The fight for the current and most debated House Bill 4244 (An Act providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development, and for Other Purposes), popularly known as RH bill, has been an uphill battle for its supporters; but the obstinacy of a new army calling themselves Soul Sisters keeps the battle on the forefront by tenaciously combating arguments against the bill and are slowly turning people’s opinion to their side.
Congresswomen Kimi Cojuangco, Abigail Faye Ferriol, Bernadette Herrera, Rosenda Ann Ocampo, Emiline Aglipay, and Sharon Garin, mostly are first-term representatives in the House, have banded together to heighten the campaign to pass the RH Bill which is an issue that strikes close not only in their hearts as women but as representatives of the less privileged citizens.
As representatives, the Soul Sisters have been privy to and witnesses to the realities and experiences of the women and families in their districts. While the anti-RH Bill camps mask the realities of over-population, contraception, infant and maternal mortality, and the importance of reproductive health education, the Soul Sisters know from experience the realities faced by the families of women and youth who have not had access to the services offered by the RH Bill.
The Soul Sisters is a fitting moniker for this army of women. For that is what they are. They are sisters not only among themselves as colleagues but also along with their constituents and fellow Filipinas. As women and also
mothers they have an affinity with the females in their districts and can relate to the difficulties of childbirth and raising healthy children even in the best of circumstances; they have witnessed how those challenges multiply among those in poverty. As such, they are driven with intense determination in facing the challenges put forth by foes of the bill and notwithstanding the risk of censure and consequences that might be inflicted on them by the Catholic Church. The Soul Sisters emerged into the battlefront with naught but the candor and heart for the deprived and the weak.
Even as the religious right exerts considerable influence over the anti-RH Bill movement, the Soul Sisters are not out to crusade against church policies or erode old respected customs, their aim is to allow the poor and marginalized in this country the same choices already available to the rich and privileged. The access to services and information pertaining to family planning methods and reproductive health education will no longer be only for those who can afford it, but for all who
choose to Changes are inevitable in our cultural evolution and The Philippines is a country that is evolving to meet the modern and global culture and not even the Church can prevent that. The church will still exert their scriptures and influence over their flock and they may choose to ignore the provisions of the bill. However, all the sisters and the proponents of the bill ask is to not also not deny those who need it and want it their right to choose.
At a meeting held inside the Lady Legislators Office in Congress on September 13, 2011, the group drew plans to conduct a grand assembly in the town of Villasis, Pangasinan on September 23, 2011 to expose a concern that could lead the Filipino race to triumph, the RH bill. The rally will also aim to fast track the government in resolving the immediate approval of the bill.
The planned rally includes a motorcade which will start from the municipality of Sison to Bautista and back to Villasis Auditorium for the final program. Along the way, the motorcade will make stops in all 5th district towns and Urdaneta City. The rally and motorcade will include participants from Local Government Units and several organizations of the 5th District of Pangasinan. Also anticipated is the presence of the Iglesia ni Cristo and other pro-RH from the religious sector to attend the motorcade and rally.
LET’S GO PURPLE! PASS IT ON