Jul 072016

THE Duterte administration is looking to pour in more funds for population control as it gears to fully implement the reproductive health (RH) law, the country’s socioeconomic planning chief said, with particular focus on reducing the number of teenage pregnancies in an effort to help reduce poverty.

Apr 112014
RH law advocates: We’re the bigger winner

President Benigno S. Aquino III greets His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, DD (and who is probably telling the president that “you won this time” after the Supreme Court upheld the Reproductive Health Law, following the Thanksgiving Mass for the Reopening of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral) in Cabildo corner Beaterio, Intramuros, Manila City on Wednesday night (April 09, 2014) (MNS photo) MANILA (Mabuhay) -– Both the advocates and opponents of the Reproductive Health Law are claiming victory following the decision of the Supreme Court (SC), but the measure’s supporters believe they are the bigger winner. Former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, one of the staunchest advocates of the divisive measure, said RH Law advocates have the bigger reason to celebrate after the SC declared the measure ”not unconstitutional” except for eight of its provisions. ”Kumbaga nanalo man pareho, makikita natin kung sino ang mas nanalo ng malaki, sa laki ng ngiti at tawa ng mga pro-RH at anti-RH groups,” Cabral said. The high court on Tuesday announced that the law is not unconstitutional except for provisions that ”require ‘private health facilities and non-maternity specialty hospitals and hospitals owned and operated by a religious group to refer patients, not in an emergency or life-threatening case…to another health facility which is conveniently accessible”; and allow minors who have suffered miscarriage to have access to family planning without parental consent. The SC also struck down provisions punishing a health care provider who refuses/fails to disseminate information on reproductive health Read More …

Mar 262014
PNoy: RH, sin tax laws helped provide free health coverage to 14.7M families

Philippine President Benigno Aquino (2nd L) greets lawmakers after making a speech during his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Metro Manila July 22, 2013. (MNS photo) MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III on Monday said some 14.7 million families received free health coverage from the government through the two laws he had openly supported. “Bukod po sa makabuluhang serbisyong mula sa ehekutibo, nakipag-ambagan na rin ang lehislatura upang maisabatas ang Sin Tax Reform Law at ang Responsible Parenthood Law na nagbibigay kakayahan sa atin na lalong magbigay-lingap sa ating mga kababayan,” Aquino said during the launch of the Alaga Ka Program, an advocacy campaign meant to spread information about the expanded health coverage, at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. Aquino signed both the Sin Tax Reform and Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Acts in December 2012.  Both were certified as urgent by the President. Under the Sin Tax Reform Act, 85 percent of the tax revenues will go toward the health budget. From that, 80 percent will be funneled to the Universal Health Care Program, and 20 percent will go toward health facilities enhancements. Using these funds and provisions in the RH law assuring health benefits for the poor, the government expanded from 5 million to 14.7 million the indigent families with access to primary healthcare services. “Tunay pong malayo na ang ating narating mula nang tahakin natin ang tuwid na daan, at isa po ang sektor ng kalusugan Read More …

Jul 152013
Supreme Court extends order stopping RH law

(UPDATED 1:00 p.m.) – In a close vote, Supreme Court justices on Tuesday extended indefinitely the status quo ante order (SQAO) stopping the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law. The SC imposed a status quo ante order on the law last March, delaying its implementation. The order was supposed to expire on July 17 but the high court extend it on Tuesday. The SC Public Information Office said the justices voted 8-7 to extend the status quo ante (Latin for “the way things were before”) order against the health measure. “SC, voting 8-7, ordered SQAO in RH Law extended until further orders effective immediately,” the SC PIO said. The status quo ante order directs the parties to observe the status or situation before the implementation of the RH law. The controversial law mandates the government to use public to distribute contraceptives, deploy midwives, and teach sex education in elementary among others. The extension came a day before the original 120-day SQA order, issued on March 19, was to expire on Wednesday. In the original SQA order, the justices voted 10-5. The five who dissented in the earlier voting were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Marvic Leonen. The second round of oral arguments on the controversial law is scheduled for July 23, when petitioners are expected to continue presenting their arguments against the law, enacted by President Benigno Aquino III in December 2012. During the first day of Read More …

Jul 092013
Justices say Supreme Court cannot settle medical issues in RH Law

CJ Sereno, 13 justices start oral arguments on RH law. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (far center) and other Supreme Court justices hear the oral arguments on the Reproductive Health law on Tuesday, July 9. The SC in March suspended the implementation of the RH law, pending a resolution of the 15 petitions against it. Six ‘intervenors’ supporting the law have been allowed by the SC to take part in the debates. Of the 15 magistrates, only Associate Justice Arturo Brion was not present during the oral arguments. Danny Pata Several Supreme Court justices, including Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, agreed that the high court does not seem to be the right forum – at least for now – to contest the controversial Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law. In interpellating lawyer Maria Concepcion Noche, one of the legal counsel for the petitioners, Sereno went as far as saying that if she were to be asked, the high court might have no choice but to exercise “judicial restraint” on the 15 petitions assailing the law. “Are we in a position to supplant moves of Congress on a policy decision?” Sereno asked on the first day of oral arguments on the RH Law’s constitutionality. “Can we say this is a better way? We are limited. First because we are unelected and because we have already defined nets and bounds.” The Supreme Court imposed a status quo ante order on the law last March, delaying its implementation. The order expires on July 17, Read More …

