The Duterte administration is determined to take “critical actions” to enable couples especially the poor make informed choices on family planning.
President Duterte has signed Executive Order No.12 on the strict implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) law.
“This order aims to intensify and accelerate the implementing of critical actions necessary to attain and sustain ‘zero unmet need for modern family planning’ for all poor households by 2018, and all of Filipinos thereafter, within the context of the RPRH Law and its implementing rules.”
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the executive order is focused on providing government support to couples in achieving the “desired number of children rather than have more children they want or afford.”
“The EO is really for modern family planning services, modern contraceptives to be adopted by women of reproductive age,” said Pernia in a Palace press briefing.
“This is going to be a free — this will be at no cost to the users of the — or the acceptors of contraceptives,” he added.
If the Reproductive Health Law is not fully implemented, Pernia said the poverty reduction target from 21.6% to 14% by the end of the President’s term might not be achieved.
He said the executive order on the reproductive health program also aims to lower maternal mortality rate and teenage pregnancy. At present, there are around 231 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
In EO 12, the Department of Health, Commission on Population, Department of Interior and Local Government, and other government agencies have been directed to map areas of couples with unmet need for family planning and capacitate local structures to provide modern family planning commodities and services.
A national implementation team for the RPRH law will submit to the Office of the President an annual progress report six months after the effectivity of EO 12 and thereafter at the end of every April.
If the RH program is fully implemented up to 2022, Commission on Population Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III said the country’s population growth rate might go down to 1.4%.
Currently, the country has a population of 104 million with a growth rate of 1.7%.
Source: Manila Bulletin