RH Advocates laud the country’s “International Legislative Champion”

A group of leading Reproductive Health (RH) advocates cheered Rep. Edcel C. Lagman of the 1st District of Albay for being the recipient of the first “International Legislative Champion,” conferred by the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF) during the 5th International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action held recently in Istanbul, Turkey.

Rep. Lagman, main author of HB 4244 or the “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population Development Act” bested other policymakers from other countries who are also actively involved in population and development legislation.

The awards was given to Rep. Lagman, an outspoken advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights in a very hostile environment, such as the Philippines, where religious forces within and around government have a huge influence on the most personal aspects of women’s reproductive health and rights, regardless of their religion.

According to Romeo Dongeto, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD), the awards selection committee includes a member of the Secretariat of the Romanian’s Senate Sub Committee on Population and Development, a member of the European Parliament, and a former president of the European Population Fund (EPF), a non-government organization representative and one of the EPF Secretariat.

“The selection committee evaluated the contributions of Rep. Lagman on population and development policy advocacy and legislation at the national and international level,” Dongeto explains. “We in PLCPD are truly honored that our Chair, Rep. Lagman, is recognized by the international community. We hope that this award will further inspire him and his colleagues to continue the fight for the passage of the RH bill,” said Dongeto.

Meanwhile, advocates renew their call on the leadership of the House of Representatives to follow the lead of the Senate and end fast track the period of debates and to vote on the RH bill.

“There is still enough time if they really want to vote on the measure. It has been pending for more than 11 years already and it has been subjected to political blackmails. It is about time that we institutionalize a comprehensive RH education and services that will help end the deaths of eleven mothers every day due to pregnancy and pregnancy related complications,” Dongeto concluded