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FOOD, SHELTER ALTERNATIVE?

CBCP exec hits DOH distribution of contraceptives

/ 05:50 AM November 19, 2017

A top official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has criticized the Department of Health’s (DOH) decision to resume the distribution of contraceptives, which were declared to be nonabortifacients.

Fr. Jerome Secillano questioned the wisdom of funding the procurement of family planning commodities while millions of Filipinos don’t have access to medicines when they fall ill.

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“Is it really sound to pour in billions for the procurement of pills and condoms while many Filipinos don’t even have access to real medicines when they get sick?” asked the priest.

Secillano is the executive secretary of the CBCP’s permanent committee on public affairs.

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The CBCP official made the remarks following Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s announcement that the DOH would resume the distribution of contraceptives.

The DOH still has P4.2 billion from its 2017 budget to purchase family planning commodities, which will be distributed to women who cannot afford contraceptives.

For 2018, the DOH has a proposed budget of P4.3 billion to purchase contraceptive products.

The DOH said it had run out of progestin-only pills and injectable contraceptives. The agency will prioritize the distribution of their remaining Implanon and Implanon NXT subdermal implants.

Duque made the announcement after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared 51 contraceptives in the market to be nonabortifacients, or cannot cause abortion.

The Supreme Court had earlier issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the said contraceptives, which would only be lifted once the FDA recertifies the 51 contraceptives.

Health advocates perceive the TRO as a hindrance to the full implementation of Republic Act No. 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RH) Act of 2012.

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One of RH law’s most vocal critics is the Catholic Church, which has repeatedly opposed moves to legalize abortion and the purchase and distribution of contraceptives.

Secillano questioned how the landmark RH law could contribute to reducing poverty in the Philippines.

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TAGS: CBCP, contraceptives, DoH, Francisco Duque III, Jerome Secillano
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