RH ‘not a magic wand’ vs child labor, maternal deaths

PROPONENTS of the proposed reproductive health (RH) law cannot claim that the measure will address both maternal mortality and child labor problems in the country, a senior legislator said Tuesday.
In a statement, Parañaque Representative Roilo Golez cited China and Nigeria — both of which implement RH laws — as having more alarming numbers of child workers than the Philippines.
In the latest report of the International Labor Organization (ILO), it estimated that there are 250 million children between the ages of five and 14 who work. Of the number, 61 percent are working in Asia.
“After decades of pro-RH, and one-child policy backed by a strong pro-abortion program and more than 10 years of 10 percent economic growth, China still has more than 10 million child workers. With that record in China, how can the pro-RH group call the RH bill a magic wand against child labor?” Golez asked.
The same ILO report stated that in as of October 2011, there were 5.49 million children at work in the Philippines, of which 3.028 million were considered child laborers and 2.462 million were reported to be exposed to hazardous child labor.
“What they don’t disclose is that child labor is a major problem worldwide, including in countries with strong RH and abortion laws especially in China, the model for RH of many RH advocates in the Philippines,” he added.
Golez also noted that pro-RH groups are listening to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), whose executive director and country head for the Philippines are both from Nigeria.
The legislator said that according to a report of the United Nations Children Funds (Unicef) on child labor, at least 15 million children under the age of 14 are working across Nigeria.
“On maternal mortality, Nigeria is a very high number nine in the world while the Philippines is a very low no. 76, yet the pro-RH group idolizes the UNFPA head who is from Nigeria,” Golez said.
“RH in Nigeria is apparently a big failure in the fight against child labor, maternal mortality and HIV,” he said.
Earlier, RH author and Albay Representative Edcel Lagman cited studies by the UNFPA, World Health Organization, and the United Nations Development Programme, which, he said, confirms that correct and consistent use of contraceptives will prevent maternal deaths.
Lagman emphasized that effective contraception leads to better birth spacing which translates to longer intervals between pregnancies; fewer births to very young or older women; and reduces the chances of malnutrition in mothers and therefore contributes to their overall well-being and the health of their children.


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