Legarda: There are enough funds for contraceptives | Inquirer News

Legarda: There are enough funds for contraceptives

/ 01:50 AM January 13, 2016

SEN. LOREN Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, on Tuesday assured that there are sufficient funds for the procurement of contraceptives for 2016 despite the cut in the budget for the Department of Health’s (DOH) Family Health and Responsible Parenting (FHRP) program.

“The DOH has enough budget to fund for family planning commodities for this year. The 2016 budget for FHRP was reduced by P1 billion, but the budget for the procurement of contraceptives is not zero. There remains P1.6 billion that can be used for this,” said Legarda.


The P1-billion cut is reflected in the amendment on the Special Provision on Purchase and Allocation of Drugs, Medicines and Vaccines, which includes allocations for FHRP.

Aside from the 1.6 billion under the 2016 budget, there are sources of funds for family planning commodities, she added.


“The commodities procured in the last quarter of 2015 will overflow until midyear of 2016. The DOH also has remaining unobligated funds for FHRP last year. Also, historical data shows the DOH is unable to completely spend its budget every year. These unused obligations or savings can be realigned within the agency as long as approved by the President,” said Legarda.

Supplemental budget

As of December 2015, unobligated funds under FHRP amount to P828 million, which can still be used in 2016.

To offset the budget cut, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Tuesday urged the DOH and the local government units to make a supplemental budget for contraceptives this year to sustain government efforts in curbing teenage pregnancies.

At a health forum Tuesday, May-i Fabros, a PCW board member for youth, said a significant cut on the budget for family planning commodities will have an immediate impact especially on teenaged mothers wanting to prevent subsequent pregnancies.

Last week, Health Secretary Janette Garin disclosed that the P1 billion originally earmarked to cover the free provision of contraceptives for 2016 had been removed from the DOH proposed budget of P124 billion during the bicameral conference last month.

Legarda, however, defended the deletion of the budget, saying a portion of the P1 billion was realigned within DOH to provide for the health facilities and medical assistance to indigent patients and funneled to the Department of National Defense to upgrade its air assets.


Documents available

But Sen. Pia Cayetano, the proponent of the reproductive health law, said senators were not properly informed of the P1 billion cut in the FHRP budget.

Legarda, however, said the documents of the finance committee were available to the senators throughout the budget process.

“The Committee on Finance, in working on the 2016 national budget, has followed the same format, as in previous years, in submitting documents, including the Bicameral Committee Report on the 2016 GAB, to the plenary. The first page of the Bicameral Committee Report showed the changes in all agencies, including the DOH budget,” she said.

Cayetano, however, said that what was reflected in the bicam report was a P1-billion cut in the special provision on ‘purchase and allocation of drugs, medicines and vaccines.’

“There was no mention of any cuts in the line item budget for family planning,” she said.   With reports from Jocelyn R. Uy and Leila B. Salaverria

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TAGS: family health and responsible parenting program, Loren Legarda, Nation, News, RH law
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