Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370
  • Office of Rep. Edcel C. Lagman
  • Tel No. 9315497/4155455
  • 0916-6406737/0918-9120137
  • 09 February 2011

 

           The death by suicide of former AFP Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes sends the message to legislators to desist from engaging in trial by publicity and to defer to prosecutorial and judicial officials the jurisdiction over purported crimes.

           Reyes possibly could not bear his own and his family’s embarrassment due to repeated allegations and innuendoes of wrongdoings so much so that he preferred death to dishonor.

           It is of no moment that the person who perished is innocent or guilty because one’s death diminishes the entire society.

           We must respect the decision of Reyes to take his own life to foreclose the continuing assaults on his integrity without the benefit of a judicial process wherein innocence is presumed before final conviction.

  • Office of Rep. Edcel C. Lagman
  • Tel No. 4155455
  • 0916-6406737/0918-9120137
  • 08 February 2011

 

            The non-inclusion of the Reproductive Health bill in the initial 12 priority measures of Malacañang for submission to the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) is not a setback.

           What is important is that President Aquino has not backtracked from his endorsement of responsible parenthood, which is a component of reproductive health, and voluntary family planning based on freedom of choice of methods, both natural and modern modes.

           Responsible parenthood refers to the right of parents to freely and responsibly determine the number and spacing of their children to adequately respond to the needs and aspirations of the family.

           Almost 44 years ago the Philippines was a signatory to the Teheran Declaration which provided that reproductive health and family planning are basic and universal human rights.

           Freedom of informed choice is central to the substitute bill on “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development”, which was overwhelmingly approved last week by the House Committee on Population and Family Relations.

  • Office of Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman
  • 0916-6406737 / 0918-9120137
  • 25 January 2011

 

          The “responsible parenthood bill” reportedly being drafted by Malacañang parallels and complements House Bill No. 96, the principal proposed measure on reproductive health which is pending in the House of Representatives along with five (5) other allied bills.

           This was stressed by Minority Leader and Albay Representative Edcel C. Lagman, who is the principal author of HB No. 96, in a letter dated January 25, 2011 to President Aquino.

           Lagman pointed out that HB No. 96 prominently includes responsible parenthood as it is even entitled “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population and Development, and For Other Purposes”.

           The Lagman bill defines responsible parenthood as “the will, ability and commitment of parents to adequately respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children by responsibly and freely exercising their reproductive health rights.”

           The basic human right of parents to freely and responsibly plan the number and spacing of their children was enshrined in the Tehran Convention on Human Rights to which the Philippines became a State Party almost 43 years ago.

           Lagman underscored that the RH bill and the projected “responsible parenthood bill”, seemingly favored by Malacañang, have the following common major features:

           1)   No demographic or population target is espoused.

           2)   Poverty reduction or alleviation is a principal agenda.

           3)   Voluntary family planning based on freedom of informed choice is promoted.

           4)   All kinds of family planning methods from the natural to the artificial which are legal, medically safe and effective are made accessible to acceptors.

           5)   Abortion remains to be prohibited and penalized.

          Lagman said that nowhere in the bills which are pending in the House of Representatives is there a provision setting either a definitive or even loose population growth ceiling.

          “The RH bill is not intended to be a population control measure. The reduction of the population growth rate is incidental to the promotion of reproductive health and human development”, Lagman added.

          Lagman also said that “while an RH law is not a panacea to poverty, without a clear policy on RH, government’s anti-poverty strategies will continue to be undermined by a ballooning population, high rates of unwanted fertility and equally alarming maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.”

           “Central to the pending RH bills and the Malacañang-proposed responsible parenthood bill is the freedom of informed choice,” Lagman also stressed.

           Lagman emphasized that “neither the Church nor the State has the right to dictate on the faithful or citizens which form of family planning they should use. The choice primarily and ultimately belongs to the couple, especially to women who bear the brunt of pregnancy, child birth and child care.”

           “The bottom line is women and couples are not compelled to plan their families. However, should they decide to do so, the State will empower them with the information and opportunity to have only the number of children they can care for,  educate, feed and shelter adequately,” Lagman also added.

           The Bicol solon likewise stated that both the RH bill and the projected responsible parenthood bill are against abortion, and “will definitely help lower the incidence of abortion by preventing unplanned, mistimed and unwanted pregnancies, the very pregnancies which are terminated through abortion.”

           Lagman also said that “there is an inverse relationship between contraception and abortion. Studies conducted by the Guttmacher Institute reveal that access to contraceptives can reduce abortion rates by a staggering 85%.”

           Lagman disclosed that “both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have consistently declared that contraceptives like pills, injectables, IUDs and condoms are not abortifacients. They either prevent ovulation and/or prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. Consequently, there is no resultant fertilized ovum. Hence, there is nothing to abort.”

           “Reproductive Health” is the more comprehensive term which has been internationally accepted since the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was adopted in Cairo, Egypt 17 years ago in 1994 which the Philippines signed along with 188 other countries.

           “Reproductive Health” is defined by the ICPD as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.” HB No. 96 adopts this definition.

           The ICPD Program of Action categorically provides that “In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning x x x Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process.”

           In other words, with respect to abortion the ICPD defers to the supremacy of the domestic or national laws of the country concerned.

           Moreover, Lagman explained that responsible parenthood is limited to family planning whereas RH is more all encompassing to cover maternal and child health and nutrition; breastfeeding; and treatment of infertility, breast and reproductive tract cancers and HIV/AIDS, among others.

           He added that except for sexuality education for the youth, the rest of the elements of RH are not contentious.

           He also underscored that during the ICPD, the Philippines committed to the promotion and protection of the right to overall reproductive health, not merely the right of women and couples to be responsible parents through voluntary family planning.

           Lagman has also requested the President to certify HB No. 96 as a priority measure given that it is virtually identical to the proposed “responsible parenthood bill” even as HB 96 is more comprehensive as reproductive health measure and is already in the final stages of committee action.