Benguet officials sign reproductive health ordinance


BAGUIO CITY – Officials of Benguet signed Thursday Ordinance No. 204  series of 2017, the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Code to strengthen the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law passed five years ago, at Hotel Supreme here.

Provincial Board Member Jim Botiwey, who chairs the Committee on Health of the legislative body, said the only way to strengthen the national law is through the passage of local RH ordinances.

He noted that Benguet allocates 30 percent or more of its fiscal budget for health programs.

Benguet, he added, has a problem on teenage pregnancy, which is one of the reasons they pushed for the passage of the local RH Code, that is hoped to address the problem long besetting the province.

A total budget of Php 10 million or more is needed in order to implement the programs under the code, which include family planning; maternal, infant, child health and nutrition; proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications; adolescent and youth reproductive health guidance and counseling at the point of care; prevention, treatment, and management of reproductive tract diseases, HIV and AIDS (human immuno virus- acquired immune deficiency syndrome) and other sexually transmitted infections.

Also included in the implementation is the elimination of violence against women and children and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence; age and development-appropriate education and counseling on sexuality and reproductive health; treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynaecological conditions and disorders; male responsibility and involvement and men’s reproductive health aside from the prevention, treatment and management of infertility and sexual dysfunction; age and development-appropriate RH education for adolescents in formal and non-formal educational settings and the mental health aspect of reproductive health care.

Upon the approval of the ordinance, an initial Php3 million will be allocated for the implementation of the programs starting 2018.

The approved code also mandates the creation of a council, the function of which is to prepare the investment plan and decide the priority projects, programs or activitites that will be undertaken for the implementation of the ordinance.

Forum for Family Planning and Development president Benjamin De Leon expressed confidence that once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certifies contraceptives as non-abortifacient, the Supreme Court will lift the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) it issued on the RH law.

FDA will also be responsible for providing the guidelines that will serve as the “bible” for the national implementation of the five-year-old RH law which remains to be on hold.

De Leon said “there is a chance that within the next 60 days, probably September or October, we, including the Department of Health, will be able to implement the RH law”.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte urged local government units to come up with their Reproductive Health ordinances which would strengthen the national law that has yet to be fully implemented due to the issuance of a TRO by the Supreme Court. (Pamela Mariz Geminiano/PNA)