Women frustrated and blames Congress over increasing number of maternal deaths

This is a press statement from Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines .

A group of women advocates working in grassroots communities blamed Congress for the reported 50 maternal deaths in January in Metro Manila alone.

According to Elizabeth Angsioco, National Chairperson of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP), the Department of Health report is quite alarming and should wake up sleeping representatives in Congress.

“These deaths are caused by inadequate reproductive health services needed in preventing and responding to such complications and therefore, saving mothers’ lives,” lamented Angsioco.

Angsioco stressed that these services are contained in the RH bill that has been continuously delayed for more than 12 years by Philippine Congress.

“It is frustrating that Congress is quick to act on political issues like impeachment but very slow when it comes to legislation that will address ordinary people’s needs, especially those of poor women,” said Angsioco.

Angsioco added, “It is detestable that the House of Representatives (HOR) in particular, has been almost paralyzed because of the ongoing impeachment trial despite the fact that only a handful of them are directly involved in it. The HOR knows very well that its legislative functions should not be neglected.

DSWP head extends blame to President Aquino, who has been too preoccupied with removing the chief Justice who heads a supposedly co-equal branch of government, and in the process seems to have set aside his promises to the Filipino people, especially to those that will redound to their well-being like the RH bill.

“Two years in office is more than enough for him to achieve this as shown by the other issues where he got what he wanted from Congress,” asserted Angsioco. “The President needs to be sternly reminded that many voted for him because of his promise to push for the RH bill passage.”

Moreover, “the deaths of these mothers are on the heads of these government officials. How many more mothers need to die before those who are mandated to save them begin to act?” Angsioco asked.

Urging government officials to end the political intramurals, Angsioco said, “the executive should fulfill its promises and mandate, especially those contained in P-Noy’s Social Contract with the Filipino people.”

Lastly, Angsioco urgently called on Congress to put RH bill into vote. “For once, our political leaders should do something for mothers, especially poor mothers who are dying every day due to pregnancy and childbirth-related complications,” she ended.