By RENDILYN CUYOP
BAGUIO CITY — Officials of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) called on President Duterte to prioritize the reproductive health situation over war on drugs.
“We believe that the 22 cases of HIV infection per day and one pregnant girl for every ten young Filipino women is more serious than the drug problem,” says Romeo Dongeto, Executive Director of PLCPD. It can be recalled that the Department of Health (DOH) reported earlier a low but growing HIV/AIDS infection as well as a stable increase in teenage pregnancy cases in the country.
Signed into law last December 2012, Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law which is meant to address these health conditions now faces a major challenges impeding its implementation.
Challenges include the reducing its funds by a billion, the budget alloted for the purchase of family planning supplies by the Congress last year. Added to this, the Supreme Court has issued a Temporary Restraining Order on public procurement and distribution of a family planning commodities, posing a challenge for the Department of Health to pursue a serious family planning and reproductive health program.
Dongeto now seeks the help of other concerned agencies and stakeholders to put pressure on the Supreme Court to lift the TRO and allow the concerned agencies free reign to address the reproductive health condition in the country which he considers a phenomenal crisis.
“This long-acting contraceptive (to be purchased but prevented by the TRO) is very effective and has a direct correlation with the increase of abortion, so please (President Duterte) be as passionate in addressing the issue of family planning, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS,” Dongeto said.
PLCPD also seeks the support of the LGUs for the full and local implementation of the RH law .
“Our role now in implementation is in oversight and in ensuring that there is a budget through the General Appropriations Act (GAA),” says Hon. Teddy B. Baguilat, Ifugao Representative and PLCPD Vice-Chairperson. He then urged the local government units to enact their own policies and fund their own reproductive health programs even as they depend on the national government for assisstance and funding.
“While the implementation is on the LGUs, the budget comes from the Congress and there are still opposition to the RH Law in the Congress,” added Baguilat. Baguilat proceeded to emphasize the importance of the role of educational institutions in giving age appropriate sexuality education as a contributing factor to improve our reproductive health situation. # nordis.net