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Advocacy groups stating 7 billion reasons why the Responsible Parenthood - Reproductive Health Bill needs to be passed

The world population is set to hit 7 billion on 31 October 2011, this unique moment in human history represents both an achievement and a challenge, and will have an impact on every single person on the planet. A world of seven billion has implications for sustainability, urbanization, access to health services and youth empowerment – however, it also offers a rare call-to-action opportunity to renew global commitment for a healthy and sustainable world.

In the Philippines, various NGOs in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) headed by Dr. Eden Divinagracia, executive director of the Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare Inc. (PNGOC) will conduct series of events that will touch various issues, including poverty, gender equality, maternal and reproductive health, environment and urbanization, among many others, giving a wide overview of the status and challenges of human development.

Events lined up are the global launching of the 2011 State of World Population (SWOP) Report on October 26th, the report is entitled “People and Possibilities in a World of 7 Billion”, will discuss implications of the world of 7 billion people in terms of fighting global poverty and inequality, empowering women and young people, raising smaller and stronger families, ensuring environmental sustainability, meeting the needs of ageing population, and responding to the issues of urbanization and migration. Afterwards, a photo exhibit with the theme “I am 1 of 7 Billion” which reflects a call to action for each individual’s role in responding to the challenges of a growing population will happen on October 31. The series of events would like to illustrate the exponential effect and impact of the world population when it reaches 7 billion.

Dr. Divinagracia said “the gap between the rich and poor are growing. Our government is struggling to meet the needs and demand of our increasing population, various calamities is happening right now due to climate change; thus more people than ever are vulnerable to food insecurity, water shortages and weather-related disasters.”

With a Reproductive Health Care Act the Philippine Government can help its constituents to invest in public health, education, child care and other social services. This mitigates the impact of the crisis on the entire family and raises the productivity for a healthier economy.

PNGOC firmly believes that we need a solid bill to help our constituents to have a brighter tomorrow. Once the RH bill has been passed, we believe that this legislated policy can provide stability of programs, regardless of who sits as president, Cabinet or Local Government official. In addition, it will recognize the basic right of all individuals and couples to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children. It also intends to recognize the right of all individuals to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence.

The Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare Inc. (PNGOC) is a national umbrella network with more than 95 member NGOs believing that NOW is the right time for the passage of a Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood, and Population Development policy to recognize the needs of our women, children and families.