The full and immediate implementation of the RPRH Law is critically important for the government to deliver on its family planning program, which has been identified by President Duterte as one of his priorities when he assumed office,” UNFPA country representative Klaus Beck said.
The UNFPA believes the EO contributes to the Philippines’ commitment to fulfilling the 2030 sustainable development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to ultimately leave no one behind, especially the most vulnerable.
“The RPRH Law is a fundamental component to a comprehensive approach to poverty alleviation and human development in the Philippines, and is critical to realizing reproductive rights, including the right to choose freely and responsible if and when to have children, reducing maternal mortality and the realization of the development goals on health, gender and poverty,” Beck added.
The group also believes the president’s order “will lend new momentum to the implementation of the RPRH Law as it demonstrates the highest level of support to the measure.”
To note, the EO also defines clearly the role of various government units in enforcing the law and provides clear instructions on the funding needed to implement it, as well as the accountability mechanism to ensure that the RPRH Law and the EO are implemented. All of this will boost RPRH law implementation, the UNFPA noted.
Concerns remain, though
Nonetheless, the organization still considers the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order on the registration and certification of a list of contraceptives as a challenge to the law’s full implementation.
“The order has been in effect for more than a year now and could adversely impact on the supply of contraceptives in the country if not addressed soon,” Beck said.
In 2015, the high court issue two TROs on contraceptive implants, which can prevent pregnancies for up to three years.
The first TRO stops the Department of Health from distributing, selling and administering contraceptive implants.
The other one prevents the Food and Drug Administration from acting on all applications for reproductive products and supplies, including contraceptive drugs and devices.
The health department has already made appeals to the SC to lift the TRO. RH proponents also say the absence of contraceptives could lead to at least 900 maternal deaths and one million unintended pregnancies per year.
The UNFPA reiterated its commitment to work with local governments and civil society partners to ensure access to quality reproductive health services, including family planning, especially the poorest and disadvantaged communities