4,000 women receive free tubal ligation in Tagum’s own RH plan
TAGUM CITY—More than 4,000 women have availed themselves of free tubal ligation here in the city’s continuing implementation of its reproductive health program in the middle of continuing Church criticism of a proposed national law on reproductive health, city officials said.
Amid the Church’s campaign against the RH bill, the city health office here has been rendering women incapable of pregnancy for six years now.
Since launching the free tubal ligation program in 2006, at least 4,390 women have availed themselves of the service, said public nurse Nida Parcon.
The city government spends at least P1.5 million each year for the reproductive health program, which local Catholics had decried.
Parcon, who is in charge of the program, said that together with tubal ligation, vasectomy operations are also being provided to men who did not want to impregnate their wives.
At least 76 men have already availed themselves of vasectomy in the last six years, she said.
Parcon said the tubal ligation and vasectomy operations were being conducted once a month at the health center by medical experts, including those from the Marie Stopes Foundation International.
“Each operation would last not more than 10 minutes for a patient, but the entire process of screening, interview and final examinations could take longer,” she said.
Mayor Rey Uy said the free tubal ligation and vasectomy operations are the city government’s way of giving married couples their right to reproductive health services.
He said the program, along with other government programs, have helped the city’s poor and the city exclude itself from coverage of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps), a national government campaign that gives cash to the poorest of the poor.
Uy said the poverty incidence in the city is now 15 percent, way below the national average of 27 percent.
To entice more women and men to avail themselves of the free services, the city government offers them P500 in “reimbursements.”
“The amount is given not as a form of reward to the women, but just to compensate for a day’s loss of income as they are advised to rest while their wounds heal,” Parcon said.
She said the city government decided in favor of ligation and vasectomy because other methods of preventing births, like taking pills, are far more expensive.
Parcon said a stub of contraceptive pills costs P40 per month or about P1,200 per year.
Uy said Congress should pass the RH bill because it would make a lot of difference in the lives of poor families.
“Mayors like me who are front-liners in local governance know the problems faced by couples with many children. Access to nutritious food is a struggle for poor families,” he said. Frinston L. Lim, Inquirer Mindanao
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