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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ifugao execs vow to push national reproductive health bill

Media Advocates from North Luzon, headed by Ifugao media coordinator EV Espiritu, in coordination with UNFPA and PNGOC, held and covered a forum in Banaue, Ifugao attended by the province' local chief executives. Below is an Inquirer Breaking News article written by Frank Cimatu about the event.

Read on...

Ifugao execs vow to push national reproductive health bill

By Frank Cimatu
Inquirer - Northern Luzon Bureau
Last updated 07:54pm (Mla time) 09/13/2007

BANAUE, Ifugao, Philippines -- After coming out with its own provincial reproductive health code last year, Ifugao officials want to spearhead the campaign for a national reproductive health bill.

Following two setbacks, the House of Representatives proposed another version of the reproductive health measure, House Bill 812 or the Reproductive Health Care Act, to replace HB 3773 and HB 4110, which failed to get the House's nod.

During a forum here on Wednesday, Ifugao mayors vowed to call on their allies to bolster support for the new bill.

Lamut Mayor Francis Tenenan said they would pressure the League of Municipalities of the Philippines as well as the respective leagues of vice mayors and councilors to help drum up support for HB 812.

"The national government will feel the impact and no one can influence us anymore. All these leagues will join forces," said Tenenan.

Reproductive health advocates said the bills failed to pass the House because of pressures from the Catholic Church, which opposed the use of contraceptives.

Ifugao, under former governor Glenn Prudenciano, passed the Ifugao reproductive health (RH) and responsible parenthood ordinance in August last year, making it the second province after Aurora to pass its own local RH measure out of 81 provinces.

Mayors Armando Domilod (Asipulo), Lino Madchiw (Banaue), Pablo Cuyahon (Hungduan) and Jonathan Cuyahon (Kiangan) attended the forum organized by the United Nations Population Fund and the Philippine NGO Council for Health, Population and Welfare.

Governor Teodoro Baguilat Jr. said Ifugao is among the provinces with the most number of Catholics but local officials passed the ordinance because they decided to tackle the code not as a political issue but a development concern.

"We believe that reproductive health is one of the thrusts of the province," he said.

"We expected strong opposition but it was not the case," said Board Member Joseph Odan.