September 7, 2017
In a media briefing held in Cotabato City on September 7 (Thursday), the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) and its partners—including the United Youth of the Philippines (UnYPhil) – Women—reiterated their call for local government units to pursue the meaningful implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law.
Five years since its enactment in December 2012, Filipinos have yet to witness the law’s full and proper implementation. This landmark legislation has four key provisions: access to family planning, maternal healthcare, age-appropriate sexuality and reproductive health education, and regular funding. In the same month, MMA Act 292 or the Reproductive Health Care Act of 2012 was also approved in ARMM.
The discussion focused on the following challenges: uneven implementation at the local level, rise in serious adolescent RH problems, legal barriers, lack of public awareness, and insufficient funding.
Due to these impediments, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) remains high at 221 deaths per 100,000 live births. The contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) and the total fertility rate (TFR) remain stagnant at 51 and 3.0 respectively. One in ten young women aged 15-19 have begun childbearing, and HIV has been declared a “youth epidemic” due to the rising number of HIV infections in the youth demographic.
Committing to their RPRH Law advocacy, PLCPD continues to assist local government units (LGUs) in crafting their own RH policies.
Earlier this year, in ARMM, the municipalities of Sumisip, Basilan and Jolo, Sulu, as well as the provincial government of Tawi-Tawi and municipalities Bongao and Panglima Sugala, have approved resolutions, while the provincial government of Basilan, the municipality of Maluso, and the city of Lamitan, have filed resolutions calling on the justices of the Supreme Court to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) on family planning commodities.
The provincial government of Albay and the municipality of Alfonso Lista, Ifugao also issued resolutions in July to support the Presidential Executive Order (EO) No.12, which aims to “attain and sustain zero unmet need for modern family planning.” Shortly after, in August, the provincial government of Benguet signed the Benguet Province RPRH Code.
“We welcome these developments, seeing that uneven implementation at the local level is one of the key challenges that the law currently faces,” said Romeo Dongeto, Executive Director of PLCPD. “We urge other LGUs to support the full implementation of the law by enacting their own ordinances and resolutions,” he added.
The media briefing is part of #ImplementRH, a series of activities supporting the revitalized call for the full implementation of the law.