Business groups press RH law implementation
MANILA, Philippines – Four of the biggest and most influential Philippine business groups on Tuesday, March 25, reaffirmed their "strong support" for the immediate implementation of the Reproductive Health Law which they believe would help foster inclusive growth.
The joint statement was signed by the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Makati Business Club (MBC), Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).
The groups issued the statement as the Supreme Court prepares to give its verdict on the constitutionality of the law in its summer session next month.
"While we await the resolution of the law’s fate by the Supreme Court, we remain steadfast in our stand that responsible parenthood and reproductive health are significant components of the country’s direct strategy for poverty reduction and improved maternal and child healthcare," the groups said.
They added, "The RH Law, therefore, is a complement to current and proposed initiatives to address long-standing challenges to the country’s development. As such, in our goal to attain sustainable and inclusive growth, the RH Law must be fully and properly implemented without delay."
They maintained their position that the law, which has yet to be implemented since its enactment in 2012 because of a SC temporary restraining order (TRO), is reflective of the "true will of the people."
"We maintain our position that this health measure, which underwent more than 14 years of thorough deliberation and definitively passed by both chambers of Congress, reflects the true will of the people and is an illustration that democracy prevails in our nation," the groups said.
The business groups reiterated their opposition to any measure that condones abortion or limits free choice, and their belief that the RH law "hurdles these concerns."
"In fact, we strongly believe that the law protects and enhances the people’s constitutionally-enshrined rights to life and good health, freedom of choice, and a living wage and income," they said.
The groups urged RH law advocates to be steadfast in their public expression of support for the law's immediate implementation, and hoped that opposing parties would "see the pragmatic wisdom behind this critical piece of legislation."
International Day of the Unborn Child
Whether intended or not, the statement was issued on the International Day of the Unborn Child, celebrated every March 25.
Senator Nancy Binay, who has openly expressed her opposition to the RH law, said in a statement on the occasion of that day that she found the possible implementation of the law "worrying."
"As parents, protecting our children from harm should be our priority especially during pregnancy when their lives are most vulnerable. This is why the prospect of the implementation of a law which will interfere with the creation of life or deny life to the unborn is worrying," Binay said.
Binay sided with the Catholic Church in the belief that "life begins when an ovum is fertilized" and that "life begins and should be respected from the moment of conception." She cited a provision in the 1987 Constitution that guarantees state protection for the "life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception."
Binay also cited laws that penalize "anyone who intentionally causes abortion" and Chapter 4 Article 40 of the Civil Code which states that "birth determines personality; but the conceived child shall be considered born for all purposes that are favorable to it."
"Despite the presence of laws which uphold the unborn child’s right to life, there still exist threats to its future. This International Day of the Unborn, let us stand up for the rights of the unborn who cannot fight for themselves. Let us defend them by making the right choice. Let us choose life and allow the unborn to live," Binay said.
In March 2013, the SC issued a status quo ante order against the RH law, temporarily stopping its implementation.
RH law advocates have urged the High Court to issue a speedy and favorable resolution of the case, citing the repercussions of the delayed implementation of the law on women and the poor.
Senator Pia Cayetano, the RH law sponsor in the Senate, has consistently claimed that 15 women die with each day the law is not implemented. – Rappler.com