Wednesday, February 16, 2011

PM joins womens’ groups in pushing House to approve RH bill

Press Release
February 16, 2011

Women members of the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) joined the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) in a big demonstration at the House of Representatives to push Committee on Appropriations to finally approve the budget provisions of the RH bill. Once approved, plenary deliberations of the bill will commence.

More than a thousand women, including hundreds of women workers, gathered at the South gate of the lower house from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon carrying placards and streamers with slogans calling for immediate passage of the RH bill.

PM Secretary General Judy Ann Miranda called on the Committee to quit stalling on the bill, “Every day of delay in the RH bill passage, eleven (11) poor working women are dying from pregnancy and birth delivery complications. It is time to put a stop to this continued ‘daily slaughter’ of women? With the passage of the RH bill, we can avoid losing 4,015 precious women’s lives per year! It has been more than a decade, almost 12 years now, with the daily average, 48,180 women’s lives could have been saved!”

Particularly for workers, Miranda explained that, “It is not true that the RH bill is purely a family planning bill. Those saying so are not being truthful. In addition to Article 134 of the Labor Code wherein employers shall provide reproductive health services to all employees, the RH bill mandates that employers shall furnish in writing the following information to all employees and applicants:

‘(a) The medical and health benefits which workers are entitled to, including maternity and paternity leave benefits and the availability of family planning services,
‘(b) The reproductive health hazards associated with work, including hazards that may affect their reproductive functions especially pregnant women, and
‘(c) The availability of health facilities for workers."

In addition, Miranda further explained that employers are likewise obliged to monitor pregnant working employees and provide them with paid half-day leaves for each month of the pregnancy period during their employment, reimbursable to either the Social Security System (SSS) or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

“These pro-worker provisions of the bill support the ‘SAFETY FIRST’ maxim in the workplace. Workers’ lives, especially women’s, are spared from pregnancy complications and work hazards,” according to Miranda. “Again, we call on our legislators to quit delaying the bill and the Catholic Church to quit confusing the people and blackmailing government officials. Kung totoong pro-life kayo, you should support the RH bill – the RH bill will save women’s lives.”

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