DOH gears to fully implement RH law
The Department of Health (DOH) is now gearing up for the full implementation of the Reproductive Health (RH) law after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that the 51 contraceptive products covered by the temporary restraining order (TRO) of the Supreme Court are not abortifacient or cannot cause abortion.
The Supreme Court earlier said that the 2-year-old TRO would be lifted only after the FDA had completed its recertification process and promulgated a decision.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reiterated that the DOH was committed to fully implement the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law.
“We assure everyone that the full and strict implementation of the RH law, which President Duterte ordered earlier this year will be fair, evenhanded and not adversely affect our people’s health,” Duque added.
“The lifting of the TRO will allow the DOH to start procuring commodities from its 2017 budget. All Filipinos working for women’s health should rejoice in this development,” said Commission on Population executive director Dr. Juan Perez III.
Perez also noted that Monday marked the full effectivity of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the RH law.
In Advisory No. 2017-302 dated Nov. 11, 2017, the FDA said that it had concluded the reevaluation of the 51 contraceptive products.
“Per the FDA Resolutions dated 10 November 2017, (on the applications for recertification filed by the Market Authorization Holders with opposition filed by Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc.), the foregoing contraceptive products have been determined to be non-abortifacient,” the FDA said in its advisory.
“This could not have come at a better time as depleted contraceptive supplies will now be augmented by over 200,000 implants,” Perez said.
The FDA said that it was now preparing the recertification of the said products, including the progestin subdermal implant.
The complete list of the contraceptives has been posted in the FDA website.
Following the FDA certification, Rep. Edcel Lagman urged Congress to raise the 2018 budget for family planning supplies.
In a statement, Lagman said that the reason why the House of Representatives only allocated P342.482 million in its version of the 2018 General Appropriations Act was because the Supreme Court’s TRO was still in effect at the time.
Since the FDA’s reevaluation of the 51 contraceptives effectively lifted the TRO, Lagman said that the budget for family planning supplies should be increased by the Senate or at the bicameral conference. The House already approved its version of the budget bill on third and final reading on Sept. 26.
RH law advocates, like The Forum for Family Planning and Development (The Forum) also welcomed the findings and resolution of the FDA.
“With a major barrier to our family planning program removed, we can now assure that every Filipino of reproductive age are provided with the whole range of quality family planning products and services that are effective, medically safe and non-abortifacient,” said Benjamin de Leon, president of The Forum.
But members of the clergy expressed dismay at the FDA findings that the 51 contraceptive products did not cause abortion.
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes called on the high court to permanently prohibit contraceptives.
“The Supreme Court should keep its temporary restraining order and make permanent the prohibition,” the prelate said. —With reports from Vince F. Nonato and Julie M. Aurelio
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.