Press Release
March 7, 2011

Pia pledges lying-in clinics for Cebu in support of Gov. Gwen

CEBU CITY - In keeping with March 8th, which is observed around the world as International Women's Day, Senator Pia Cayetano has pledged to help build lying-in clinics for the province of Cebu to help increase the access of Cebuana women to government's maternal health care services.

Cayetano's initiative is in support of the plan of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to put up a lying-in clinic in every municipality across the province.

At the same time, Cayetano will turn over to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) two sets of instructional DVDs on breast self-examination to help raise public awareness on breast cancer, the leading cancer among Filipino women. She will also donate copies of said instructional materials to several town mayors with the aim of providing vital information on breast cancer to their women constituents.

The lady senator recently visited Cebu province in connection with the celebration of Women's Month which carries this year's theme, "Magna Carta of Women, Philippine CEDAW: In support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)."

On Sunday, Cayetano, who is also a seasoned triathlete, competed at the inaugural race of the XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon Championship held in Liloan, Cebu. Cayetano topped her age-group category in the women's division, earning her a spot at the XTERRA World Championships scheduled for October in Maui, Hawaii. Gov. Garcia gave her all-out support as one of the sponsors of the world-class sporting event, which was joined in by champion triathletes from 12 countries.

"It has always been my goal to provide women with access to quality health care services, especially in relation to maternal care. These include pre-natal and post-natal care, reproductive health services and family planning counseling," explained Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committees on Health and Demography and on Youth, Women and Family Relations.

She stressed the urgency to improve maternal health services across the country, particularly in the countryside where medical services, equipment and personnel are scarce. The Philippines has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the Asian region, with an estimated 11 Filipino mothers dying every day while giving birth.

Cayetano noted that MDG Number 5 targets to improve maternal health by reducing the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters and achieving universal access to reproductive health. She has initially pledged P2 million from her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to finance the establishment of at least two lying-in clinics in the province in partnership with the office of Gov. Garcia.

Acknowledging the achievements of the provincial capitol in looking after the interest of Cebuanas under the leadership of its lady governor, Cayetano said, "The women of Cebu are blessed to have women leaders like Gov. Garcia who is constantly caring after their welfare. Cebuanas will be empowered even more if they are equipped with sufficient knowledge on diseases that primarily affect them like breast cancer, and if they are given access to maternal healthcare services."

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