bill since it was first filed in Congress. Its national chairperson, Elizabeth Angsioco, as well as some of DSWP’s community leaders has been labeled by anti-RH groups as abortionists, killers, anti-life, anti-family, and even Satan. The group, however remains undaunted in its work so RH programs will finally be implemented especially in impoverished areas where they are most needed.

“Our group is certain that the bill we have been fighting for more than a decade and a half will finally be passed by this Congress,” Angsioco said. “The Catholic hierarchy knows that the RH bill’s passage is imminent. This may be the reason for the seemingly desperate acts by some bishops and priests against the bill. However, these acts only weaken their position and boomerang on them. More and more people see them as uncaring and purely dogmatic,” Angsioco explains.

“It looks like their coercion tactics like shaming pro-RH personalities and Catholics and misleading the public using erroneous data are translated into a stronger public support for the RH bill. People, including pro-RH Catholics are now speaking up against the bishops and priests’ position on the matter,” continues Angsioco.

Reacting to the recent statement of support issued by President Noynoy Aquino, Angsioco said that the President’s statement is a big push towards the bill’s passage. We now see other Executive Department officials like DOLE speak in support of the Bill.

The number of legislators already supportive of the bill in both the Senate and the House of Representatives may already be enough to pass the bill but the President’s pronouncements will surely result in additional support from those who do not yet have a stand on the issue.

“Those who have not made their positions known will now take a second look at the RH bill. It will not be surprising to eventually see them favor its passage,” Angsioco further said.

“The President’s statement will send a major message to other HOR members and Senators especially his party mates, including Sens. Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Ralph Recto and Teofisto Guinguna III,” Angsioco noted.

“Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s statement that the RH bill will pass the Senate is a welcome development. Perhaps Sen. Lacson sees the same things we see,” Angsioco ende