Updated: Apr 11
RH Law advocates in Fairmont take a breather, bond and share energies preparatory to facing continuing challenges to the RH Law.
December 17, 2022 was a joyous and memorable occasion, where RH champions, advocates and other stakeholders gathered to mark the 10th year anniversary of the RH law. The celebration was a reunion for the 200 onsite and 900 online participants. Joining community, NGOs and government leaders were former ICC Judge Raul Pangalangan, former NEDA Secretary Ernesto Pernia, former POPCOM Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III, UP Vice-President for Public Affairs Dr. Neny E. Pernia , USAID Health Deputy Director Dr. Yolanda Oliveros, Dep Ed UnderSecretary. Dr. Gina Gonong and DOH Assistant Secretary Dr. Beverly Ho.
Every one in the room sways and waves during the singing of Lila, the anthem of the RH advocacy, composed by advocate-songwriter, Rom Dongeto.
Men RH pioneers - Drs. Jondi Flavier, Gerry Cruz and Louie Garcia share photo booth with younger advocates Loida Almendares, Shirley Sinson, Jeffry Lorenzo, and Jaime Bonifacio, Jr.
The day opened with an exhibit of RH iconic photos, including the “die in” of over 1,000 marchers before the CBCP gates and women in “halaya bandanas” crowding the gallery of the House of Representatives. There was a photo booth where people could express their sentiments and pose as rallyist or Catholic bishop. Several NGOs also offered different RH products – publications, shirts and plenty of freebies. There was also an RH Trivia quiz for participants in the different venues - Facebook, Zoom, hotel – on significant dates, events, and personalities both pro- and anti-RH.
Womyn shakers Ging Cristobal, Atty. Camille Sevilla and Giney Villar feel "happy and feisty."
Catholics for RH Executive Director Bicbic Chua and colleagues show off brochures and t-shirts.
RH champions honored.
Memorable events during the day include the memorial video of 12 RH champions who had passed on - Pres. Benigno Aquino III, Pres. Fidel Ramos, Sen. Letty Shahani, Sen. Miriam Santiago, Sec. Dinky Soliman, Rep. Dina Abad, Director Tom Osias, Bishop Rodrigo Tano, Dr. Josie Cabigon, Dr. Eden Divinagracia, Carlos Celdran, and former SOH Quasi Romualdez. There was quiet, applause and tears as people remembered each champion’s unique
personality and contribution.
Family, friends and colleagues accepting the memorial plaques for each RH champion.
Another high point of the day were the insights and inside stories of Cong. Edcel Lagman during the interview with Dr. Junice Melgar. He told the story of the “high chair,” a chair improvised to allow him to sit and not strain his already frayed knees during the hours-long debates in the plenary hall. When asked if there was ever a time when he thought the bill would not pass, e.g. during the night of the nominal voting when pro-RH votes seemed to dwindle from the expected number to win, his answer was “from the very start of our advocacy, I was confident that we would prevail ultimately." He however bemoaned the slow pace of the RH Law’s implementation, specifically the lack of adequate funding by national government and the slow implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education by DepEd.
RH Champions -Prof. Beth Pangalangan, Dr. Jeepy Perez, Dr. Ernie Pernia, and Prof. Mary Racelis - reflect on the triumphs and unfulfilled promises of the RH Law
Luckily for everyone, government representatives from Dep Ed, DOH, POPCOM, and LGU executives Mayor Krisel Lagman Luistro of Tabaco City and Mayor Djalia Hataman of Isabela City (Basilan), the global multistakeholder movement FP2030 responded to the call of CSO representatives from rural women, Muslim women, women workers and women with disability and pledged that government will continue to make Reproductive Health and Rights a universal reality for all, leaving nobody behind.
POPCOM Deputy Exec. Director Lolito Tacardon joins Dep Ed USec Gina Gonong and Isabela Mayor Djalia Hataman in declaring national and local government' s commitment to implement the RH Law.
Women leaders - Sarah de la Rosa of Women with Disabilities taking Action on SRHR and Judy Miranda of Partido Manggagawa - demand funding and responsive RH services.
Beth Angsioco, Chair of DSWP, and Mon San Pascual, former Executive Director of PLCPD, exchange stories of action in Congress, in media and in the streets.
You can watch the full video playlist and recorded FB live coverage through these links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is1xaD5pErc&list=PLpidSeh3N1rIFCyupMVfyL44C5X2Wi2Qy; https://www.facebook.com/likhaanph/videos/924798462219853