Press release – 11 December 2012

In a timely, humane and compassionate manner, 100,000 doctors and nurses, and 167,000 midwives represented by twenty-three (23) health care professional organizations finally showed their in support for the reproductive health bill in a press conference at the Philippine General Hospital today.

“We can no longer turn a blind eye because we are part of the life-saving solution,” said Philippine Medical Association (PMA), “As health care providers we simply cannot be reduced to being for or against the bill because our obligation has and will always be about saving lives, and the longer we stay quiet, the more lives are lost.”

The group presented a manifesto calling for the protection of seven (7) life-giving provisions:

1. That the State protect the individual’s freedom to decide what family planning method s/he wants to use (whether natural or artificial).

2. That the Bill should have explicit statements against induced abortion.

3. That the State should protect the couple’s right to decide on their ideal family size.

4. That the State should recognize and respect religious rights and convictions of both patients and caregivers.

5. That RH education should include value formation, and be age-appropriate.

6. That the provision for reproductive health services be improved.

7. That guidelines on use of specific contraceptives, including warnings on safety should be left to the discretion of the FDA. This will allow recommendations to evolve as scientific knowledge advances.

Both the House of Representatives and Senate are expected to vote on measure within the week.

The manifesto signing was led by the Philippine Medical Association. The other signatories were Former Department of Health (DOH) Secretaries Dr. Alberto Romualdez and Dr. Esperanza Cabral, Former Philippine Medical Association (PMA) President Dr. Santiago del Rosario, Philippine Medical Association (PMA), Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS), Philippine Society of Newborn Medicine (PSNbM), Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines (IMAP), Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina, Inc. (KMI), National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Department of Health, Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine (PSGIM), Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID), UP School of Health Sciences, Palo, Leyte, Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association, UP Manila College of Nursing, Ortoll Reproductive Primary Health Care Center,University of the Philippines Manila, Philippine Society of Hypertension, Child Protection Unit, Philippine General Hospital, National Institute of Health, Philippine Family Planning Consortium, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, and Asia Pacific Center for Evidence Based Medicine.