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Duterte’s RH EO tames top House critic

One of President Rodrigo Duterte’s most vocal critics in the House of Representatives on Thursday gave the President rare praise for “energizing” the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act with his new executive order (EO) mandating the full implementation of the law.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a leader of the independent minority bloc in the House, said EO 12 would invigorate Republic Act No. 10354, otherwise known as the Reproductive Health (RH) Law.

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The EO ordered the budget department to “realign and augment appropriations” to support the full implementation of the RH Law in 2017, with the funding requirements in subsequent years to be included in the annual budget law.

“The immediate and full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law was energized by EO 12, which was signed by President Duterte on Jan. 9 and made effective immediately,” the lawmaker said in a statement.

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Lagman, the principal author and advocate of the RH Law, said Mr. Duterte’s order was “projected to attain and sustain ‘zero unmet need for modern family planning’ by 2018 for poor families.”

Former President Benign Aquino III signed the law in December 2012. It guarantees universal access to sex education and maternal care and methods on contraception and fertility control.

The law’s enforcement came into question as a result of a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court on the certification of contraceptive products.

Catholic bishops, however, maintained that Mr. Duterte should respect the TRO instead of issuing directives to implement it.

Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros said the TRO was issued “to avoid abortifacient contraceptives.”

“Duterte should respect the decision of the Supreme Court which aims to support the Constitution on respect for human life even from its beginning in the womb of the mother,” the bishop said.

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes issued a similar call.

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TAGS: Edcel Lagman, Executive Order 12, reproductive health law, Responsible Parenthood and Reprodutyiv Health Act, Rodrigo Duterte
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