Do you support the RH Bill? If you do, it's time to don a purple ribbon! May 11 was the launch date of the Purple Ribbon campaign. The "Day of the Purple Ribbon: A Gathering of Leaders, Artists and Public Figures for RH," as it was called, was celebrated at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas, Pasig City, and attended by hundreds of Reproductive Health Bill proponents from the government, NGOs and civil society groups, the media, the academic and medical communities, and more.
Present at the event were former president Fidel V. Ramos, former DOH secretary Esperanza Cabral, Lea Salonga, Rep. Risa Hontiveros, Leah Navarro Ces Drilon, Cheche Lazaro, Elizabeth Angsioco, Carlos Celdran, and other supporters of the bill.
Dr. Esperanza Cabral started things off with a welcome message. She described how, if indeed all unwanted children were to be adopted, she would look forward to seeing "our neighbors in Ayala Alabang" trailing a posse of five or six adopted kids apiece, all dressed and fed as well as their biological children. On a more serious note, she said, "Our country's political leaders have been dilly-dallying for this very important piece of legislation for more than 10 years now, and this has caused the deaths of many women, especially poor mothers."
Afterward, Rep. Risa Hontiveros of the Akbayan Partylist had the honor of unveiling the symbol for the Purple Ribbon Campaign, which was followed by an inspirational message from former president Fidel V. Ramos, who started out by saying that he was speaking as an "honorary woman" and an "elder senior citizen." Despite the humor with which he delivered his speech, he shot out some pretty sobering numbers, saying that, of the estimated 500,000 maternal deaths that occur yearly, 97 percent occur in developing countries. "Our own country contributes to this tragic number in a large degree, given our high maternal mortality," he said.
Ramos also voiced a call to action for the current president: "I appeal to our elected leader who occupies Malacañang. Bilang iyong mga boss, we ask His Excellency President Noynoy Aquino himself to lead the campaign for the enactment of the RH Bill."
He quoted Aquino, saying, "President Aquino declared so himself, and I quote: 'In the end I must listen to my conscience. I must do what is right.' To do what is right, Mr. President, you must now certify the RH Bill as urgent!"
Ramos had the crowd on its feet, as did word from the representatives from Congress, Rep. Edcel C. Lagman and Rep. Janette L. Garin, and the current DOH secretary Enrique T. Ona, who reaffirmed the president's commitment to delivering reproductive health to the masses, especially to poorer families with limited access to modern contraceptives.
"We are having political mappings. We are sure that if a vote is taken now, the RH bill could pass," Lagman said, as quoted on Inquirer.net.
The event was concluded with an inspiring rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine," by RH advocate and Tony Award-winning singer and actress Lea Salonga. "I want people [to be] armed with as much information as possible . . . to decide for themselves what is best for them as couples. That's what I'm hoping for," she is quoted as saying on GMANews.TV.
Click through the slideshow below to learn a little more about what was discussed and what transpired on the Day of the Purple Ribbon.
Want to support the movement yourself? Go to the Purple Ribbon Campaign page on RHBill.org for more details. You can also show your support by adding a Twibbon to your Facebook and/or Twitter profile pictures and signing the online petition. You can also follow ISupportRHBill on Twitter for updates and more.
Learn more about the RH Bill from these articles:
- 10 Things You Should Know about the Reproductive Health Bill
- 5 Things Anyone Can Do to Support the RH Bill
- Lea Salonga, Angel Locsin, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and more share why they support the RH Bill
- 5 Misconceptions about the Reproductive Health Bill
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and more!