March 15, 2016
The Purple Ribbon for RH Movement, a vast network of groups and individuals advocating for reproductive health, has endorsed Rep. Leni Robredo for vice president and former Reps. Risa Hontiveros and Walden Bello, and former justice secretary Leila de Lima for senator.
In a press conference today, former health secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral said that these candidates have championed the RH Law and have shown their commitment to fully implement the said law.
Dr. Cabral said they did not only look into the candidates’ position on RH but also considered their track record in upholding human rights.
“Rep. Leni has been fighting for the rights of women, farmers and other marginalized sectors even before her election as congresswoman,” said Mina Tenorio of Likhaan Center for Women’s Health.
Shame campaign vs Sotto, Pacquiao
The group also called on the electorate to not vote officials who deliberately hampered the implementation of the RH Law, like Sen. Tito Sotto and Rep. Manny Pacquiao.
In a written statement distributed to the media, they called Sotto and Pacquiao “shameful bigots who have no care for the welfare of women, children and Filipino families.”
Sotto was behind the P1-billion cut on the 2016 budget for family planning services which threatens to reverse the gains in recent years on improving maternal health and promoting family planning.
“When we talk about public health and reproductive health, Tito Sotto is public enemy number one. He is a liar – he has deliberately spread misinformation in a desperate attempt to block RH,” the group said.
Lina Bacalando, president of PILAKK, an organization helping women in poor communities, dared Sotto to face women in poor communities so he would know their plight.
Ms. Bacalando added that Sotto should admit to poor women that he’s rabidly anti-RH and that he was behind the budget cut that deprives them of RH services.
The group also lambasted Pacquiao for his incendiary statements against LGBTs and staunch refusal to recognize the value of RH for poor families across the country.
“Walang puwang sa Senado ang isang taong nagmamaliit at yumayurak sa karapatan ng mamamayan (There’s no place in the Senate for someone who tramples on the rights of people),” Romeo Dongeto, executive director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), said.
RH fight continues
The Purple Ribbon for RH Movement also stressed the need to remain undaunted by the relentless challenge from the anti-RH camp and vowed to use their votes as weapon to attain full victory.
“Patuloy ang pagtatangka ng mga anti-RH na idiskaril ang implementasyon ng batas… Urong-sulong ang mga pulitiko at pamahalaan sa pagpapatupad nito (Anti-RH forces outside and inside the government continue to challenge the implementation of the RH Law),” Dongeto said.
“Ngayong Mayo, pagkakataon natin na iluklok ang mga lider na titiyaking may sapat na pondo para sa buo at makabuluhang implementasyon ng RH Law (We have the opportunity this May to elect leaders who will allot sufficient budget for the full and meaningful implementation of the RH Law),” he added.
“We encourage each and every Filipino to cast the Purple Vote with us. We must take the RH fight to the ballots and cast our vote for to defend the victory of the Reproductive Health Law in the next administration,” the group concluded.
Rep. Hontiveros was present during the press conference and shared her plans to help build a healthy Philippines, including building super health centers, expanding Philhealth coverage and ensuring hospitals admit indigent patients.
Meanwhile, Rep. Bello was represented by Ms. Princess Nemenzo, founder of WomanHealth Philippines, and Rep. Robredo by Atty. Geoanne Hernandez of the group “Women for Leni.”