Press Release
February 8, 2011

On Malacañang's withdrawal of the RH Bill as a priority measure
Statement of Sen. Pia S. Cayetano
Chairperson, Senate Committees on Health and Demography
and Youth, Women and Family Relations

"Malacañang's announcement withdrawing the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill from its priority legislative agenda is very disappointing and disturbing. At the minimum, it indicates a leadership that is indecisive and vulnerable to pressure."

"In the last seven months, lawmakers from both chambers of Congress took the trouble of conducting exhaustive public hearings that involved experts from both sides of the RH debate. We did extensive research to ensure our respective versions are kept comprehensive, and yet sensitive to contending moral and religious views. We even took note of the President's own pronouncements to guide us in crafting our versions."

"P-Noy's unwavering position on the principle of free and informed choice, especially for poor couples on family planning methods, had inspired legislators to proceed despite mounting pressure from the Church. But in the middle of our struggle, just when both Houses are preparing for plenary debates, the President unceremoniously backs out. In fact, hearings are still ongoing in both Houses."

"Nevertheless, it's not too late for Malacañang to re-include the RH Bill in its priority legislative agenda. This will be a true test to the political will of this administration, as well as to the President's sincerity and conviction."

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