18 August 2017
Three local government units (LGUs) have issued policies strengthening the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law in their localities.
Last July, the provincial government of Albay and the municipality of Alfonso Lista in Ifugao issued resolutions supporting the implementation of the law, and on August 17, the provincial government of Benguet signed the Benguet Province RPRH Code, strengthening the law’s implementation in the province.
These ordinances support the RPRH Law and Executive Order (EO) No.12, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in January. The EO aims to “attain and sustain zero unmet need for modern family planning through the strict implementation of the RPRH Law.”
“We see this as a welcome development, considering that uneven implementation at the local level is one of the key challenges that the law currently faces,” PLCPD Executive Director Romeo Dongeto remarked.
Other key challenges include: rise in serious RH problems (HIV and teenage pregnancy) confronting the youth; legal barriers such as the ongoing temporary restraining order (TRO) on the public promotion, procurement, and distribution of certain contraceptive implants as well as on the certification of family planning commodities; lack of public awareness of the provisions of the law; and insufficient funding.
“We encourage other local government units to support the RPRH Law and Executive Order No.12—on responding to the Filipinos’ unmet need for family planning—and to uphold the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all citizens,” Dongeto said.
Earlier this year, in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the municipalities of Sumisip, Basilan; Jolo, Sulu; Bongao, Tawi-Tawi; and Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi, as well as the Provincial Government of Tawi-Tawi, have approved resolutions, while the city of Lamitan in Basilan; the municipality of Maluso, Basilan; and the Provincial Government of Basilan have filed resolutions calling on the justices of the Supreme Court to lift the TRO.
Even before the RPRH Law was enacted, PLCPD had been assisting sanggunians at the provincial and municipal levels in crafting their own policies on RH. It can be recalled that several provinces enacted their own RH codes before the RH Bill was approved in Congress in 2012. The organization works with LGUs so that the RPRH Law and now EO 12 are translated to local policies with corresponding budget support.
The RPRH Law is a landmark legislation enacted in December 2012 that recognizes the role of local government units in protecting and fulfilling the reproductive health and rights of Filipinos. This year, it is set for congressional review and oversight, which will address gaps and issues in both policy and implementation.