7 March 2009
With the impact of the economic meltdown expected to hit women the hardest, as confirmed in a statement by the International Labor Organization one day before International Women’s Day, the Partido ng Manggagawa renewed its call to both Houses of Congress for the passage of the reproductive health bill.
PM said that according to a latest study done by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund, 11 Filipino women die in childbirth everyday. “Undoubtedly, this number may even grow bigger as the effect of the global economic crisis deepens. Women workers – mostly in insecure jobs, underpaid, working in the most deplorable of working conditions – are victims of the country’s pathetic reproductive and maternal health services,” explained Judy Ann Miranda, PM’s general secretary.
Filipino women, especially poor working women, are the main beneficiaries once the proposed reproductive health bill is enacted. Interventions such as childbirths being supervised by midwives and skilled health professionals, high infertility rates properly addressed, mothers educated on family planning methods and risks of pregnancy, strengthening of the country’s poor reproductive and health care systems, etc will more likely be addressed.
“On Women’s Day, we are calling on the Arroyo government, that instead of focusing on farcical notions that women have indeed beaten men in terms of income, why not address the fact that majority of Filipino women are poor. Instead of focusing on the few women who have made it – indeed, we are happy for these women – why not focus on the plight of the more than half a million women who undergo unsafe abortion because of poverty, who want to use artificial contraception but cannot because of poverty, who want to give birth safely but cannot because of poverty…women whose needs should be addressed accordingly by a government headed by a woman herself,” said Miranda. She added “Indeed, it is high time for the government to address these issues and work for the passage of the RH bill.”
The Partido ng Manggagawa, in the midst of the global crisis, is also demanding for the implementation of a specific subsidy program for displaced women workers, tax refund for wage earners, a health care coverage, a reformed public employment program for displaced and unemployed women, and moratorium on demolitions and evictions. It is also calling for the reversal of liberalization, deregulation and privatization policies which women blame for the high prices of goods and the deterioration of public services.