PH needs RH policy, says UN delegation leader


( The Philippines needs a reproductive health policy said Brian Bowler, the leader of the visiting delegation of six United Nations bodies, reports

According to Bowler, the high maternal death rate in the Philippines could be lowered by having a reproductive health policy in place. "The absence of a national reproductive health policy, especially for the poorest, is a vital concern," Bowler said.

Bowler, who is Malawi’s permanent representative to the UN, also acknowledged that religion should be considered in setting national laws. "The Philippines is a Catholic country, and as such it has very strong principles, and of course religion must be observed."

A recent anti-RH Bill prayer rally was held at the Quirino Grandstand where Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Lim’s predecessor Lito Atienza and other anti-RH Bill personalities spoke to the 40,000 people in attendance.

President Noynoy Aquino has expressed support for the RH Bill but Malacañang has recently excluded the bill from its list of priority measures.

Bowler told that the Philippine government has improved on fulfilling its commitment to achieve other Millenium Goals which include reducing malnutrition, achieving universal primary education and reducing gender-based violence by 2015, but there is a need for UN agencies to inscrease support and intervention. "There is a great deal of work still to be done, especially in the areas of HIV/AIDS and maternal health, re-building conflict-affected communities and reducing poverty," Bowler said.

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