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The Real Winner

Pro-lifers and advocates of the Reproductive Health Law both claimed to have won the battle when the Supreme Court handed down a somewhat “curious” decision on the fate of the measure, which has received more than its share of praise and flak for almost two decades.

The Court ruled the controversial law is “not unconstitutional,” to the delight of RH supporters, but struck down eight of its provisions, which the antis consider a triumph as it has justified their claims the law would step on one’s religious influences and beliefs, and a family’s right to decide and plan for its own.

For us, what matters most is how majority of the Filipinos feel about finally having a national policy that is touted to help them improve their lives by helping them deal with reproductive health concerns, which is said to be one of the crucial factors that could either re-make or further break the Filipino family long besieged with poverty woes and let down by reports of public servants plundering public’s money.

Barring the filing of motions for reconsideration from either party, it also matters how our government will implement the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. It matters to us how it will fulfill its promise of giving us free family planning options, maternal care, and sex education.

In the Cordillera, we are interested how the law can be of help after the regional health authorities earlier this year admitted it is still struggling to meet the Millennium Development Goals’ target of reducing maternal mortality rate by 2015. They said there are still some in the region who are tied to their primitive practices when it comes to child delivery and are apprehensive of using birthing facilities. 

After almost 20 bitter years of exchange of arguments among respected Church leaders, experts, politicians, legal luminaries, moralists, and millions of Juan dela Cruz, we believe it is time for pro and anti-RH to unite and focus their energies in recognizing the Filipino masses should be the real winners in this battle, by educating them on the sanctity of life and allowing them an informed choice on methods to preserve it.

We see a winner only when the poorest of the poor can soon readily access health facilities, when health service providers and quality medicines are available to all round the clock, or if a pregnant mother about to give birth no longer has to worry dying or losing her child in the process because she doesn’t know to take care of herself or due to lack of birth facilities and personnel.

We hope to see more Filipino parents and children who are happier and healthier, who no longer have to scrounge for their basic needs, and who can make free family planning choices; a community where there is no longer hapless children nursing their own children; and to see a statistics report showing no more Filipinos are dying of HIV/AIDS due to irresponsible and unsafe sex and from other serious illnesses due to poverty and ignorance. 

Although we will not be surprised if some leaders will later claim having “inadequate budget” as always been the norm in our country, it also matters to know if the government has enough funds to support the law’s implementation to make its benefits universal.

If not, talks of battles and winners will be all for naught, leaving us succeeding only in drowning in seas of sensible laws without teeth.

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