June 3, 2015
Reproductive health is an essential component of the universal right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health as enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Further clarified and codified in the International Conference on Population and Development, the right to reproductive health guarantees access to reproductive health care and information and the autonomy in sexual and reproductive decision-making.
The Philippines’ commitment to these international agreements has been translated to policies that respect, protect and fulfill women’s reproductive health and rights such as the Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710) and the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law or RPRH Law (RA 10354).
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has also enacted a regional law, the Reproductive Health Care Act of 2012 for the Muslim Mindanao, which recognizes the universal human right to reproductive health. The law guarantees women and couples’ access to information and services on maternal health and family planning—strategies that will complement the implementation of RPRH Law to reduce maternal deaths and enable women and couples to decide freely and responsibly on matters pertaining to their reproductive goals.
We hope that the gains from this improvement in the policy environment will be sustained in the envisioned Bangsamoro region that will replace the ARMM as it promises to improve governance and delivery of basic social services. The proposed basic law that will create a new Bangsamoro region is now being discussed in the plenary of the House of Representatives.
While the bill already contains provisions recognizing women’s right to health (Sec. 10, Art. VIII) and mandating the Bangsamoro regional government to deliver responsive health programs (Sec. 8, Art. VIII), it will greatly benefit Bangsamoro people if the bill will include the recognition of the basic human right to reproductive health.
The Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) fervently hopes that members of Congress will consider this proposal. We believe that including this in the bill will give us assurance that the Bangsamoro regional government will stay committed to respect, protect and fulfill the right to reproductive health.