RH LAW CONTINUES IMPLEMENTATION DESPITE BUDGET CUT Press Release/January 13, 2016

The Department of Health (DOH) clarifies that the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law (RPRH Law) will continue despite the reduction of P 1 billion in the budget of the Family Health and Responsible Parenting for 2016. The DOH together with Senate Committee on Finance and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had a meeting last January 11, 2016 to discuss the issue on the said budget reduction. Last January 4, 2016, the DOH learned that in the 2016 General Appropriations Act, the budget for the line item Family Health and Responsible Parenting, was reduced from Php 3.2 billion to Php 2.2 billion. This was proposed during the bicameral conference committee by the Senate Committee on Finance, and was subsequently approved. “The Php 1 billion cut affects the procurement of family planning commodities. The remaining Php 2.2 billion is intended for the purchase of vaccines and micronutrients, medicines, and dental supplies. Realigning the remaining Php 2.2 billion for the purchase of family planning commodities is not possible because this will mean sacrificing immunization, nutrition and other health programs, which already have identified beneficiaries. These programs are also important in meeting our country’s commitments for the Sustainable Development Goals,” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin said. The health chief added that while it is true that the Php 1 billion budget for family health and responsible parenting was cut, the DOH will continue to procure family planning commodities using the Php 337.5 million sourced from the 2015 budget, which was originally intended to purchase additional blood pressure apparatus for barangay health workers. DOH is looking for other sources of funds, which may include agency savings identified and declared at the end of the year, as well as assistance from developmental partners. Senator Loren Legarda, Senate Finance Committee Chair, assured DOH that she will make representations with the next President of the Philippines to allow the use of DOH savings for the purchase of family planning commodities. Republic Act 10354 or the RPRH Law was passed by Congress in 2012 and subsequently declared constitutional by the Supreme Court in 2014. Considered a landmark health legislation of the Aquino administration, this law ensures access to reproductive health information, life-saving commodities, and services to reduce maternal mortality and empower families to decide the number and spacing of their children. “The Aquino Administration through the DOH assures the full implementation of the RH Law despite these challenges. Sa tulong po ninyo, ating maaabot ang Kalusugan Pangkalahatan.” Garin concluded.