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The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, expresses its congratulations and its solidarity with reproductive health champions and advocates as you reminisce the 5 years of existence and challenges that the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law face.

The passage of the RPRH Law five years ago was a testament to the steadfast courage and dedication of our legislator-champions to the cause of advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights to women and girls, to men and boys in the country. I recall that, when the House of Representatives made the historic 113-104 vote on 12 December on second reading, followed by a 133-79 vote on final reading on 17 December 2012, I was also very excited as I was already preparing then for the start of my assignment as UNFPA Country Representative in the Philippines.

The RPRH Law was a landmark legislation that put the Philippines in the global limelight for having passed a controversial yet very important policy that has so divided the nation.  But in the end, our legislators heard the voice of the people, especially the poor, who clamored for government to fulfill their promise of providing for reproductive health services that they deserve as a matter of right.

I am sure you will agree that UNFPA is one of the very few organizations that stood by our champions, especially our friends from civil society, in their more than two decades of journey for advocacy to have the then RH Bill passed. This policy is not only aligned with UNFPA’s mandate, it is also a realization of our desire to support government strengthen the provision of rights-based services.

Today, we continue to extend to you this commitment of support. UNFPA will be one with you all in pursuing your long-cherished dream for the full implementation of the RPRH Law. Now that government, through the FDA, has decided in favor of poor women and girls, let’s all join hands in making the promise that the law professes a reality. I know that obstacles – legal and otherwise  - to the law will persist, but with everyone working together, the voice of the people will prevail.

Thank you and good evening.

Klaus Beck

UNFPA Country Representative