December 21, 2017
On this day five years ago, the reproductive health (RH) bill was signed into law and officially became Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Act of 2012. This was after more than a decade of struggle in the legislative mill.
Institutionalizing reproductive healthcare—which includes access to family planning, maternal and child health, education and information on reproductive health, and funding—it is perhaps the single most important law in the Philippines in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights. A major achievement in legislation, the RPRH Law has continued to test our democracy, and has been paving the way for the discussion of related issues regarding the advancement of women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health rights in the country.
Even as the law and its implementation have never been free from any challenge at any time from its conception, its fifth anniversary needs to be commemorated and is a welcome for reflection and a stocktaking of challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the lifting of the temporary restraining order that affected the family planning program.
In the law’s fifth anniversary, PLCPD congratulates the advocates for seeing through the implementation of the law despite all the seemingly impossible challenges. We also reiterate our call on duty-bearers for the faithful and meaningful implementation of the law, especially the provision of family planning and other RH services at the local government level, the mandatory sexuality education for young people, and strengthening of maternal and child healthcare services. The organization also commits to support and ensure that the upcoming congressional review of the law’s implementation will be meaningful and that gaps, whether in policy or in program, will be addressed through this exercise.
Finally, PLCPD calls on all stakeholders to work together to ensure that the strides made possible by an enabling policy environment will ultimately benefit the Filipino people: that no one will be denied access to services and no woman will have unintended pregnancy and die while giving birth.