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PIA Press Release

PGMA, FVR share common advocacies for human dignity and respect

Manila (14 July) -- Malacanang said that despite having different views on reproductive health, both President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former president Fidel V. Ramos share common advocacies "for the dignity of a person and respect for individual decisions and judgment calls."

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza, in a statement, said the Palace always welcome and value the advices and thoughts of the former president.

"He (Ramos) is our senior statesman and we always seek out his views on statecraft whenever we can," said Dureza.

He, however, stressed that President Arroyo has her own thoughts and policy formulations on population issues "that she has consistently espoused."

As part of the worldwide pledge to reduce poverty incidence by half, the Philippines had signed on the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) commitments, which calls on all governments to ensure that children everywhere will be able to complete their elementary education.

The Philippines has committed to lower the maternal mortality rate (MMR) to 52 by 2015, as part of its pledge to achieve the MDG number 5.

The Arroyo administration has maintained that it supports both natural family planning methods and those that require contraceptives.

In his speech during the recent United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) forum, Ramos expressed disagreement on the Arroyo administration's stand on family planning, which promotes "responsible parenthood".

He said the Philippines' burgeoning population would hamper its progress and stretch its resources.

As of May, the National Statistics Office (NSO) said Filipinos now numbered 88.57 million and were growing at a rate of two percent every year.

"President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's ambiguousness has hurt the cause of proper family planning in this country," Ramos said.

He said the failure of the present administration to promote family planning methods that include use of contraceptives, has put the lives of mothers and infants in danger.

"Under the guise of responsible parenthood, mothers' lives and health, together with those babies, are now being put at risk for political expediency and religious narrow-mindedness," the former president said.

Dureza said the President has categorically stated that since the proposed Reproductive Health Bill is now pending congressional deliberations, "the debate and inputs be now directed to Congress, which is the competent and proper forum where such points be ventilated."

According to the UNPF data, one woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth and 20 more suffer from disability every minute.

In the Philippines, one in 120 women has the risk of dying from pregnancy or childbirth-related ailment and that 11 mothers die everyday of pregnancy-related causes. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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