Influencing the Influential
By Ditta Mae C. Siena
August 1, 2013
Many Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in the Philippines worked their ways to influence various sectors whether to support or opposed the Reproductive Health Law. Learning about Pollard and Court’s framework on how CSOs/NGOs influence policy-making made me realize that CSOs in our country adhere to the policy processes that would make their position in an agenda remarkable.
Pollard and Court identified major processes that CSOs should follow to be able to make their advocacies stand out especially if issues relevant to these advocacies are placed under the policy-making ground. Identifying problems and setting the agenda is the first one. I personally have not witnessed or followed the beginnings of the Reproductive Health Law but if I would draw my commentary from what happened to the bill from last year until this day, I would say that it is observable that Philippine CSOs who support the Law have clearly and concretely identified the problems that our country is currently facing. They have even voiced out the anticipation on the problems that would continue to haunt us if the Law is not implemented immediately. The Philippine NGO Council (PNGOC) Executive Director Eden Divinagracia said in a statement that every passing day that RH Law is not implemented, 14 to 15 mothers die. Rooting from this, I can clearly see the problem that the PNGOC is trying to point out – danger on the lives of women. While the Church is pointing out that opposing the law is for the protection of the unborn, it seems that the two parties are fighting in the same battlefield using two relatively connected weapons – women and the unborn. Both groups have clearly cited their support for women and the unborn. Though I must say that the problem identified by the Anti-RH CSOs is weak, it was still able to generate few supports from individuals that has actually pushed a division among