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Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

Rep. Edcel C. Lagman
24 September 2009

“The enactment of the RH bill will tremendously enhance the country’s meeting its commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, particularly improvement of maternal health (MDG 5) and reduction of infant mortality (MDG 4).”

This was underscored by Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, principal author of HB No. 5043 on “Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development”.

Millennium Development Goal 5, which aims to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015, is the MDG least likely to be achieved.

In the Philippines, 11 women die daily from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. The Maternal Mortality Ratio in the country was 209 per 100,000 live births in the early 1990s. In 1998, MMR fell to 172 but has stagnated thereafter to 162 up to 2006.

“At this pace of reduction, the target of reducing MMR to 52 by 2015 will be unattainable unless a law on reproductive health which will encourage voluntary family planning is put in place,” Lagman said.

Quoting documents from the Department of Reproductive Health and Research of the WHO, Lagman said that “of the more than 500,000 maternal deaths worldwide, one-third could be prevented by the correct and consistent use of contraceptives and about 1 million deaths of children under the age of five could be prevented with effective family planning methods.”

The UNFPA emphasized that “about 90 per cent of abortion-related deaths and disabilities worldwide could be avoided if women who wished to plan their families had access to effective contraception.”

Statistics from the UNFPA also reveal that of the more than half a million maternal deaths annually worldwide, 99% happen to women in developing countries like the Philippines.

In addition to the current 131 coauthors of the RH bill, seven more members of the House of Representatives have signified their intention to coauthor the bill, Lagman disclosed.