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FVR leads Purple Ribbon launch to push RH bill
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - As hundreds of supporters of the reproductive health bill, led by former president Fidel V. Ramos, launched a “purple ribbon” campaign on Wednesday, an outspoken Catholic bishop said the church was waging an “all-out war” against the measure that it says will coerce people into accepting artificial contraception, promote promiscuity and waste scarce taxpayer money on devices instead of health and nutrition education.

The RH Bill advocates appealed to President Benigno Aquino III to certify the measure as urgent.

Mr. Ramos said in his speech that Aquino must lead the campaign for the enactment of the bill, after the President recently served notice he was pushing a five-point agenda on responsible parenthood and reproductive health, prompting the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to pull out, with finality, from dialogues with the Palace.

“To do the right thing, Mr. President you must now certify the Reproductive Health bill as urgent,” Ramos said as hundreds of other supporters applauded at the launching of Purple Ribbon, a symbol for what supporters described as a growing RH bill clamor.

Kaya palaganapin natin ang simbolong ito ng ating pagkakaisa. Ipagkalat natin ang palatandaan ng ating panawagan para sa tunay na pagbabago at reporma sa ating sangay pangkalusugan… Bigyan natin ng mukha at boses ang ating mga kababayan, lalo na ang mga kababaihan [Let us spread this symbol of our unity, this mark of our call for true change in our health sector. Let us give a face and a voice to our fellowmen, especially our women],” Ramos said.

Among the supporters were artists and public figures gathered together to launch the symbol for growing Pro-RH supporter, the group claimed that there are 500 supporters who gathered at the event.

Ramos, and fellow Purple Ribbon lead convenor, former health secretary Esperanza Cabral urged the country’s leaders and influential people to unite behind the bill.

“Our country’s political leaders have been dilly dallying on this very important piece of legislation for many years now and this has caused the deaths of many women, especially poor mothers,” Cabral said.

She cited data showing 4,700 mothers die every year from pregnancy and childbirth complications.

As long as there are babies left behind anywhere who are likely to die because their mothers are not there to take care of them, Cabral said they will not stop pushing for the enactment of the RH Bill now pending in both houses of Congress.

They will also keep pushing for the right of women and couples to be informed accurately about choices in founding their families, consistent with responsible parenthood as well as their cultural and religious practices.

The RH bill supporters also formally conferred international theater actress Lea Salonga with the title of ambassadress for the RH movement, hoping to use her to further inform the public of the vaunted benefits of the bill, chiefly, saving millions of women falling ill or dying as a result of unplanned pregnancies.

For its part, the CBCP declared Wednesday an “all-out war versus the controversial measure.

In a radio interview, CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) Vice-Chairman Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said it should not surprise the public if the Catholic Church opens “hostilities” against what it dubbed an anti-life measure.

Natural yan na magdeklara tayo ng [It’s but natural for us to declare a] total war! Dapat lalo tayong magpursige sa campaign natin laban sa RH bill,” said Arguelles over Church-run Radio Veritas.
The Lipa archbishop’s statement comes just a day after the CBCP decided to withdraw from its ongoing dialogue with Malacañang.

The CBCP said it no longer sees “any reason to further undertake a serious study/dialogue” with the administration anymore after hearing President Aquino publicly declare his intent to implement the RP/RH bill.

The CBCP withdrawal, subsequently, prompted the Palace to drop its plan to draft its own responsible parenthood (RP) bill and just throw its support behind House Bill 4244, which is the consolidated RH bill.