Addressing RH woes? Gov’t told to ‘go beyond’ birth control

Nov. 16, 2017

TAGUM CITY, Philippines— A women’s group has urged the government to go beyond the concept of family planning as it welcomes the full implementation of the country’s Reproductive Health law.

In a statement on Wednesday, November 15 Gabriela Women’s Partylist (GWP) reiterated that reproductive health (RH) “is not merely confined to birth control.”

The women’s group remarks came as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) re-certifies 51 contraceptives. They pointed out, however, that “the fight for free and comprehensive healthcare remains an uphill climb.”

Rep. Emmi de Jesus said to fully realize women’s RH rights; the government should ensure women’s free and comprehensive access to health services.

Earlier this week, the Commission on Population (PopCom) said that FDA’s approval of the 51 contraceptives, which include Implanon and Implanon NXT is based on the November 10 Resolution 2017-302.

In a news report, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the FDA re-certification signals the full implementation of the RH law.

“We assure everyone that the full and strict implementation of the RH law which President Duterte ordered earlier this year will be fair, even-handed and not adversely affect our people’s health,” Duque said.

But Gabriela argued that the full implementation of RH Law does not translate to comprehensive health care in the country.

“Even if RPRH Law is in full swing, healthcare remains largely privatized or corporatized, and women still lack access to basic healthcare services in far-flung areas. Reproductive health is not just about the distribution of contraceptives,” said GWP Rep. Arlene Brosas.

She added “the cuts on the health budget for 2018, the struggle for accessible health care and maternal services options is not yet over.”

“We may have access to birth controls, but with the lack public hospitals to cater to our less privileged sisters, RPRH Law will still be useless to them,” Brosas pointed out.

She said the need is very evident in the 2018 budget cut in the operating expenses of 49 hospitals amounting to P1.488 billion.

“To rub salt to the wound, policies against home-birthing persists in several municipalities, and women workers still have yet to achieve a legislated additional maternity leaves,” she said. (

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