by Ofelia C. Empian
Various people’s organizations said the government needs to deliver the basic needs of women and children, especially those in the marginalized sectors.
Maria Galong of the Save Apayao People’s Organization said the government has provided birthing facilities in their hometown in Conner but these facilities lack doctors, midwives, nurses, medicines, and equipment to cater to the needs of pregnant women.
“It’s like they only did the project for compliance,” Galong said, adding that some women resorted to tapping the services of hilots, who administer birthing inside homes with poor sanitation.
This is contrary to the government’s “no home birthing policy” which mandates public facilities or local government units to generate income to upgrade birthing facilities or otherwise enter into public-private partnerships or accredit private facilities as Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEmONC).
Pregnant women are left without a choice but to avail themselves of the services of BEmONC that are private facilities.
Innabuyog-Gabriela, the Cordillera chapter of the women’s organization, said that as of 2014, there are only around 96 health centers in the Cordillera.
Out of 1,176 barangays, only 566 have health stations. Also, a doctor is forced to attend to 17,020 patients in the region due to lack of government medical practitioners in LGUs.
Innabuyog-Gabriela asserts that banning home birthing in the Cordillera and other places in the country will increase pregnancy-related deaths due to women’s limited or even zero access to health centers and birthing stations.
Carol Bagyan of the Babae Ipinget ti Nailian Ken Naregta a Dangadang (Binnadang) of Mountain Province also hit the pervading violence against women and children.
Bagyan said the community’s participation in protecting women and children from any form of violence is important.
She cited the report about the 17 cases of rape in Mountain Province that are mostly incestuous.
In most of these cases, the victims are minors.
“Let our celebration of Women’s Month be a different one as we call for the protection of women and children from all forms of violence,” she said.