Jul 082013
CBCP readies for RH battle before SC, Villegas vows fight for church beliefs

The new leader of the Catholic bishops in the Philippines said Monday they will continue to fight for their church beliefs, including their reasons for opposing the Reproductive Health law.  Incoming Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas stressed this as several lawyers of the 14 anti-RH law petitions attended a Mass in Manila Monday, the eve of the arguments before the Supreme Court. He said it is the Church’s duty to fight for its stand on various issues. “We are NOT social troublemakers.  We are CONSCIENCE troublemakers,” he said with his Twitter account. “We are not a lobby group.  We are not rally organizers.  We are not another NGO.  We are Christ’s followers,” he said in another tweet. Anti-RH activities In a separate article posted on the CBCP news site early Tuesday, Catholic bishops invoked God’s blessings and guidance for lawyers who will argue against the RH law before the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the anti-RH law lawyers and petitioners are to attend a Mass at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Guia in Ermita, Manila at 9 a.m. “Our first support for the SC process will be a Mass and a prayer vigil because that is our first priority. Our first contribution is to show to the world that prayer has power to change the world,” said Villegas. He added there will be a prayer vigil and a Mass “because we believe in the Church that the Mass can change and Read More …

Jul 012013
Aquino plans to appoint RH law author as DOH Usec

President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday revealed that he plans to appoint former Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, one of the primary authors of the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill, as health undersecretary. “She will bring a lot of political savvy to the Department of Health and will enhance the cooperation between the DoH, the local government units and the national government,” the President said. He added that he chose Garin, who was aligned with the Aquino-chaired Liberal Party when she was congresswoman, due to her “extensive experience” as a doctor and a lawmaker. —KG, GMA News

Jun 012013
Pia Cayetano cited as RH hero by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

By Norman BordadoraPhilippine Daily Inquirer 6:52 am | Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 Senator Pia Cayetano. INQUIRER file photo MANILA, Philippines—An international women’s conference organized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation last week gave Sen. Pia Cayetano its Rising Star Award for her efforts in the passage of the reproductive health (RH) law in the Philippines. Cayetano was recognized for standing up for women’s health and rights at the 3rd Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which focused on promoting women’s well-being. “Senator. Mom. Triathlete. That’s how Sen. Pia Cayetano of the Philippines describes herself on Twitter. There’s one thing missing: Hero,” wrote Gabrielle Fitzgerald, director of Global Program Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Youngest senator Fitzgerald wrote on the website of the Gates foundation that Cayetano took on the task of pushing for the RH bill—which had been languishing in the Philippine Congress for five years—when she became the youngest woman senator in 2001. Fitzgerald cited Cayetano’s sponsorship of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act that was eventually passed in 2012. The law “ensures all women and men in the Philippines can freely and responsibly decide the number and spacing of their children, and have the information and means to carry out their decisions.” This is a highlight of the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which is recognized by almost all countries. ‘Agents of death’ “It’s a little hard to imagine, but this bill, which guarantees Read More …

Mar 142013
RH, LGBT advocates: No change in sight with 'traditional' new Pope

Pope Francis will be installed on March 19 at the Vatican. Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina appears on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica after being elected by the conclave of cardinals, at the Vatican, March 13, 2013. White smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel chimney and the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica rang out on Wednesday, signaling that Roman Catholic cardinals had elected a pope to succeed Benedict XVI. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez Advocates of reproductive health (RH) and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines on Thursday said they do not expect any change in the Roman Catholic Church after the election of Pope Francis. Danton Remoto of the Ladlad party-list, which represents the LGBT sector, said he expects the Roman Catholic Church’s leadership to remain “in the dark ages” with a Pope who openly opposed same-sex marriage. “Si Pope Francis, siyempre he will just uphold the traditional Catholic dogma. That is expected of him. The Roman Catholic Church will never elect a pope who will bring it to the 21st century,” Remoto said in a phone interview. On Thursday morning (Manila time), Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, following Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation last month. The 76-year-old Bergoglio, who chose the name Francis, is the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. As a cardinal in his home country, Pope Francis opposed a bill giving same-sex couples the opportunity to marry Read More …

Mar 072013
DOH-NCR hosts public consultation on RH law draft IRRs

(DOH logo) The Department of Health Center – National Capital Region (DOH-NCR) will host a public consultation and review tomorrow, March 8, on the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10354, also known as the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law of 2012 (RPRH Act of 2012), with various sectors of society including religious groups, Metro Manila mayors and city health officers, women’s and children’s groups, and media organizations. “We would like to enjoin the support of all sectors in this public consultation so that they may express their views, opinions and recommendations on the provisions stated in the RH law and once it is implemented, we expect that it will significantly reduce maternal and infant mortality in the country and save countless of lives especially that of mothers and their children,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo declared. With the actual implementation of the RH Law, the DOH will fully carry out its mandate of reducing maternal and infant mortality rate through comprehensive reproductive health care services such as providing modern family planning methods, safe birth deliveries, adequate supply of blood and quality care in all of its health care facilities. The rights of women and family will also be protected, Janairo added. The RP RH law drafting committee will be conducting the IRR consultation which is also called Usapang Kalusugang Pampamilya”. Other consultations were also conducted in the cities of Cebu and Davao and were attended by LGUs, hospital chiefs, the academe and various NGO representatives. Among Read More …