People’s triumph!

17 12 2012

With the vote of 13 senators and 133 representatives, the Reproductive Health Bill has just passed third reading at both chambers of Congress. After more than a decade, the RH bill is now at its closest to becoming a law.As an alliance of progressive student councils and student political parties, the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines [The Alliance] is united with the country in celebrating this historic vote.

 

We celebrate:

 

…the triumph of women over dogmatic religous opinion. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has been measured and found wanting in their opposition to the bill that has come its time. With at least 15 mothers dying every day due to maternal complications, the women proved more powerful in asserting their right to reproductive health services in order to stop this vicious cycle.

 

…freedom from religion. The 15th Congress’ legacy would be its respect not only to people of various faiths but also those not belonging to any sect. By passing the RH bill, this Congress listened to the highest calling due their position: public service.

 

…informed choice. With cases of HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy on the rise in the country, the youth and Filipinos in general will be equipped with correct information for them to make their decisions, whatever their moral code is.

 

…the advocates, Catholics and non-Catholics. Without the pressure of the people, the bill may never have seen the light of day. We claim with pride that we marched with women like Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan, Junice Melgar of Likhaan and Dr. Sylvia Claudio of the University of the Philippines among others. We broke bread with progressive organizations such as The Forum, RHAN and the Filipino Freethinkers and the Catholic student councils of Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University-Manila and The Letran Student Council – Manila.

 

…people’s true champions. At the Philippine Senate, we congratulate Senators Pia Cayetano and Miriam Defensor-Santiago who have endured misogynistic remarks from their fellow Senators. We also take pride in having Representatives Edcel Lagman, Kimi Cojuangco, Walden Bello, Kaka Bag-ao and numerous others as being steadfast in their fight for the rights of this generation and the next.

 

The debates that have transpired around the Reproductive Health Bill have transcended beyond the issue of health. The bill has undergone a painful birthing process, inside and outside the halls of Congress. As we look forward to the holidays traditionally celebrated with love and family, The Alliance reaffirms its value for human rights, for freedom and for social justice.