By Engr. Grace Bondad-Nicolas
“Reproductive Health Bill, I support” is a Facebook group of Reproductive Health advocates, and their first gathering occurred on April 16, 2011. The eyeball took place in Carlos Celdran’s famous 1930’s apartment, “The Living Room,” in Malate. The Facebook group, created by the Do It Right (DIR) Advocacy, is a venue for discussion on the RH Bill, and opinions and views are exchanged by members from the Philippines and Abroad.
Attendees from the Eye Ball included: Alvin Cloyd Dakis of AYNLA; Irina Otmakhova, Network Coordinator, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR); Carlos Celdran, Visual Artist, Tour Guide, Host of TV5 show “Tayuan Mo, Paninindigan Ko”; Chris Villanueva Sienna, an HR Consultant and a member of Filipino Free Thinkers; nurse Edelyn Aborido; Grace Bondad Nicolas, project engineer from Andrew Grace Home Builders and blogger; Janina Gillian Santos, an IELTS tutor; Jojie Tiongco, a social media manager and a reporter from Iloilo; Oneal Rosero and Regina Layug Rosero of Mulat Pinoy; Ricky Maramba, author of “The Force”; Susan Vargas, who has worked on population programs for the past 25 years; Tony Ahn, a social media manager; and Yzak Vargas, president of Critical Thinking Filipinos.
The agenda of the meet was to acquaint all the members of the group, and to share experiences, views and reasons for supporting the RH Bill. Everyone agreed on the guiding principles of the Responsible Parenthood/Reproductive Health Bill, such as:
- Freedom of choice, which is central to the exercise of right, must be fully guaranteed by the State;
- Respect for, protection and fulfillment of reproductive health and rights, and to promote the rights and welfare of couples, adult individuals, women and adolescents;
- Effective reproductive health care;
- Medically safe, legal, accessible, affordable and effective reproductive health care services and supplies, which are essential in the promotion of people’s right to health, especially of the poor and marginalized;
- The State shall promote, without bias, all effective natural and modern methods of family planning that are medically safe and legal.
There was much food and good company, and the EB that was supposed to end at 7pm continued till 1am. The RH Bill has been languishing for 16 years, but the advocates are still willing to wait for the passage, and still have faith in the elected President and his support.
The group has more than 1600 members, including distinguished personalities like Lea Salonga, Rep. Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan, Dr. Junice Melgar of Likhaan, Dean Jorge Bocobo, Ramon San Pascual of PLCPD, Senator Bong Bong Marcos, Elizabeth Angsioco of Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines, Marissa Torres Langseth of PATAS, Orion Perez of AntiPnoy, and director Joey Reyes. All these personalities actively show their support for the passage of the RH bill, both in social media and in rallies.
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