President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order mandating universal access to modern family planning tools, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said on Wednesday.
“Meaning that all women of reproductive ages should be able to achieve their desired family size, their desired number of children rather than having more children than they want or they can afford and provide for adequately and that is exactly the essence of the... Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law,” Pernia said.
Executive Order No. 12 signed on January 9 aims to "intensify and accelerate the implementation of critical actions necessary to attain and sustain "zero unmet need for modern family planning" for all poor households by 2018, and all of Filipinos" within the context of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.
The EO tasked the Department of Health, the Commission on Population, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to assist local government units in implementing strategies to intensify the implementation of the RPRH Law. Such as:
identifying couples and individuals with unmet need for modern family planning
conducting intensive community-based demand generation and referral activities and ensure the provision of quality modern family planning information and services, within the principle of informed choice and voluntarism
partnering with civil society organizations and the private sector to attain accelerate RPRH Law implementation
Gov’t scores delay of SC ruling
Pernia said that implementation of the so-called RH Law got "stymied" because of some groups' petition against one of its provisions before the Supreme Court.
In 2015, the SC issued a temporary restraining order preventing the procurement, sale, promotion, and distribution of contraceptive implants after groups filed petitions that these products as "abortifacient."
The SC kept its TRO on the implants in September 2016.
"It [EO No. 12] is just telling the public including the Supreme Court that the government cannot tolerate this delay in judgment because time is of the essence as far as the RPRH Law is concerned," Pernia said.
Pernia said 11 women die every day because of pregnancy and birth complications.
"This is a national issue. It concerns the number 10 of the zero to 10-point socioeconomic agenda so we cannot promise you sustained economic growth and poverty reduction if this thing of the RPRH Law is neglected or put in the ice box," Pernia said.
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