A coalition of 11 organizations today launched a campaign urging Filipinos to show their support openly for family planning and reproductive health (RH), with the “DO IT RIGHT!” slogan and a distinctive hand sign.
Repeated opinion polls have shown that more than 70 percent of Filipinos support family planning and initiatives, such as the Responsible Parenthood and RH Law.
“The ‘DO IT RIGHT!’ campaign is designed to encourage everyone to take those beliefs they already hold inside and share them out in the open, proudly, especially on social media like Facebook,” said co-organizer Benjamin de Leon, President of The Forum for Family Planning and Development. “By showing each other how many feel the same, in a positive, celebratory spirit, Filipinos can together free themselves of old inhibitions.”
The campaign will include a social-media blitz, festival events, as well as advertising in traditional media like billboards, print and radio. It encourages couples and individuals to flash the Do It Right! hand sign in selfie posts or in public: Two fingers held up together — representing the members of a couple – with a thumb in-between representing the contraceptive or safe-sex measures that strengthen their bond.
The coalition has set up a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DoItRightPH/) to serve as the focal point for the evolving campaign, as well as the hashtag #DoItRight.
Do it right campaign
Initial members include DKT Philippines, the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), The Forum for Family Planning and Development, The Philippine Society for Responsible Parenthood, LoveYourself, RTI International, SheDecides Philippines, and all four professional associations for the country’s midwives.
At a press conference held in Makati City, they called on more like-minded organizations and individuals to throw their weight behind the campaign.
“This is wide open. We invite anyone who feels this topic is important — companies, famous Filipinos, anyone — to come on board,” said Hyam Asher Bolande, Chairman of the Board of DKT Philippines. Following the example of the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement that grew in North America as more and more women spoke up, the Do It Right! campaign is designed to gather strength over time, he added.
Economists and public-health experts have long lamented the need for improved RH education and access to modern contraception in the Philippines, especially for the country’s poorest. Religious-based organizations have protested the RH Law in recent years, but the law prevailed against court challenges and is fully in force today.
At the press conference, Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III hailed the launch of the ‘DO IT RIGHT!’ campaign, which he said comes at a crucial time when the government is also increasing its efforts to fully implement the law.
Nandy Senoc, FPOP Executive Director said, “It’s high time for society to finally put aside fears and embarrassment about this topic and declare openly – as the majority of Filipinos, together – that RH is OK, that it’s responsible.”
“When youth and women are empowered, there will be no teen pregnancies, no early marriages, no unwanted pregnancies or abortions. When women are well informed, the fight against poverty is already halfway won,” he added.
About the ‘Do It Right!’ Coalition
DKT Philippines is a foundation that has been promoting family planning in the Philippines since 1991, when it pioneered mass distribution of condoms through social marketing of the Trust brand. It is affiliated with DKT International, Washington, DC-based non-profit organization that works in 29 developing countries worldwide to make affordable contraceptive choices and education on RH available to all.
The Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) is a provider of quality sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services to all Filipinos especially the poor and marginalized, socially excluded and underserved groups or populations. It operates clinics, partnering with other clinics and/or facilities for referrals, conducts outreach clinics, and partners with community-based distributors and volunteers.
The Forum for Family Planning and Development has been among the lead NGOs involved in pushing policies that benefit women and children. Key accomplishments include supporting the RH Law, the lifting of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on Implants and other FP commodities, the Safe Public Spaces Law to address sexual harassment and VAW in public spaces, and the Mental Health Law. The Forum is part of a consortium of NGOs advocating for adequate and equitable government budgets for health.
The Philippine Society for Responsible Parenthood (PSRP) was organized in 2003 to empower women and families to determine when and how many pregnancies they will have. It has three main programs: advocacy for FP, training of FP providers, and raising the quality of FP services for women.
LoveYourself is a volunteer driven community-based non-profit organization that provides a wide range of HIV and sexually transmitted infection-related services, including education and prevention, testing, counseling, treatment and life coaching, as well as transgender health services.
RTI International is an independent, nonprofit institute that provides research, development, and technical services to government and commercial clients worldwide. RTI works in the Philippines in partnership with the Philippine Government and civil society to strengthen health systems and improve health outcomes. RTI is currently the lead implementor of ReachHealth, a five-year USAID-funded project that aims to reduce unmet need for family planning services and decrease teen pregnancy and newborn morbidity and mortality.
SheDecides Philippines is the local movement of SheDecides, an urgent reaction to the reinstatement by US President Donald Trump of the Global Gag Rule, which prevents NGOs outside the US from receiving money from the US government if they provide RH services. The goal of the organization is to counter the devastating effects of this rule on women, girls and their communities around the world.
The Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines (IMAP), the Private Practicing Midwives Association of the Philippines (PPMAP), the Midwives Foundation of the Philippines (MFPI), and the Philippine League of Government and Private Midwives (PLGPM) are the main associations for professional midwives in the country.
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