In preparation for the budget season in Congress, the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development conducted a budget forum on reproductive health that focused on the budget allocations of key implementing agencies of Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law for the year 2019.
Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat emphasized that one of the crucial functions of Congress is oversight, and part of its oversight function is to look into the budgetary allocations of government agencies for implementation of laws.
Ms. Ramona of the Department of Budget and Management highlighted the benefits of shifting from obligated-based budgeting to annual cash-based budgeting. She explained that with the new system, the government could minimize and eliminate underspending. The gains of cash-based appropriation include greater fiscal discipline and prudent use of budget, faster and improved delivery of essential public services, and a more open and accountable government.
Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, Executive Director of the Commission on Population presented the National Family Planning Costed Implemented Plan (CIP) and remarked that the targets of the CIP are still not being met by the Department of Health and other implementing agencies because of various factors: absorptive capacity, lack of human resource, and existing family planning supplies from the previous years.
Dr. Ruby Constantino, Director for Family Health Office of the DOH presented the budget for the RPRH Law implementation in 2019. She shared the accomplishments of the implementation of RPRH Law, which included maternal health, neonatal and child health, family planning.
During the open forum it was asked if there were budgetary allocation for reproductive health by other government agencies such as Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Education. Another concern raised was the absorptive capacity. It was pointed out that funds should match human resources.
Mr. Romeo Dongeto, PLCPD Executive Director, gave a closing message expressing the need to strengthen the National Implementation Team and to assert the oversight function of Congress.