BAGUIO CITY (PNA)–Three years after its appro-val into law and declaration as Constitutional by the Supreme Court of the Philippines, non-govern-ment organizations (NGOs) nationwide have issued a unified call to lift the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) preventing state health workers and facilities from dispensing sub-dermal implants.
Benjamin de Leon, president of the Forum for Family Planning and con-vener of Reproductive Health Advocacy Team in the Philippines said that exactly two years ago today, the Supreme Court declared the RPRH Law as constitutional, yet there are still personalities and organizations who prevent the full implementation of the law.
Celebrating the anni-versary of RPRH Law constitutionality here, de Leon lamented the P1-billion cut for the 2016 national budget intended for the implementation of Reproductive Health Ser-vices. “The TRO prevents all public health workers and facilities from adminis-tering sub-implants, a type of hormonal contraceptive. A popular method among women since the effect is three years and is safe even for breastfeeding mothers.”
“RH opposition claimed that sub-thermal implant have different bad effects to women’s health. That allegation was already clarified by the Philippine Food and Drugs Adminis-tration (FDA) that said hormonal contraceptive is safe and non-abortifa-cient,” de Leon said.
“Our call,” he said, “is that it is time for the beloved Supreme Court to rule on the TRO.”
He admitted that it is difficult to promote a prog-ram if there are opposi-tions. “In this case it is hard for us to promote RH if we continue to have enemies,” he said.
De Leon challenged all election candidates to pub-licly support the implemen-tation of all elements in the RH.
Health Action Infor-mation Network (HAIN) executive director Gerry Andamo explained that there are 12 elements of reproductive health. “Fa-mily Planning is only a part of RH and the local go-vernment units must look into what specific RH element to be prioritized in their respective localities.”
“We could never deny the fact that misconceptions towards family planning specially contraceptives remain a problem in the local level,” Andamo said.
He said that LGU must find solution to ad-dress issues and concerns under RH like the rising incidence of HIV, teen age pregnancies and mental health. “As a member of the advocacy consortium for RH in the Philippines our call to local government units is to address all pre-vailing issues and provide appropriate action.”
Andamo added that his organization (HAIN) is willing to provide technical assistance to all local government units in terms of capacity building and communication skills to popularize RH throughout the country. “Local govern-ment officials must understand that the goal of Family Planning is pro-motion of the health of the mother and child.”
He also cited that latest survey conducted by the Pulse Asia reveals that 8 in 10 Filipinos say that it is important for candidates to include Family Planning in the political agenda. The same survey was verified by another survey conduc-ted by Social Weather Station.
Red Tani, president of Filipino Freethinkers, the largest and most active organization for free thought in the Philippines, has joined other NGOs seeking the lifting of the TRO.
According to him, people are afraid to use of contraceptives because of the misinformation / mis-conceptions against the modern Family Planning methods. “People has the right to avail all services and misconception is the hindrance for them to avail those services.”
“The most effective way to effect change is increase awareness to counter the misinformation about RH and local govern-ment units must have to prioritize HIV and FP local response,” Tani added.